Friday mornings at Cottonwood Creek Elementary (CCE) are anything but what you might think a typical morning of school would look like. However, the learners at Cottonwood Creek Elementary are anything but typical. The learners at CCE are leaders and on Friday mornings, these leaders are given one hour to explore their passions – free from the constraints of only working with their grade level, working within a core subject, or completing work their educator has given them. These learners are busy exploring topics like computer coding, recycling, gardening, sports, music, and advocating for a cause such as animal adoption or cancer research all while deciding how their passion will benefit others. We call this time on Fridays, Genius Hour.
Genius Hour is a relatively new concept in the classroom, but has been around in the business world for quite a long time. You may have heard the term 20% Time, coined by Google, a company that offers their employees 20% of their working hours devoted to a project of their choice – their passion – anything that may ultimately help the company. What makes this concept so unique at Cottonwood Creek is that our entire campus engages in Genius Hour on a weekly basis. We break down all the typical structures of school for this hour and learners spread throughout the campus to collaborate and work on their passion.
At Cottonwood Creek Elementary, we believe that simply learning content is not enough for our kids. What sets our learners apart is their ability to lead. Our learners are not afraid to take a risk and try something new – knowing that failure is inevitable some of the time and that it is through those failures that we learn, grow, and build character.
As a school community, we provide each learner with a high-quality, challenging education designed to maximize his/her potential as a learning leader. Our environment is a shared, caring community where there is mutual respect between the educators and the learners. Innovation, creativity, awareness, inquiry, and critical thinking are an integral part of our learning environment. Our learners are provided limitless opportunities to reach their personal best and empowered to be leaders of their own learning.
Photo Credit: Cynthia Alaniz
Boelts, M. Those Shoes. Illus. by Noah Z. Jones. Somerville, MA: Candlewick, 2009. Print. ISBN 978-0763642846
Jeremy desperately wants a pair of the latest black high-tops everyone in his class is wearing. His worn shoes come apart, so a well-meaning guidance counselor provides him with a pair from a donation box. Though most of his classmates laugh at his shoes, Antonio does not. Astonished at the high price of the high tops, Jeremy’s grandmother tells him she cannot afford to buy them, and instead buys him winter boots he will soon need. Still determined to own the high-tops, Jeremy spots a pair in a thrift shop for a low price and purchases them, though they are ill-fitting. Reluctantly, he must eventually abandon the uncomfortable shoes. But when he notices that Antonio is worse off (wearing shoes held together with tape), Jeremy knows what he must do with the high-tops he once wanted so much. In this moving picture book appropriate for all ages, readers will find a memorable story of empathy, compassion, and friendship. The watercolor and ink illustrations adeptly depict each poignant moment in Jeremy’s story, and carry the story forward with sensitivity and hope.
Coppell ISD has opened its doors to visitors across the world to showcase our innovative facilities and curriculums. Coppell ISD is welcoming you to take a behind the scenes look at how we do what we do best. All school tours are organized through CISD. The tours for the 2016-2017 school year have ended. They will start again in October 2017.