This system was adopted by teachers later and used in the classroom to allow students to explore their passions. Adding structure to Genius Hour helps students stay on track. “The quality of our first projects was awful because students were playing and getting bored,” says Morelli, the fifth-grade teacher from Georgia. Genius Hour gives students the opportunity to explore their interests in a classroom setting.
My genius hour classroom is setup to where if the students have mastered the content on Monday through Thursday then I will allow them to spend all period on Friday working on their genius hour projects. This means that I have to be much more efficient in how I run my class Monday through Thursday.
When the time came to introduce Genius Hour, I created a chart filled with all the questions and ideas that were circling around in my students’ brains, such as “Why does it rain? As I got further down the road with my plans for Genius Hour, I identified the curricular connections I needed to take into consideration.
When first introduced, just to get inquiry going in the classroom, dedicate an entire period to just allow students to learn about whatever they want. At the end of the period allow the class to share what their individual learning was, and why they wanted to learn it. Most teachers are grading students on their work ethic each day of the process. Their ability to challenge themselves, and to be intentional about the learning process is essential and is what determines their success in the class.
Students spend hours in their spare time practicing skills that they are mastering in class. It’s a chance for students to pursue their interests and ideas and questions with the hopes that they grow into lifelong learners. Juliani uses the term “scratch your itch” to describe the seemingly serendipitous way that passion projects go from a waste of time to a unique opportunity. This is what happens when you geek out on a design podcast episode that you find fascinating only to realize that the lessons learned become the stories you incorporate into your history class.
Creating LIfe-long learners – The goal of genius hour is to create a love for learning. Encouraging students to further develop their passions may even unlock a future career path. Genius hour is like giving students a magical key that opens up a door to a world that has never been seen before.
You should also give them ground rules to help them stay focused – though this type of lesson is inherently more casual, general rules such as keeping the noise level down should still apply. The research aspect of genius hour ensures that students develop their skills in finding relevant, reliable sources and evaluating the information given by them. It is always important to find ways to make learning exciting, as well as giving students opportunities to explore their own passions and demonstrate creativity.