Most days, I give students mini-lesson on either the content or the skills (curricular competencies) that they need to focus on: daily life of the Vikings, innovations, and social/legal structure; crafting good driving questions; finding research using their digital devices; or recording their thinking and their research (I use a graphic organiser to help with this). For this more teacher-directed inquiry I have given the students the driving question, but I am also encouraging students to craft their own questions and conduct research to supplement their understanding of the lives of the Vikings.
On the other hand, we do ‘Genius Hour’ every Friday in my Humanities classes. This is based on Google’s 20% time and I have done a lot of personal research on how people are using Genius Hour in their classrooms. Many of my students are loving our one hour a week to research something they are passionate about, create, and share information and their creations with their peers. Here are some of their wonderings:
- how to create a solar powered car battery using nanocellulose?
- how to create a wind powered phone charger?
- what happens when we dream?
- how to learn about and create pop art?
- how to communicate with the deaf and hard of hearing using ASL?
- how to build an app that will benefit the school?
- how to create a videogame?
- how to train like an NHL athlete?
- what is the ideal skate park and how to create a model of it?
What I love about the two levels of inquiry that I am doing right now, is that it gives me an opportunity to really model and scaffold the inquiry process for my students in the curriculum area inquiry, but also allows them to play, experiment, take risks, and follow their passions in the Genius Hour/student-directed inquiry. I believe it is so important to foster the love for curiosity, creativity and identifying their passions in the thirteen and fourteen year-olds that I teach.
For my students and their parents, all of our assignments are now being posted on our Google Classroom account, so please log in to get more specifics about the assignments.