Thursday, March 17, 2016

Genius Hour

I first heard about Genius Hour this summer at the Colorado Educator Technology Conference I attended this summer called innedco. It is based on Google's idea of working 80% on what you need to and 20% about working on learning about and developing your passion.

THIS HAS TO BE MY FAVORITE THING I HAVE EVER TAUGHT. I feel I did very little on my part. The kids did the bulk of the work. Genius Hour is brilliant! Here is the process I took:

I researched Genius Hour like crazy. I created a Pinterest board about it. I used some blog posts an videos about it to show my students what I was looking for.

Then I found a FREE Genius Hour Work Book on TpT from a Double Dose of Dowda.

I showed the kids how to research using Kiddle. Have you kiddled? I am so thankful for this awesome FREE educational tool. Kiddle is a site that is hosted by Google. It is a kid friendly search engine. Kiddle is filtered to be kid friendly. The search summary information is streamlined, a larger print and has a picture. This makes researching so much easier with younger students.

Next I conferenced with the students individually about every two weeks to track their progress. I was also there to help if they asked for it long the way. Some students really used me as a resource and some I would only talk to at our conferences. That kind of help was my favorite because they did the entire presentation on their own and they surprised me with their knowledge.

My students were required to create a 15 minute presentation. They were to teach us something and become experts on it. We had a huge range of projects, from books to art to space and fashion design. We had iMovies, blogs and hands on demonstrations.

I recommend connecting your students with experts in their field. It is better if you have a personal connection. Two students were able to visit with a horse trainer and two students were able to interview someone who works in fashion.

Gabby Douglas and NASA did not get back to us ☹️. 

Some of the highlights for the class was the presentation on guitars. This student was able to shine as she showed use an iMovie about the different kind of guitars. Then she printed pictures of different types of guitars for the class to color. She finished her presentation with a duet with her mom.

I had a student research bionics. I was not sure about it when he told me about it. He created a very informative iMovie about bionics and how they help people.

I had a student use the hopscotch app to create video games for the students to play.

One student studied barrel racing. She created an iMovie, posters and brought in tack to show the class. I was able to connect her with a horse trainer and she visited the training facility. She videoed her experience and included it. She is taking lessons and competes in barrel racing so she was able to show a video of her riding. 

I had a student create a blog about art, paint a picture and have the class paint. 

I had a student research Gabby Douglas, present her biography, the history of gymnastics and performed a routine.

I could really go on and on. They all did wonderful. It's amazing to see what 3rd graders are capable of. 

I recommend this for any class! Please comment with any questions. 



  1. This was an awesome post. Thank you for being such a ROCKIN' teacher!
    Katie Knight
    Teacher to the Core

  2. Oh, I love this idea!!!! Thank you for sharing! I also need to remember to have my daughter use Kiddle.