This year, as I thought about Genius Hour, I knew I wanted to change it a bit from last year. Last year, students found areas of interest and spent time learning about those and sometimes creating things to share their learning. I wanted it to be playful and purposeful. But I wanted it to be more for this year and this Acorn Cap workshop gave me some ideas.
This year, we are changing the name of Genius Hour to "Wonder Workshop". We have Reading Workshop and Writing Workshop and Math Workshop so having a Wonder Workshop makes sense. Our students know what a workshop is and they know their role in learning in a workshop. And a Wonder Workshop seems to make sense to 8 year olds. This will be a time that we explore those things we wonder about each day.
This year, when I think about Genius Hour/Wonder Workshop, I wanted it to be a combination of so many things. I love the Genius Hour movement and I also love the possibilities around Maker Space and Passion Time. I wanted to create a time that made sense for 8 year olds, where they could explore and learn. I wanted a place where they could sometimes be the learner and sometimes be the teacher. I wanted a place where anything was possible and where kids were in charge of their own learning.
To kick off Wonder Workshop, each child is creating a workshop for the class. We spent time talking about those things they love, things they are good at, things they want to teach others about. So, every day, for 2 weeks, we are learning from each other. For homework last week, kids prepared 10 minute mini-workshops on a topic of their choice. For 2 weeks, kids are rotating to workshops, learning from every other child in the classroom. So far we've learned:
- how to play guitar
- how to make fortune tellers
- how to braid hair
- about the sea
- how to make clay animals
- how to make puzzles
As students share, the audience members are jotting down new things they are learning and questions they have. They are also jotting down things they want to try. I am hoping that we are setting the stage for a Wonder Workshop that has us thinking about the following questions.
- What do we know?
- What can we teach each other?
- What can we learn from and with each other?
- What are you interested in/good at now?
- What might we be interested in later in the year?