Several years back, I started using a little block of time on Fridays for something I called Creative Genius. My intention was to feature some big ideas that would get kids thinking about project ideas for school and also things they might want to pursue for the rest of their lives. I think it is crucial for us to get kids thinking about their strengths, passions and intentions for a fulfilling life. So far, we have seen ideas about Nike making shoes for a 16 yo boy with cerebral palsy (here), seen an Elon Musk transportation idea called Hyperloop (here), watched the Abbot and Costello routine "Who's on First" (here), seen a video about the potential of solar highways (here), watched an artist convert computer circuit boards into artwork (here), watched a video about "Shoes that Grow" (here), seen a fire extinguisher that puts out fire using sound waves (here) and watched a short video about a designer who created the Solar Puff Lamp for those who have no access to electricity (here).
Why is it important to expose kids to these kinds of ideas? Well, we know that kids will be doing jobs that don't even exist yet and we have to prepare them for those opportunities as best we can. I want kids to think of the seemingly impossible, to stretch their imaginations and know that just because something has not been done yet does not mean that they cannot do it. Instead of relying on others to create the next wave of great inventions, they can see themselves as capable of inventing those next great things. All kids need is an imagination and an unshakable belief in themselves.
The time we spend on Creative Genius is time well-spent. Sure, it takes a bit of time away from the regular class period activities, but I think it is so essential that I am glad to dedicate time to these fascinating ideas. I want kids to see that genius has many manifestations and that each of them has genius within them. I want them to take risks, try to translate their imaginations into something tangible and show them that their own ideas are worthwhile and valuable. I want kids to learn out loud and be fearless in their learning. If they fail, so what! Those who invented the things we show in our Creative Genius time failed many times and look where that failure lead them. The kids are starting to get it. Many of them are already starting to think of ideas they can do for projects and even their 20% Time projects that they will do later in the year. If I can get them thinking creatively, then I consider that a huge win.