Posted in ECI 834

Genius Hour

For the Online/Blended Course Prototype Project, I have joined a group who will be developing a course on Genius Hour. Kyle and Jorie sent out a message on google community looking for interest.  As a result, the group now consists of Adam, Danielle, Lorraine, and myself for a total of 6 members.


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What is Genius Hour?

As many of you may already know, Google allows it’s engineers to spend 20% of their time to work on a project of their choice. Simply put, when people are given the opportunity to work on something of personal interest, productivity goes up. For google, 50% of their projects have been created in this 1 hour creative time period! genius-hour-post-one_origThese same principles apply in the classroom! The teacher provides a set amount of time for students to work on a ‘passion project.

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  1. Students choose a project and receive approval by their teacher.
  2. Research their project (usually for several weeks).
  3. Present and share what they have learned.

Currently, there are many educators leading the way with passion projects in their classes, but much of their inspiration came from the book The Passion-Driven Classroom: A Framework for Teaching & Learning by Angela Maiers and Amy Sandoval. A.J. Juliani also wrote a recent book about Genius Hour and 20% Time   in education. It is no surprise that many teachers and students are raving about Genius Hour.  A great quote found in the Genius Hour website is;

 A goal of every teach should be to create lifelong learners.  Genius hour projects are a huge step towards that goal.

I am looking forward to designing ways to introduce Genius Hour to my students and to share through our group’s project.  I have some great ideas found in the Genius Hour website that I plan to implement but am also looking for any suggestions from anyone who has taught Genius Hour before.

Do you have any ideas that worked well in your classroom when you introduced/facilitated Genius Hour?

Are there any design practices that worked really well in your classroom and/or suggestions of what NOT to do?

I have facilitated Genius Hour in my classroom once before and it went very well so I am now looking for new ideas or suggestions to really engage and hook the students.

Fortunately, I am glad to see that the introduction video suggested by the website is the same video we (team teachers) used in my classroom 2 years ago.



My name is Jennifer and I am a Grade 4/5 teacher with the Regina Public School Board. I am taking my 8th class towards my Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction. EC&I 833 Foundations of Educational Technology: History, Theory, and Practice.

12 thoughts on “Genius Hour

    1. Thorough and interesting Blogg. I like that you have identified that there are inovative and engaging ways you can augment genius hour within your classroom.
      I am not a elementary school teacher so please excuse me if this is a silly question. Do all your children have the ability to adequately use these applications, are they comfortable and do you see issues implementing this across all a diverse group of different curriculums?
      I know many children today are extremely engaged in technology but there are others who have no interest or access Are there ways around this or ways to change this?


      1. I teach grade 4/5 and I find that there are always a few students who have experience with different applications. Once I identify students who have experience, they are always happy to assist and help others. They become the expert helpers for the other students and they always seem quite excited to take on the “expert” role!
        If a student feels less confident with an application, I wouldencourage them to choose something that works best for them.
        For students who do not have access to a device or Wi-Fi, then I arrange time for them to work on it at school.
        I hope that helps!
        Thank you for your questions!


  1. Hey Jen, this is in response to all your work with Genius Hour… sounds like you are flying with this initiative in your classroom! I can definitely connect with your comment regarding the opportunities that GH has with developing student engagement with their own learning, as well as the relationships that are developed between peer and students with their teacher. You make a good point that there are elements that need to be examined when taking on a new initiative and that being, “ensuring that detailed instructions are given and explained certainly helps with ensuring new pedagogy and learning runs more smoothly.” In working with teachers who implement GH in their classrooms, I’ve noticed in rooms where the framework of GH is taught (Ie: how to navigate the platforms for reflection; how to reflect; how to read information, synthesize the info, ask questions and keep building on learning…. etc) then students seem to get more out of the journey of directing their own learning. So often teachers just let kids, “do their passion projects” and then are shocked that there was little reflection. By the looks of things, you definitely are guiding students in the journey – which not only helps to nurture relationships but ensure student success.

    Anyways, thank you for sharing your journey. I apologize for my long winded response…. I love GH and what it offers for helping to truly nurture life-long learning…. and I mean that sincerely, even if is sounds a bit cliche! 🙂


    1. Thank you for your comment! I must admit, I learn some of these things by trial and error, from the research/articles read throughout this class, and from day to day teaching. I agree, the quote does explain the importance of changing your pedagogy and ensuring detailed instructions are given to really get the most benefit from GH.

      I found your Genius Hour course prototype too! It’s excellent and I really loved your introduction video! I was thinking, I could have just inserted the link to yours for our group prototype assignment and DONE! Ha ha!


  2. If I saw those two gorgeous Newfies hanging out under a tree, I would have to have sit-spell with them. They look so regal and sweet lounging there. I am so sorry that you lost the tree to the storms. Maybe you will have to replace the original umbrella for your deck and then get a second for the pups so they can still hang in the front yard taking care of the neioobhrhgod watch. : )


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