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GeniusHour Addresses Student Interest, Engagement
April 08, 2014

“Students become engaged when content is interesting and relevant, when they can be independent, when they have choice, and when learning is authentic. The point? Having freedom to learn about what is important to you yields incredible results.” -- Ms. Lee Pop

As part of the GeniusHour, students in Ms. Lee Pop's 7th grade Language Arts classes at Ballard Brady Middle School each decide on a project to develop. Once a student's proposal has been approved by Ms. Pop, he or she will research, investigate and develop the project over several months.

Some approved topics include authoring a book, recording a music video, developing a video game using coding, creating computer animation, building a solar powered lawnmower, and designing a fashion website.

Students will track their research and development by regularly posting blogs - and an occasional vlog (video blog) - that will be shared with their classmates who are expected to comment on the blogs. Furthermore, students are encouraged to reach out to mentors, experts, and social media throughout their journey.

The GeniusHour concept is a research-based trend in education where people excel in learning when it is something they want to learn. Intrinsic motivation stems from autonomy (the desire to direct our own life), mastery (the desire to get better and better at something that matters), and purpose (the desire to do things in service of something larger than ourselves). Students are passionate about the subject and motivated to succeed. The biggest reason for GeniusHour is that it is engaging.

This project will help students in language arts by developing their critical writing and reading skills through their research, investigating and exploring, as well as, explanatory writing when interacting in blogs.

“All of the work being completed in GeniusHour - from research to writing to reading to creating to sharing - enhances and fosters students’ critical thinking abilities, digital literacy, independence, and 21st century skills,” said Pop.

Stay Tuned! We will follow up with Ms. Pop’s class over the next several month to see how her students’ GeniusHour projects are coming along.

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