Genius Hour in US History

Students need opportunities to completely take charge of their learning but this could prove difficult to do in a content-area class like US History. I taught Effective Teens, a leadership elective class, for eight years and one of the most powerful components of the class occurred when I implemented Genius Hour two years ago. Genius Hour bases itself on the Google 20% Time work model, where employees are given 20% of their workweek to focus on projects they are interested in. I saw the tremendous benefits of Genius Hour in Effective Teens and knew I needed to bring this model to my US History students, as well.

After researching History/Genius Hour blends this summer I came across the National History Day Competition and realized it's the perfect way to combine student-centered, project-based learning opportunities in our content area. I will introduce the project tomorrow and make sure that I do not overwhelm students--I will introduce the 2017 theme help students narrow down topics that will fit the theme.I will also add parameters--students can only research US History topics between the years 1776-2000. This will greatly help their scope and make this project more manageable.

The first step on this learning journey begins tomorrow...

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