Friday mornings at Cockrell Elementary are not what you would think a typical school day would look like. The learners at Cockrell are leaders and on Friday mornings, these leaders are given one hour to explore their passions – free from the constraints of only working with their grade level, working within a core subject, or completing work their teacher has offered. These learners are busy exploring topics like computer coding, recycling, sports, music, cooking, and advocating for a cause such as animal adoption or cancer research all while deciding how their passion will benefit others. We call this time on Fridays, Genius Hour.
Genius Hour is a relatively new concept in the classroom but has been around in the business world for quite a long time. You may have heard the term 20% Time, coined by Google, a company that offers their employees 20% of their working hours devoted to a project of their choice – their passion – anything that may ultimately help the company. What makes this concept so unique at Cockrell is that our entire campus engages in Genius Hour on a weekly basis. We break down all the typical structures of school for this hour and learners spread throughout the campus to collaborate and work on their passion.
Each student focuses on three questions as they explore their passion.
- How does my passion help me to be a better person?
- How does my passion help my school and/or community?
- How does my passion help the world around me?
We believe that simply learning content is not enough for our 21st-century kids. What sets our learners apart is their ability to lead. Our learners are not afraid to take a risk and try something new – knowing that failure is inevitable some of the time and that it is through those failures that we learn, grow, and build character.
For more information on Genius Hour, here are a few great resources:
What is Genius Hour?