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One of Klement's students Genius Hour Projects

 

Meghan Klement, a high school chemistry teacher, recently introduced a new, innovative program called Genius Hour into her classroom. “The first teacher to do Genius Hour at Allen High School was Katie Lanier, a SRD/Physics teacher in the fall of 2012,” Klement said.  

Genius Hour allows students to explore their own interests and passions creatively in the classroom. It provides students a choice in what they want to learn during school. Google originally started it where the company would give employees twenty percent of their paid time back for them to do conduct research on any topic they wanted. What Google found was that when employees were given an option to explore their own interests, productivity and overall general happiness within the company increased.

Throughout the year, Klement has seen positive changes in her students when they are participating in Genius Hour. “I think the greatest benefit other than having to choose a topic that can be anything, is the fact that there are no rules. Most projects have guidelines, requirements, and rubrics and to get a good grade you have to fulfill those. However, GH students have to decide what passion they want to learn. There are no guidelines so students become researchers, planners, designers, and good decision makers,” Klement said.

 

Genius Hour happens every Friday in Klement’s classroom and the students have the entire class period to do research and work on their project. “I think many students or people in general have very little time to explore new passions with all the extracurricular activities, work, and school so it is nice to have for that because you never know what could come of it. The only bad aspects I have seen are the students who don’t want to explore anything,” Klement said.

 

In the future, Klement plans to continue incorporating Genius Hour in her classroom for students. “My main plan is to create a “genius hour junkyard” where I will bring a ton of random supplies for students to create models and crafts with. Another plan I have is to push students further next year to think more outside the box. I would like them to think about not only researching but creating something or learning a skill,” Klement said. “We spend so much time telling students what to learn, which is good, but it is nice for them to have a choice about something that interests them.”

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