ST. PARIS – Mariah Morris and Emily Tannyhill are onto something. These Graham Elementary teachers have turned Fridays into powerful learning days with Genius Hour, a time for students to experiment with coding and technology integration in class and learn the computer science languages that make gaming and apps work. It seems an hour isn’t enough.
“Genius Hour provides my students with the opportunity to explore their passions,” said Mariah Morris. “They find a topic of interest, then research, design, create, and finally present their findings to the class. Doing this for just one hour each week has become our favorite time, and even greatly improved our writing and research skills!”
Coding has become one of the favorite activities each week. The students work on their problem solving skills and get to become an engineer for an hour.
According to Emily Tannyhill, “There’s no doubt that technology is our future. Incorporatingcoding into the curriculum only makes sense as it helps students prepare for possible future careers while still appealing to their interests.” The teachers have introduced the students to use code.org to design “mods” from popular games and movies such as Minecraft, Flappybird, and Frozen!
Said Morris, “The most exciting part of it all is when they get to share their hard work with their friends. Every Friday, I get to see their love of learning come alive again, and it is magical.”