If you are not implementing Genius Hour Social Studies into your social studies classroom, you need to do this right away!
Every student has a passion, and it is no different in social studies. Each grade level has a different focus when teaching social studies. Most curriculum are focused on a time period such as: Early America up to the Civil War, or just Geography. Students in these classes, for the most part, like social studies because it is not reading or writing. (Sorry that is not a knock on you ELA teachers, just a truth we have found over time). However, each student’s interests can be very different and staying focused on only one aspect of social studies can become boring for students.
This is where Genius Hour Social Studies comes into play. Students get to choose a passion that they have in a social studies category. It can be history, culture, economics, government, geography or any other social studies topic. You just need to carve out time during the week for students to work on their projects. It could be 5-10 minutes at the end of each class period. Or it could be once a week during class. That choice is up to you.
We have five reasons why you should implement Genius Hour Social Studies below.
It promotes choice.
Choice is key in school. When students are provided a choice, they “buy in” to what they are working on. There are so many options available and the students are the ones that get to pick their project. It is a “win” for both the student and the teacher.
It helps develop critical thinking skills.
When students dive into their projects, they will need to use critical thinking skills to answer the tough questions they have developed about their topic. There will be roadblocks, but the students are more motivated to tackle them because they have an interest in the topic!
It engages the learner.
Since the topic was chosen by them, there is an intrinsic motivation to find answers to their questions. The students are engaged and can’t wait for time to work on their projects. Because of this increased excitement, you will probably see interest in your general social studies class soar as well!
It is differentiated.
As educators it is often difficult to meet all students’ needs in the classroom. But this project is totally designed by the student. Now you may need to help with guidance for some students, but each individual student is creating their project based on their interests. You will be surprised at even what your lower level students can accomplish when they are given a choice!
It is fun!
Plain and simple, Genius Hour Social Studies is fun! Your students will be begging you for more time to work on their passion projects. You will notice a positive change in student behaviors as they are now excited to come to class because they know that they will have a choice of what to work on.
Genius Hour Social Studies has been a game changer in our classrooms. We hope that you can implement this soon!