Friday, February 7, 2014

"Genius Hour" or "20 Time"

In class last night, I heard about an interesting educational innovation called "Genius Hour" or "20 Time."  Based on Google's philosophy of providing employees with the opportunity to work on their own endeavors/projects for a certain portion of their work time, this educational approach sounds intriguing.  I'm interested learning more about this educational innovation.  Students often come up with incredible projects they would like to explore.  

Has anyone tried Genius Hour or 20 Time in an educational setting?  If so, how did it work?  What were the results?  Did the students enjoy it?  How was it funded?  Did you use any criteria or provide any structure?  

STEM Magnet Academy Underway!

Exciting things are happening here in Chicago Heights School District 170!  Our STEM Magnet Academy is well underway.  We are currently prepping for the admission process for the 2014-2015 school year.  In addition, we are also delving deeply into the continually changing curriculum work.  I haven't decided the main purpose behind this blog yet.  I've determined that I will use this platform to provide updates regarding the STEM Magnet Academy, flesh out ideas I'm working through, create a digital journal to track our progress, and pose questions to other educators, especially those involved with curriculum work and STEM.

First question:
As the reading/Language Arts teacher in our STEM Magnet Academy, I'm constantly wondering how to develop an enriched curriculum for our students.  I attended the NSTA conference last year in St. Louis.  I was able to establish dialogue with some of the participants in the conference.  My questions to them were in regards to the shape and purpose of the reading curriculum in a STEM program.  Based on my preliminary research and conversations I've had with educators in STEM and in the regular education classroom, it seems that reading/Language Arts serves a more supplemental purpose in a STEM program.  The reading teachers at the conference said that their reading curriculum is closely aligned and integrated with the content the science teacher is teaching.  For instance, when the science teacher is instructing on earth science, the reading teacher uses novels focusing on the same topic to help emphasize main ideas, themes, and points of interest.

In your opinion, what should a reading/Language Arts Curriculum look like in a STEM program?