Genius Hour is something that every teacher should try in their classroom. Genius Hour is a type of project-based-learning where students pursue their own passions during an hour (or so) per week during class time. Because Genius Hour integrates so many standards and can be used with all curricular areas and grade levels, it’s an amazing way to bring research, writing, and creation into your classroom. Whether you call it passion projects, 20 percent time, or Genius Hour, this type of learning is not just for the students in your classrooms! Teachers should start their own Genius Hour for their own professional and personal growth.
Model your passions.
Your students will love hearing about your interests outside of regular school stuff. Honestly, they may think you live and even sleep in your classroom, but showing your personal side can make them feel comfortable to share their own passions. For example, if you play a musical instrument, share your musical performances (in person or digitally) with your students. Want to learn a language? Share your study habits and process with your own language learners. Even if you passions don’t align with your student interests, by having your own Genius Hour project, your students will know that you are a lifelong learner, and no matter their age they should never stop learning.
Build relationships with reluctant learners.
Learning about your students passions helps you build relationships, but when they start to understand what you want to study and know more about, they can relate to you as well. In choosing a Genius Hour project for yourself, think not only what excites you, but what also will help some of your learners that struggle. If you can’t relate to their passion projects, enlist the help of another teacher in the building. If you have a student that loves to play soccer but you don’t know a goalie from a goal, introduce them to a colleague who loves the game. No matter what, make sure your own passion project is something you care about but also something some of your students will like to know about.
Hold your students (and yourself!) accountable.
When starting Genius Hour with your students, you’ll want to have reflection time and checkpoints to hold them accountable. My Genius Hour digital activities come with planning, reflection, and accountability sheets. If you have a goal you want to achieve, make it your Genius Hour! You’ll then be able to share with students how you reflect and hold yourself accountable. Seeing their teacher walk through the same steps will make them take action on their own Genius Hour projects and know what you expect.
Genius Hour can be implemented beyond K-12. Think about starting your own Genius Hour project. Whether it’s something you can implement in your classroom (like writing a book) or your own hobby or passion project (learning a musical instrument or raising money for a homeless shelter), your students will love to watch you share your own interests and passions! Teachers should start their own Genius Hour to build strong relationships and personal connections with students while modeling accountability and reflection. Share what you’ll choose for your own Genius Hour this school year!