For the thirteen years students are in school, they are regularly told what to learn and how to learn and why to learn, but not given many opportunities to figure out this process on their own. This last quarter, the CP English 12 classes completed a Genius Hour project, in which they spent 20% of their class time (every Friday) researching a topic they were passionate about and creating a product or developing a skill based on that topic of interest. Students worked individually and in groups to learn how to learn on their own—a vital skill as they graduate and continue learning in college and career experiences. They developed implementation plans to become better critical-thinkers, completed written or video reflections and worked with a mentor to become stronger communicators, and collaborated in groups to develop their uniquely creative projects.
They presented their final products and skills at the end of the quarter, including presentations showing what they learned, from training puppies to becoming stronger public speakers, baking a cake to making tie-blankets to donate to homeless shelters, or designing a health app to experimenting with food, these students have learned how to own their learning. Not every project was a success, but with every challenge and failure, students learned what didn’t work and how to grow from those failures.