In 2018/2019 Grandview Heights implemented a school wide, self-directed, passion-based learning experience called Genius Hour.
In today’s world, we need innovative thinkers who have a passionate drive to solve some incredibly complex problems. Forward-thinking companies know the value of encouraging workers to pursue personally meaningful projects as they exercise their critical thinking skills and create exciting new products to improve life (and the bottom line). At 3M, for instance, workers are given 15 percent of their time to pursue personal projects. One result of this program? Post-It Notes, one of the company’s best-selling items. At Google, engineers are given 20 percent release time and encouragement to pursue fresh ideas that will benefit the company. One impressive result? Gmail.
The value of intrinsic motivation in learning and achievement cannot be overstated. Each week we devote at least one hour to a project that your child chooses based on his/her unique interests. Angela Maiers, in her book Genius Matters says, “Genius Hour is a nearly unprecedented opportunity for teachers to guide students in how to be effective learners and citizens, by helping them connect what they do in school to the broader community.” Time will be spent discovering unique talents, curiosities, dreams and skills. During Genius Hour, teachers will guide, model, and hopefully inspire your child to find joy in wrangling with a challenge where there is no single “right” answer. The students will learn more about who they are as learners, about how to overcome obstacles, to access their resilience and grit, and that success cannot always be measured by finding the right answer on a test!
Alberta Education states that “students use and develop competencies when they encounter unfamiliar or challenging situations. Competencies help students draw and build upon what they know, how they think and what they can do.” The competencies that Alberta Education has identified are:
- critical thinking
- managing information
- creativity and innovation
- cultural & global citizenship
- personal growth & well-being
The students look forward to Genius Hour every week at Grandview. The freedom and innovation in that kind of experiential learning is important, and magical! -Paige McKenzie, Principal
Research shows, and my life experience confirms, that nearly all 5 year-old kids believe they can and will change the world, and they have big plans for doing so. -Angela Maiers
READ THE FULL ARTICLE BELOW