200 Gifted and Talented students in grades 1st – 5th participated in a Genius Hour Showcase in the cafeteria of Friendswood Junior High.
Genius Hour is a movement started in the business industry, also known as the 20% Movement and Passion Project. The idea is 20% of our ‘work’ day should be spent learning something that is of interest to us or something we want to know more about. Google most famously incorporated this hour and these discoveries resulting in GMail, Google News, and Google Class.
FISD began implementing Genius Hour in their SEARCH programs 2 years ago after learning about it at the annual Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented (TAGT) Conference. The GT Team also traveled to visit teachers, in other districts, who were using Genius Hour in their classrooms.
“Genius Hour allows each student to explore their own passions and is student-centered, allowing for student choice and student voice,” said Marianne Harner GT specialist at Bales Intermediate and Genius Hour Coordinator.
Every student is expected to develop questions they want to answer in regards to their “passions” and these questions will then guide their research. The students are taught and use the steps of the Independent Investigative Method (IIM) for their research.
From their research, they design a Product Plan that will demonstrate their learning. They then share their questions, research, and products with fellow classmates and then with the community through the Genius Hour Showcase.
“I love to see the natural curiosity and creativity of our students,” said Superintendent Thad Roher. “The Genius Hour Showcase is the type of authentic learning that we are all about in FISD. Students have a choice in their learning and families get to see the sparks of creativity all in one room.”