It's Genius Hour in Grade Four!...Devon Peck
How can we use research skills to encourage students to be motivated, independent learners in the elementary classroom?
After starting out in my grade 4 class at my practicum school, my teacher mentor and grade team teacher expressed a desire/interest to develop their students as more independent learners, as well as to increase student motivation. Before I even started my practicum, they had decided to change the format of the final periods on Friday afternoons to incorporate a Genius Hour program. I was interested in learning more about it because of the focus on research skills and on student-directed learning, a topic I have encountered in University. I also agreed with my mentor and grade team teacher that this program could be to enhance student motivation, as well to increase their ability to work more independently (or with less need for constant guidance.) I worked with my TM and grade team partner to sort out the kinks in this program, as it was the first time any of us had done a project like this with elementary students. My PIP shows how a genius hour program can support the development of research skills while also allowing for autonomy in student learning. It includes resources to help teachers get started with something similar, as well as feedback from my students on how they felt about the program.
Devon is in the final semester of her combined Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education degree, majoring in social studies education. She completed her third professional semester in Sylvan Lake, Alberta in a grade 4 classroom teaching Language Arts, Science, and Art. She hopes to teach middle school humanities in the future.