Well this has been a post I’ve been meaning to write for a few months now… But it’s appropriate to put it up today as we just started our second round of Genius Hour this morning! It’s going to be our project as students finish up their work for the year they can move onto Genius Hour projects.
So for starters, in case you haven’t heard of Genius Hour it is based off the Google policy of 20% time, where their employees get to work on their own projects for 20% of their work time. It is also very in line with the philosophy in the book “The Spark” in which children need time to work with their own passions in order to do the things they aren’t as passionate about.
This is a crucial part of your first Genius Hour with any age group! I was working with one of the other grade 7 teachers at my school for this and we planned the introduction together and ran it for both classes at the same time. We used the Kid President video to introduce the topic of passions and then also showed the video from the Genius Hour site to further explain it. After, we each shared an example of a project that we would be working on – Mine was to create an effective half marathon training program that fit with my lifestyle. We also shared a list of project ideas other kids have done but I’m not sure if I would do this again as I ended up having a whole group of students who did the same project and as much as it was a cool idea, I think it would have been better to see what they came up with on their own.
Most of the resources that we used came from Runde’s Room – If you have not seen this blog yet then you must go take a look!
This is the piece that everyone handles differently… I know a lot of people who go heavy on the research component for the kids Genius Hour projects. I am a bit more relaxed about this with my group. Everyone had to do some research but I also encouraged them to use their time to create something or practice a skill. We spent about 4-5 weeks on the research component as we ran into Spring Break. It was a good amount of time though because I don’t think the kids would have stayed focused that much longer and they are so excited to do another Genius Hour so I know it was a good experience overall.
I kept the presentations very informal for my class which worked well for our group. Each student talked for about a minute and then there were lots of questions. I think it would be cool for the kids to get to try each others skills, etc. next time – But we will see if we have any time!
Have you ever tried Genius Hour or Passion Projects with your class?