Have you heard of Genius Hour? If you are looking for a way to bring a little more motivation, excitement, and real learning into your classroom, Genius Hour is the answer.
Genius Hour allows your students to explore their passions. For one hour a week, they read, research, plan and design their passion projects. Students can take on any topic they are passionate about, and create a project they can share with the class, the school … the world!
I introduced Genius Hour in my classroom two weeks ago, and my students haven’t stopped talking about it. I dedicated a bulletin board space to it (well, actually a blackboard space because I’m out of bulletin board space). This is where we will post our handouts and weekly inspirations.
For our first Genius Hour, I asked my students to close their eyes and think about something they were really passionate about. I then handed out sticky notes and had them write down their passions and post them on our board. I then showed them the video from Kid President, “A Pep Talk from Kid President.”
I also showed them the video found on the Genius Hour site. That video is aimed at teachers so I wouldn’t show it in a class with younger students, but it was perfect for my grade 5/6 students and it gave them a great overview of the project.
I gave each student a folder and small notebook to keep during the duration of our project. The notebook is for all our notes – graphic organizers, written research, written plans, and a weekly reflection. The folder is to keep any sheets or printed work they have. Their excitement about this project was evident when they immediately began to decorate their folder covers.
Some of the inquiry questions my grade 5/6 students have come up with are:
- How were medieval castle walls constructed? (passion project idea: constructing a model of a castle wall)
- Can I create new dessert recipes? (passion project idea: making a cookbook)
- How do you make doll clothes? (passion project idea: a sketchbook of doll clothes and two handmade outfits)
- What was the inspiration behind the movie, Star Wars? (passion project idea: a media movie or slideshow showcasing pictures and information)
- Can I design my ideal bedroom? (passion project idea: an interior design board complete with swatches and furniture ideas, where to find or make items, and pricing options)
You can get a copy of all the handouts I have given to my students HERE and HERE
I will also be posting a weekly update on my blog: Runde’s Room (link: www.rundesroom.com).
Jennifer Runde is a teacher with twelve years of experience in the upper elementary grades. She currently has a grade 5/6 class in Ontario, Canada. She enjoys creating fun and interactive lessons that keep her students engaged in the learning process. Follow her blog, Runde’s Room, to see what she has going on in her classroom, and find some fun ideas for math, literacy, and technology that you can implement in your own class.
I found this to be VERY interesting. Thanks so much for passing this along!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Deb. :)Delete
Thank you so much for this post! I teach an accelerated 2nd grade class. The GATE teacher comes once a week. We've been struggling for some continuity and had just started investigating Genius Hour. This post is absolutely FABULOUS!! Thank you for sharing!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Cyndie. My students are SO excited about this - it's definitely brought some more passion into the classroom. :)Delete
I am sooooo starting this in January to spice up those long testing months. Can't wait. Thanks for sharing.ReplyDelete
I love this! I am going to share this with my team and see if we can find an hour a week to try this! What a great way to teach critical thinking and problem solving!ReplyDelete
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I am going to do this with my 6th graders. I always struggle for something engaging to do on Friday afternoons and this will be a great way to fill that time as well as help them find their passion! Thank you for sharing this!ReplyDelete
This is awesome! How well do you think this would work with a group of below level to on level 2nd graders?ReplyDelete
We are going to start this with our 5th graders next week! So excited to have read about it.ReplyDelete
We started our Genius Hour projects today in grade 5 in Alberta. The kids were already coming up with some really good ideas on their own! Thanks for providing Canadian content on TPT. Any ideas on sources for maps for Physical regions of Canada???ReplyDelete
This would be a great start for my new ICT club. To give the students a higher level of choice in their learning is the way to go.ReplyDelete
May I share these with the teachers in my school on my blog? Great resources!ReplyDelete
Of course! I'm sure Jen would be happy for you to share!Delete
I was planning on doing this in my class this year, however, I moved from 5th to 3rd. Would this still appropriate at this grade level?ReplyDelete
love this idea, do you have posts about other weeks?