This year I started using Genius Hour in my classroom. Now, I teach third grade so my genius hour isn't anything advance. But, the students have fallen in love with the fifteen minutes a day that they get to work on anything that they want to learn about.
The whole idea of Genius Hour is that the students pick something that they want to know how to do, they do tons of research on that topic and then they actually create it. When they are done they present this whole process to their peers.
Chris Kesler has put together some great introductions on this topic so check out this video here to learn more about it!!
I had students brainstorm things that they wanted to learn about. Then, they had to pick a topic that was signed off by me and their parents. We have a 15 minute period of the day that is no new instruction while I work with a small group. So, during that 15 minute period students are instructed to do the research on their topic. Then, once I see that they have a extensive amount of research they can actually create the project. For me, this is done as a early finisher of sorts. If you have everything done that needs to be turned in then you can work on your project. So, for most students this project is taking them over two quarters to complete. Which for me is great!
So far this year I have had a student make me a blanket!
A student make a potato clock!
Other things my students are creating are:
1. Google Site
2. Online Game
3. Stuffed Animal
4. Powerpoint explaining how to care for zoo animals
I love Genius Hour because it is a simple early finisher that allows students to work on something that they are passionate about, it drives them to want to finish their work so that they can work on it and it has helped them to learn new skills and create new things!