A Definitive Guide for a Successful and Fun Genius Hour in Your Classroom
The Blue Brain Teacher Genius Hour Series has hopefully helped and inspired you to think about adding this special activity into your classroom. The benefits of improved student motivation, communication between educators and students, tackling solving real-world problems in a creative way, and improving lifelong learning skills are just a few of the benefits. If you haven’t read about what genius hour is, click here, and to read more about the benefits, click here. As the final part of the series, we will look at how we can include this in our own curriculum and ensure that each genius hour project becomes successful.
Steps on Creating a Genius Hour
Overall there are six steps when it comes to facilitating genius hour projects. Make sure to focus on the objective of letting your students figure out and design their own path of learning. This means giving as much feedback but not letting them depend on you for all the answers. The success of your genius hour depends a lot on the preparation that you put forth in getting your students ready!
Students Choosing a Topic to Focus on
During the first few sessions of this activity, ask your students to list down what topics interest them. This may include current global news to past issues within your community. Aside from that, ask what motivates them to continue working on something. That way, you can use that to motivate everyone in class to continue working on the project. Please read my articles on passion and uncovering student interest to learn more. You might want to give students some constraints on what topics are allowed.
Presenting the Passion Topic to You
After letting your students brainstorm which topic they want to focus on, the next step is to ask them to present the idea. This is when they will actually design their process, timeline and scope. Make sure that your students’ presentations should answer the following questions:
What will you learn and make?
Why do you want to learn and make this?
How will you learn and make this?
What will success look like to you?
They can make this shark tank style. Ask your students to answer all four questions in one minute for their presentation. Then you can help them tweak their idea and give constructive criticism on their pitch before letting them go full gungho on any topic!