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Genius Hour: Foster Passion-Driven Learning in Your Classroom

Genius Hour: Foster Passion-Driven Learning in Your Classroom

By Lizzy Chan

Genius Hour is an educational movement built on an idea similar to that championed by Steve Jobs.

Teachers who participate in Genius Hour believe that if students are given class time to pursue a topic that they’re passionate about, students will be creative, happier and more engaged.

Genius Hour’s Origins

The movement was inspired by one of Google’s business practices. Every week, Google’s engineers are allowed to spend 20 percent of their time working on a pet project related to the business. Google believes that if its engineers can work on what they’re passionate about, productivity will increase. This policy has proven to be a great success: 50 percent of Google’s products—including Gmail and Google News—have come from these creative periods.

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How Genius Hour Works for Teachers

Implement Genius Hour in your classroom by following these four basic tenets:

  • Driving Question: Students select a topic of their choice and must create a driving question related to that topic.
  • Research: Research must then be used to answer the driving questions.
  • Shared: Finally, students must share their finished projects with their peers, and hopefully with an audience outside of their local community.
  • Projects Aren’t Graded: Genius hours projects are not graded. This feature encourages children to pursue large endeavors and tackle difficult topics.

*Note: Genius Hour can occur once an hour during the school week, or for a longer period of class time.

More: Blog Spotlight: Educator Lisa Nielsen

Additional Resources

Learn more about teachers’ experiences with Genius Hour to determine how it will work best in your classroom.

“Genius Hour: What Kids can Learn from Failure”

This comprehensive CNN article focuses on lessons students have learned about problem solving, failure, and pivoting from disappointment thanks to Genius Hour. The article also covers how teachers implemented Genius Hour to encourage risk-taking, creativity, and resilience.

“Integrating Technology & Genius Hour: My Journey as a Teacher & a Learner”

Gallit Zvi (a Faculty Associate) blogs about her experience with Genius Hour. She provides instructions for, an introduction, and reflections on leading Genius Hour in her classroom.

“Why I Abandoned Genuis Hour”

Mrs. Wideen reflects on the difficulties and rewards of implementing Genius Hour with her class of first and second graders.

Genius Hour Pinterest Board from Jennifer Walker

This Pinterest board presents a collection of images displaying student projects, decorations, words of encouragement, and inspirational quotes for Genius Hour.

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