For as long as I can remember, I had always been told growing up that it is important to love what you do. My father worked on the assembly line at General Motors my entire life, often working the dreaded second-shift just to put food on the table. My dad just went through the motions in his job, and did not enjoy it. He never complained, but asked that I find something I really loved to do, no matter the pay and really work my hardest. Sometimes when I hear others constantly complain about their jobs, I feel bad for them and wonder where their passion really lies. It’s easy for me because each day for me is new and brings challenges that keep me interested and learning.
You know the box checkers, the students that are always looking to be prepared for the next state text, class assessment, or grade level. They know exactly what it takes to meet each task and pass with flying colors, but they never truly look inside themselves to figure out what they are personally passionate about. Have we done this to them? I feel that these students have gotten really good at giving us everything we ask for and want, but what about what they want? We force-feed them curriculum, and pretend to give them choice (as long as it is one of three options) we have chosen. They meet with counselors in middle and high school who help determine a curriculum and career path that is best for them, co-determined by the school.
Genius Hour, when implemented correctly, has the power to change all of that. Students are allowed to choose their own project and learning outcomes. Bonus! They will still address the standards and skills for their respective grade levels. Most of the time, they go beyond the standards and dive deeper into their subject matter than most pacing guides would allow.
Google first utilized the 20% time as a way for employees are allowed 20% of their time to explore formulate new ideas about something other than their regular work. Research based on these principles has show favorable results and increased productivity. Now that success has translated to the world of education through Genius Hour or 20%Time.
Most of society’s biggest issues can quite possibly be solved by allowing students a purpose for learning and a place to explore their passions. If you think about it, students spend so much time in school preparing for their futures, if we don’t allow them the time for choice, what are we really doing with this time?
I’ve been brainstorming ideas and working on the launch of this blog for months. I could no longer resist becoming a part of the blogging teacher tribe! As I combed the internet researching and admiring the designs and thoughts of so many talented edubloggers, I found myself even more encouraged to share some of my resources and ideas with the rest of the world. I am extremely excited to begin this “edventure” into blogging and creating content for the education community. I want to encourage teacher autonomy and promote positivity within education.
It is my ultimate goal to encourage partnerships and enable others to connect with like-minded educators. I look forward to sharing ideas for classroom activities and lessons that students and teachers will enjoy. I will also be sharing coaching/leadership experience as well as professional development ideas. Make sure you stay tuned for new blog entries, contests, and innovative ideas.