One way to help students begin thinking about what “Big Questions” they will pursue for their Genius Hour projects and the products they will create as a result, is by encouraging them to move in the direction of their “why.” Last year, our college counselors showed the following TEDx presentation to my sophomores with author, speaker, and consultant, Simon Sinek:
If students are to produce a successful product (the what), using our year-long, weekly process (the how), then it should first originate with meaningful, intrinsic motivation (the why). Knowing their why will build tenacity when they feel like giving up. Knowing their why will help them create a truly beneficial product for another (a requisite for the project). Knowing their why will provide purposeful direction for life after high school.
Showing this presentation at the beginning of the year before I introduce Genius Hour and then engaging in journal reflections and discussions directly after will not only help my students cast a vision for their projects, but also provide a framework for their entire educational experience.
Here’s to another year of making a difference in the lives of our students!