Denise Krebs (@mrsdkrebs) is a connected educator, leader, and learner with 25 years’ experience in private and public schools and recreation centers in California, Iowa, Michigan, Arizona, and Bahrain. Denise was teaching junior high when she dove into Genius Hour. Her smart and intrepid junior high students and the #geniushour community helped her find her way. Currently, Denise teaches grade 5 English language learners in Bahrain. She also serves as elementary English subjects coordinator. She has had the joy of seeing genius hour work with students in kindergarten through grade 8.
I was wondering..I am a PE teacher from Missouri and would like to incorporate GH in my classes. I was wondering if you had any resources on implementing GH in a specials area (art, music, PE). My levels are K-6th, but I think I will focus on 6th. Thanks, Emily Haines
Thanks, Emily, for your visit and question. You are on the right track realizing that Genius Hour learning can be good in any class. I think all the regular resources about genius hour will be valuable for you to read and study. The only difference is that you might ask students to develop their inquiry question around the subject at hand. In your case, of course, it’s physical education. Grade 6 will bring their interests and specialties to the task. Some might want to study the history of a sport, and how to make it better due to new technologies. Or they could study the problems associated with using performance-enhancing drugs. Maybe artistic types will want to work on drawing athletic figures in action. Many will undoubtedly want to work on their own skills in a sport or activity they love.
You can challenge them to create a question that will focus their study and use of time you give them. For instance, instead of asking, ‘How can I improve my basketball skills?’, the student will want to narrow the focus to something he really needs to work on: ‘Can I improve my free throw average by switching to underhand shots?’ How much freedom you can give depends on the resources available (Is there computer access for research? Are extra teachers available to cover multiple spaces? etc.).
The same goes for other special areas. Art and music teachers can ask their students to learn, explore, research, practice something related to art or music. For that matter, subject teachers do the same thing. I did in science and history. Almost everything is interconnected, so students bring their strengths and loves into genius hour, even if it’s in a subject they usually don’t care about. (For instance, studying the history of art or sports in history class, for instance, brings new interest for some students.
Sometimes I would even be more specific and do a unit inquiry project on genetics in science or resistance movements in history, for instance. The project looked much like genius hour, but it was focused on some aspect of the unit we were studying.
All the best to you and your students, Emily,