Self-Directed Learning Exploration

Thinkering Studio | Genius Hour | 20% Time | Etc.

This self-paced workshop can be done individually, but it has been written for small groups. It should take about X hours to complete. Of course, that depends on how much thought you put into it, how deep your group's conversations, and how many tangential activities you explore. You may have a staff development half-day, day or days to work on this topic, but it could just as easily be done after school in one hour chunks or asynchronously using a blog, wiki, or Moodle-like tool.

To Do:


  1. Time to get to know your colleague(s) a little better. In pairs, interview each other to discover each other's interests and skills/strengths. These interests/skills can be ones used in school or outside of school. Below is a form we use in our Thinkering Studio class with each new set of students. You do not need to fill in every line and the last section is for later.
  2. An alternative to this step would be to take a strengths explorer test. A good test along those lines for upper elementary to middle school students is the The Clifton Youth StrengthsExplorer

Facilitator Note

Focus Question

How do we get more kids like this?

  1. As a whole group, watch a few of following videos
  2. As a whole group, listen to Tony Wagner describe the 7 Skills students need for their future (30 min) or individually read Rigor Redefined or better yet, have half watch the video and half read the article.
    • As a group summarize the main points from the video or article. Facilitator Note
  3. Optional - Do a book study of Wagner's Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World
  4. Optional - Compare Wagner's recommended skills with other skill lists

Big Picture

How do others explain this?
  1. Watch the RSA Animate version of Dan Pink's Drive or watch Dan's TED Talk
  2. In small groups and then whole group, discuss when/how Purpose, Autonomy, and Mastery come into play in classrooms/school
  3. Read through the Thinkering Studio is ... slides and then the description of Thinkering Studio
  4. Big Picture Jigsaw

---Note, links, etc. for next step