Fourth graders are stewards of their own learning at Seaford Harbor Elementary School. Teacher Samantha Micciche has introduced the genius hour concept to her classroom, in which time is devoted each day to projects her students have selected.
Genius hour was introduced in early May, with each student selecting a topic to learn more about. They could work independently or in pairs, and the process began with extensive research. Students learned different ways to gather information by reading books, using online sources and interviewing experts.
Once their research was done, students began creating their presentations. They had the choice of making a physical project like a poster display or a digital project such as a PowerPoint slideshow. All decisions, from the content to the presentation format, were left up to the students.
“Genius hour gives them an opportunity to become leaders of their own learning,” Ms. Micciche said. “They really enjoyed it because they were researching what they were passionate about.”
Among the topics that students chose were cars, cheerleading, paleontology, photography, singing and video games.
Students said they really enjoyed the opportunity to direct their own learning. Emma Venus chose to learn about Alex Morgan, a decorated soccer player she has watched for years. C.J. Romain, who visits Tennessee every year, researched the top 25 places to go there. Both students chose to do digital presentations because they liked the different visual effects offered in PowerPoint.
“I think it’s cool because you get an hour to learn more about what you’re really passionate about,” C.J. said. “I like learning on my own because it gets me ready for the future, like in high school when you get to choose your classes.”
Seaford Harbor Elementary School fourth graders, from left, Hannah Gerace, Jordyn Bowers, Michael Hecker, Jaxon Addiego and Gianna Negrino worked on their genius hour projects.
Photo courtesy of Seaford School District