Mary Crondahl

Mary Crondahl

Genius Hour hits Hatzic elementary

Students presented projects at the school's Passion Fair


If you could learn about anything in the world, what would it be?

Students at Hatzic elementary researched their interests one hour a week during the school’s Genius Hour.

Children in grades 3 to 6 and kindergarden studied a range of topics from catapults to cooking, chess, bees, robotics, and even endangered species. They  presented their findings at the Passion Fair a few weeks later.

“Students were very excited and enjoyed sharing new discoveries with their peers,” said Hatzic vice principal Sharon Widdows.

The fair, which featured close to 200 projects, was attended by other classes in the school and parents.

“Genius Hour is a project-based learning strategy cropping up in classrooms worldwide,” said Hatzic vice principal Sharon Widdows. “While discussion about personalized learning has initiated much conversation among educators about how to tailor learning to individual students, the notion of Genius Hour was pioneered by Google executives, who theorized that allowing employees time during the week to work on projects of their choosing would increase productivity and motivation.”

Widdows added this type of project-based learning allows teachers to create a culture of collaboration among students, promote an interactive learning environment, and teachers come to know their students more.