Staying focused during the Genius Hour is a challenge for students and teachers, as the style of learning is often different from what they have experienced before.

Sean Crevier has been allowing his students to choose projects for the past six years, honing the systems that help kids find success with the 20 percent time projects known as the Genius Hour.

“You are going to have to sell it to your kids because for a lot of kids coming in, sitting down, taking notes and regurgitating is a lot easier,” Crevier told educators at the International Society for Technology in Education conference. He says that the attitude is understandable as it is the path of least resistance.  However it is still worth planning 20 percent time projects because he has seen students develop skills while doing them.

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“I’m a fixer,” Crevier admitted.  “And I think as teachers we are naturally fixers. But I think we don’t always have to give them the answers for them to have those amazing experiences.” He keeps remembering to let the kids try solutions on their own, and step in only at the last minute.  He does not want the kids to be dependent on him.

One of the important things Crevier does with his students as they brainstorm is to meet with them individually about their project, so that they can realistically fit it into a 10 week schedule. The students must map out what happens each class period, and have deliverables for each day of work. IF there is a lot of work left over at the end of the first class period, they know they need to rethink how the project is structured.

“That’s my favorite skill that they learn because I know they walk out of here with the ability to create, schedule and manage their own projects,” Crevier said.

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