When snow days piled up this winter, seventh-grader Emily Born was upset. It wasn’t that she always loved school, or that she had a big test coming up and needed her teacher’s help. No, the student from Thomas Middle School in Arlington Heights, Illinois, was sad to miss out on her “genius hour.”
That’s an 80-minute period every Monday during which Emily and her classmates work on projects entirely of their choosing. Over months of study, Emily and her friends have spent their time researching running shoes — what people prefer and why.
“It’s definitely the highlight of my week,” says Emily, 12. “It’s not a project a teacher assigned, it’s something that actually interests you, and it gets you learning in different ways from what we do the rest of the day at school.”
Her classroom’s “genius hour” was inspired by Google’s 20% time initiative, which allows employees to dedicate 20% of working hours to their own ideas. The concept is now catching on in schools, usually rooted in the idea of student-led passion projects with a focus on creating and sharing.
Teachers said it’s part of a larger movement in education to promote student-driven learning, ensuring that young people learn to think for themselves. Educators across grade levels are asking students to come up with their own questions, do their own research and form their own conclusions. […]
Read more via CNN.com.