Thursday, April 3, 2014

Reflections on Round 1 of Genius Hour

It all started with a Genius Hour pin on Pinterest. It intrigued me since I teach
in a 4th grade gifted classroom. I didn't even have time to research Genius Hour until Christmas Break. 
Once I started looking into it and learning a little bit more about it...I knew I had to implement this in my classroom. I was already doing project based learning in my classroom and had one project that had been successfully completed.  I wanted to change things up and give the students even a little more choice and also integrate inquiry into the process.  Enter in...Genius Hour! 

Throughout this whole process, I have learned a TON. The following are some 
"take-aways" from this process.

1.  It's important to front load expectations and to focus on the 4 C's(creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking.)
2.  The book "Comprehension and Collaboration: Inquiry Circles in Action" by Stephanie Harvey was a great resource and useful for mini-lessons when setting up Genius Hour. 
3.  Take time to teach students how to form a good inquiry-based question that can be heavily researched. I used Wonderopolis to help illustrate this tough concept. 
4. The option of choice is new to students and you will witness engagement like you have never seen. 
5. All students should have a chance to participate in Genius Hour.
6.  It's important to provide an avenue for students to reflect on their projects and ask for help, whether it be Google Forms, a reflection sheet, email, or conferring. 
7. Conferring with students on an ongoing basis is paramount. I use an anecdotal grid to keep track of meetings and to keep notes. 
8.  Allow choice with the products that students come up with to showcase their work. (I was amazed at the ideas-websites, books, 3-D models, movies, slideshows, etc!) 
9. Google sites, Google presentations, Google Docs, Google forms were all utilized over and over. 
10. Scatter out the presentations over a period of time(I did the month of March) so that students do not lose focus during the presentations of others. 
11. Let students collaborate with each other if it's a good fit and they are willing to work well with  each other. 
12.  Provide a rubric of expectations for the students so that they are aware of the expectations and give feedback to each student. 
13. Debrief after the projects are done and make a T-chart of things that went well and things that could be improved upon next time. 
14.  Get on Twitter and Pinterest and seek out all of the amazing resources out there about Genius Hour. There are lots of great people out there willing to help. 
15.  Start the process over again, as the momentum is strong! 

The Genius Hour bulletin board has blue post-its that state passion ideas,
yellow post-its that state product ideas,
green post-its that state what they enjoy about Genius Hour,
and purple post-it notes that state what they learned. 


  1. I love the idea of Genius Hour. Do you have a rubric that you could share for the projects?

  2. Email me at and I will email it to you. :-)

  3. This is awesome! I did Genius Hour 2 years ago for one term -- the kids loved it -- and would like to do it again. I have a split grade 3/4 class. How long do you recommend running each session? How many genius hours? I gave them a month of Fridays then a presentation day. Also, do you have any resources you would be willing to share (like rubrics). I appreciate how you've been refining with experience... Thank you in advance!

  4. This is great! Do you have a copy of your rubric that you could email me? I would really appreciate it. We started genius hour this year and the kids were pumped, but now most of them are just researching a topic or person and presenting their findings with Google slides or a prezi..

  5. Hey Megan! Thank you for writing such a great post about Genius Hour. I am a new AIG teacher and will be teaching k-5 and would like to implement this into my classroom for grades 3-5. I am very interested in any rubrics you may have just to get an idea of how you run your Genius Hour! My email is if you have the time to share! Also, what kind of materials would you say you are in need of for Genius Hour? Any response would be very helpful, I am sure. Thank you!

  6. Would love to have the rubric for grading.