Education isn’t about teaching your students tons of interesting facts.
We all know someone who can rattle off seemingly endless amounts of trivia. While this knowledge might come in handy on a gameshow, it has very little value in everyday life.
Education expert Andi McNair says that if what you are teaching is not meaningful for your students, it is a waste of both their time and yours.
The job of a teacher, according to Ms. McNair, is to teach life skills to students in addition to knowledge. This is especially important for the future workforce.
Employers aren’t just looking to hire people who have lots of knowledge, they want to hire people who work well with teams, communicate clearly, and can prioritize. These are the types of skills we need to teach students in order to prepare them for life.
How can educators build these skills in their students? Ms. McNair says that the answer lies in genius hour.
Genius hour is a program that allows students to build important life skills while working on a project that impacts the community. After students pick a subject they are passionate about, they collaborate with an expert on the subject. When they finish their projects, students share what they have learned using a school blog.
The entire process is designed to help students learn different skills and practice using those skills in a real-life way. One of the unique things about genius hour is that students have total ownership from the initial stage of research, to collaborating with an expert, to carrying out the project with passion and sharing it with the world.
The six P’s
In order to simplify genius hour and make it easier for students to follow, Ms. McNair identified the six key elements of the process. These six steps are the basic components you need for a genius hour project.
The six P’s are:
Students work their way through these elements as they work on their project. Ms. McNair shares different resources with educators that can be used in each step, including websites and apps that make genius hour easy and engaging.
What will educators learn from this course?
In this 1-hour course, Ms. McNair guides educators through the simple steps of genius hour specifically created for elementary students.
Teachers will walk away from this course knowing:
- What genius hour is
- Why genius hour is beneficial to today’s students
- The six P’s of conducting genius hour
- Tips to set up your classroom for genius hour
Which T-TESS Domains and Dimensions does this course apply to?
This course applies to the following T-TESS dimensions:
- 1.3 (Knowledge of Students)
- 1.4 (Activities)
- 2.1 (Achieving Expectations)
- 2.3 (Communication)
- 2.4 (Differentiation)
- 2.5 (Monitor and Adjust)
- 3.3 (Classroom Culture)
Ready to learn more?
“Cultivating Creativity Through Genius Hour” is just one of many courses in the T-TESS library. T-TESS Cube is a library of professional courses led by experts in education. The courses are aligned to the T-TESS rubric. They are a great way to develop teachers and administrators.