MI Time stands for Music/Innovation Time. It’s based on the concept of Genius Hour/20% Time/Whatever you choose to call this awesome time for students. We decided to call it MI Time (pronounced MY Time) because this is music class and we are working on being innovative.
There are some great resources out there to learn about the inspiration behind MI Time and how to create it in your classroom. I started with Don Wetrick’s “Pure Genius” and dove in. Just getting to the point where you are ready to try this in your classroom is a big step – it helps if you have a principal who is behind you 100%. Plan, collect ideas and resources, plan some more, then jump in. If you wait until you feel completely ready, you’ll probably never start. If you’re like me, this is new for you and your students – so take a deep breath, hold hands, and go.
Here’s a quick rundown of what MI Time looks like in our classroom …
- Students choose a topic they feel inspired to learn more about
- Students create a research question that goes beyond a simple Google search
- Students write a proposal to lay out their research question, timeline, and final product
- Students work on projects in class (and out) completing a log of their progress each week
- Students share what they learned
- Repeat as needed
Every Wednesday is set aside for MI Time in our classroom – one day a week works well since this is 20% of our class time. During this time, students work through the steps above on their way to completing their project. As the teacher, I check in with students, answer questions, ask questions, and provide a space for exploring and researching topics that goes far beyond what I ever thought I’d be guiding in a music classroom.
The really great thing is MI Time gives me the opportunity learn more about my students and the topics that interest them than ever before.
If you’re thinking about trying this in your classroom, I encourage you to jump in. It’s certainly a risk – for students, teachers, and administrators – but I can tell you that so far it has been worth it. After they got over the initial shock of being told they could study anything they are interested in, most of my students have really embraced MI Time. I think their ideas and work will only grow as we continue through the rest of the semester.
If you’re already implementing your own version of MI Time, I’d love to hear your experiences in the comment section so we can learn from each other!
One of the goals of MI Time in our classroom is to create an environment where these projects move beyond the walls of our classroom. To do this, students will be sharing their progress along the way as well as the results of their learning. With that in mind, here are our students sharing the topic of their first MI Time project!