Genius Hour

Why Genius Hour?


  • What would happen if students were given sufficient opportunity, encouragement and guidance to discover and explore what they were passionate about? 
  • What if all students understood that they have particular talents, perspectives, and passions, and that all that makes them "different" is their greatest gift? 
  • What would this mean for their confidence and boldness? For student engagement? For their perceptions about learning and school? 
  • More importantly, what would it mean for the world

What is Genius Hour?

Genius Hour is a instructional practice that supports many, many big ideas in education.

  • First, it is passion based learning in that students have choice in the topics or ideas they want to learn more about. 
  • Second, it is personalized learning in that, again, students are learning and questioning and sharing at their own pace on their own subject matters or areas of interest.  While a teacher may want to target a specific subject matter, a key component of this is the student choice aspect.
  • Third, motivation in students tend to increase when students have choice in their learning because they are intrinsically motivated and driven in their learning.
  • Fourth, this type of learning put the responsibility for learning back in the hands of the students.  The teacher is no longer the person with the most amount of knowledge in the room.   
  • Fifth, it covers a ton of student learning targets in the areas of research, presentation (speaking and listening), reading, and writing.

Learn More about Genius Hour

Videos for Genius Hour
The Complete Guide to 20% Time (and Genius Hour) in the Classroom
Genius Hour Live Binder

Genius Hour:  Step by Step
Why Genius Hour?
How to ... Genius Hour
Reimaging Genius Hour as Mastery Hour

20 tips for putting Google's 20% time in your classroom
​6 Simple Strategies to Help You Find Your Passion
Want to Raise Test Scores? Then Honor Student Passion!

Genius Hour Guidelines

What does this look like?

At first, students will say, "Wait!  What?"  "So what are we getting credit for" , "What kinds of things can we do?". "Why aren't we being graded?", and "I don't get what we are supposed to be doing?"

After a bit more explanation, the student begin to understand.  They are not going to be graded, but they are going to be accountable.  For our 20% project, they document their learning through writing, podcasts, videos journals, etc.  They present their accomplishments to the class.  This "accountability" aligns, in part, with the ELA standards:  writing, reading, speaking, listening, and viewing.  


20% Time Commandments

  1. Choice:  Students must be able to choose their own project and final product.
  2. Structured Unstructured Time:  Time has to be scheduled not at random times in the day.
  3. Peer Accountability:  It's positive peer pressure
  4. Reflection:  What did you learn?
  5. Presentation: sharing

20% Project Guidelines

  1. For the rest of the year, 20% of your time in my class will be spent working on something you want to work on.
  2. It has to be some type of learning , and you have to document your learning.
  3. You will present your accomplishments to the class twice ( and will not be graded on it)
  4. That's it.  Have fun.  Find your passion.  Explore it.  Enjoy learning what you want!

Free Course on Genius Hour

Module 1: Why 20% Time? 

  • 3 Videos on the need for 20% time and Genius Hour
  • 4 articles on the research behind inquiry-based learning
  • A guide to explaining 20% time and Genius Hour to teachers and parents

Module 2: How to Get Started

  • 2 Videos on the step-by-step process for starting the project
  • 5 articles on how to begin and move your class forward
  • 3 resources and handouts for your class

Module 3: Navigating the Project’s Ups and Downs

  • 3 Videos on Motivation and Facilitating Successful Projects
  • 3 Articles on passion, purpose, and what to do when Genius Hour Fails…
  • 3 Resources on conducting research, the CRAAP test, and giving feedback

Module 4: Final Presentations, Grading, and Reflections

  • 3 Videos on final presentation possibilities and assessing these projects
  • 2 Articles on reflections at the end of the project
  • 3 Resources for continuing the learning and grading

Genius Hour for Professional Development


Complete the following pieces of Genius Hour


  • Use the Genius Hour for Professional Development Google Slide deck to guide your project.
  • Create a Genius Hour folder within your Tech PD Google folder.  Put all Genius Project artifacts into the folder
  • Complete the Shark Tank template (on slide 10) for your Genius Project
  • Complete the Genius or Wonder question on the KWHLAQ chart (on slide 12)
  • Complete one entry for K, W, and H of the KWHLAQ chart
  • Complete 1-2 dates of reflection on the Genius Learning Log part of the KWHLAQ chart
  • Complete one entry for the L, A, Q of the KWHLAQ chart
  • I will walk you through how to self reflect using the GRIT rubric and Orange Slide:  Student Rubric Add-on.




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