Sunday, January 11, 2015

Genius Hour is Back!

We are always looking for ways to bring more inquiry into our classroom. We dabbled with Genius Hour at the end of the 13-14 school year, but this week we'll be incorporating into our schedule on a weekly basis.

Genius Hour is based on Google's willingness to allow their engineers to spend 20% of their time working on something that interests them. Pinterest, and the internet in general, is filled with Genius Hour ideas, but Runde's Room is a site I found to be SUPER helpful. Her ideas motivated me to get this up and running on a weekly basis. She has links to fantastic PDF's that I will be using to introduce the project. Check out her site below!
For one hour each week our students will be given time to explore, research, and learn about something they're passionate about. Our goal is to bring creativity and more inquiry into TEAM Togetherness. This will NOT be an easy task for our students, but we're confident that with hard work and perseverance they will WOW our socks off! Our Genius Hour will take place every Thursday morning, right before lunch. The first two classes will be relatively structured as we introduce the concept and brainstorm ideas, but future hours will be more student driven as they dive into research and inquiry. We haven't determined how much time we will give our students yet, but I'm sure we'll have a better idea of that once we get started.

This week I will be creating a Genius Hour board (awesome bulletin board letters on Runde's Room website) to house our passion ideas and the students will be generating ideas and sharing those thoughts with families. The students will be creating Passion Project work folders to house handouts, project notes, design ideas and weekly reflections. We bought these duo-tang folders and we'll be using the reflection form created by Jen at Runde's Room on a weekly basis. In week two the students will be getting their two inquiry questions and possible project ideas approved by a grown up (we will require parents to sign off on the inquiry questions and project ideas as well) and by week 3 they'll be ready to dive into research and inquiry!

To help organize my thoughts, introduce this new component of our class, and support the students on a weekly basis, I created a Weebly site. The website explains Genius Hour, outlines student expectations, provides a list of possible inquiry questions and passion project ideas, and gives them a list of kid-friendly research websites. I even set up a forum for students to ask each other questions, offer suggestions, and provide feedback. This is our first attempt with the "forum" feature, so I'll let you know how it goes! I love using Weebly to organize big classroom projects!  

To say I'm excited about this week Thursday is an understatement! I will admit, I am a little nervous, how can you not be when you have very little control over the students' ideas, but I am confident that our 53 students will come up with some amazing inquiry topics that they're truly passionate about!

~ Kate


  1. Thank-you SO much for the shout-out! My students LOVE genius hour - they couldn't believe I was going to let them dive into anything they wanted ... which was such motivation for them right from the start - and they were so excited when their projects began to take form - they would run up to me as soon as they saw me on yard duty in the mornings to tell me how their projects were going. I wish you the very best of luck on your genius journey.

    Runde's Room

  2. Thanks for the motivation and resources, Jen!!