Genius Hour in the University Classroom

This summer I taught an undergraduate course at Simon Fraser University: 

EDUC 394: Cross-Curricular Connections

Over the past few years I have really worked on planning with the big ideas in mind and thinking about the cross-curricular connections that I can make so I was excited to share some of my ideas, practices I have incorporated, and the theoretical backing for this type of teaching with my students (all of them are working toward a BC teaching certificate).

Some of the themes we touched on were:

  • ​ePortfolios
  • Blogging
  • Year Plans
  • Place Based Learning
  • Non-Fiction Reading and Science/Social Studies
  • Metacognition 
  • Imaginative Education
  • Inquiry
  • Genius Hour
  • Global Connections and Mystery Skype
  • Assessment
  • Meaningful Technology Integration
One of my favourite parts of the course was, of course, when we talked about Genius Hour! And we also took the time to do our own Genius Hour inquiries one week and then shared the following week. Some topics the Teacher Candidates investigated:

What is The Daily 5?
How does Roots of Empathy work and how can I teach empathy to my students?
How do I build a strong sense of community in my classroom?
How do you blog with a class that has very little technology?
How do I help build leadership capacity in my students?
What are the Zones of Regulation and how can I use them in my classroom?
How do you make a stop motion movie?
What is the difference between Faye Brownlie’s lit circles and the kind described by Harvey Daniels?
I wonder how the new curriculum will change the way teachers teach?
How do I set up a grade 1 classroom?
What does student-centred actually mean?
How is Reggio being used around the world?
How can we teach sustainability in our classrooms?
What are literature circles?
What do kids wonder (and what types of Genius Hour projects have they done?) –Lisa had a great discussion of this on hers!
How can I use different desk arrangement styles to help my students be engaged and focused in the classroom? (I am mostly focused on intermediate grades.)
How does Genius Hour work in K/1?
How do you facilitate conflict resolution between students?
How can I create a successful classroom community?
What do I do on the 1st day of school?
I wonder if schools will one day be paperless?
I wonder how to engage students who lack motivation?

Such great questions! So there you have it…Genius Hour: Not just for K-12. It works with Teacher Candidates and of course it works for practicing teachers too! What is your question? What are you looking into these days?