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This year, Indian Hill Primary School second graders have the chance to explore their individual passions and use their creativity to help those passions come to life through a new program called the “Genius Hour.” Led by Gifted Intervention Specialist Monica Dawkins, Genius Hour is based on a business practice at Google where developers are permitted 20% of their time to work on projects that interest them, as long as those projects have the chance to advance the company if they come to fruition.
“Google has found that if they allow employees to focus on their own interests, productivity goes up,” Mrs. Dawkins says. “Innovations such as Gmail, Google Talk and Google News came directly out of this program.”
At IHPS, students are given the chance to work on whatever they like during their Genius Hour time, encouraging them to take what Mrs. Dawkins calls “the path to their own intrinsic motivation, leading to students who are more engaged, more confident, and enjoying the learning process.”
The first step is for students to have a driving question and communicate what they want to learn about. “If you can find it on a quick Google search, it needs tweaking,” explains Mrs. Dawkins.
The second step is research, and the third is sharing – according to Mrs. Dawkins, this is “not only with the class, but with the world” through videos and other communication methods.
Genius Hour is once a week in each of the classes, when Mrs. Dawkins conducts a lesson with the students and provides time for them to work on their projects.
As the year progresses, they will be working on their projects, with the goal of presenting in the spring. Look for more information as these excited second graders share their work with the world!