It’s no secret that kids learn better when teachers provide learning activities that keep them engaged. Teachers work tirelessly to plan engaging lessons that capture and keep the interests of their students, thereby making content more accessible. However, teachers continue to feel the daunting pressure to compete for their students’ attention amidst the ever-evolving and rapidly-hanging mass media, social media, and entertainment industry, as these elements do a stellar job of keeping students highly engaged outside of the classroom.
During genius hour students of all levels are empowered to explore their own passions. Discover how to transform your classroom into a place where students want to come in and learn.
Find information, strategies, protocols, and tools — including resources and downloads from teachers and schools – to promote curiosity and engage students in asking questions, thinking critically, and solving problems.
Every year, five million children enter kindergarten armed with one word: “Why?” They continuously ask questions in what seems like an unending loop. On the other side, parents, caretakers, and teachers do their best to come up with answers to manage this kiddie-inquisition. Yet there’s no allaying it. Behind that question hides another. And another. And another. And another. As painful as this activity may be for adults, the process is important for children. Their brains are busily creating pathways. They are trying to understand how things work. They are learning — and learning how to learn.
Trendy approaches to teaching come and go, but some of them stick around. Inquiry-based learning, for example, is no longer a trend–it’s the dominant mode of instruction for many educators around the country. Inquiry-based learning gives students a choice about what they will study, which leads to greater engagement. For educators who are new to this model, this article by Terry Heick lays out the four phases of inquiry-based learning (interaction, clarification, questioning, and design) and also suggests several apps that support teachers and students each step of the way.
“Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions” (Harvard Education Press: 2011) makes two simple arguments:
- All students should and can learn to formulate their own questions
- All educators can easily teach the skill as part of their regular practice