Some teachers at Royal Oak Middle School have begun implementing Genius Hour during their LEAP classes. During this time, students select an area of interest that they wish to explore, use their research and thinking skills to investigate an inquiry question about the interest, and then use the information they gather to apply it and share with the class. This process allows students to experience the inquiry cycle, helping them understand the importance of lifelong learning.
At the heart of Genius Hour is the idea of the importance of wondering. When students wonder about the world, they learn how to think about issues and concepts in a more complex and critical way. Wondering also helps students begin to develop higher level thinking skills and transfer the skills and thinking routines to other subjects and areas of their lives. For example a student who might be interested card tricks and wants to learn three different ones will be learning how to use the internet effectively for resources, evaluating resources, practicing and reflecting on the manner in which he works on a trick, communicating with an audience for a specific purpose, etc. And most importantly, he or she will be doing something that engages him, understanding that the learning process is something that we use for the rest of our lives. Ultimately, Genius Hour is one of the many strategies that teachers use to help students build their Approaches to Learning skills, which will ultimately help prepare them for life outside the classroom. If your student is taking part in Genius Hour, be sure to ask him or her what he or she is working on.