Project-based learning is a powerful method you can use in your classroom. One way to use PBL is through Genius Hour. Genius Hour is a time in your classroom where students get to explore their own questions and learning targets through research, creation, collaboration, and presentation. When students have choice and voice in what they are learning, you’ll be amazed at what they produce, no matter what their grade level! Here are 5 reasons to try Genius Hour in your classroom.
Learning about your students passions will help you get to know them better. When you build relationships with your students, they tend to buy into what you say and learning will follow! When you start with trust and teaching the whole child, core area academic content can come next. I always start the year with activities to get to know my students. This helps me guide them in developing questions about their passions when we start Genius Hour. Even taking a few minutes each day to talk about non-academic related things in your students’ lives can help build trust and strong teacher-student relationships in the classroom.
Students may work in partners, as individuals, or with small groups for Genius Hour Even if your students work on a solo project, Genius Hour uses collaboration by encouraging all students to share their passions with the group and others to give feedback. This project also encourages collaborations with other teachers and mentors (that you can help students find)! As a teacher, you may want to check out LinkedIn, Twitter, or even reach out to parents to find digital or in-person mentors to help your students with specific interests outside your expertise. Make sure that they are people that you can vet or no and trust if they are invited to meet in person with your students.
Align with standards.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “How can I have time for Genius Hour in your classroom?” How can you not have time? Even if you have a strict curriculum, Genius Hour aligns with multiple reading, literacy, writing, research, and technology standards to help your students reach their learning targets for the year. My Genius Hour digital activities also include accountability sheets so students can meet all of the expectations you set out for them.
Genius Hour is all about being creative. Each project is unique. Students can build physical projects, start businesses, create presentations using digital tools, and more. If they can imagine it, they can make it! My Genius Hour resources come with idea graphic organizers and brainstorming sheets to help your creative geniuses get inspired!
Reflect and grow.
Genius Hour is a powerful way to reflect about personal goals and learning. Many students will choose Genius Hour projects that align with their hobbies or career interests. Use the reflection sheets in my Genius Hour resources and consider taking it to the next level by having students make videos reflecting on the steps in their Genius Hour process.
Want to know how to get started with Genius Hour in your classroom? Check out the teacher guide to starting Genius Hour along with all the tools your students need for a successful Genius Hour project! Genius Hour is one of the most powerful things you can do to initiate project-based learning and passion-driven projects in your classroom. It works for all ages, and even adults can find inspiration in their own Genius Hour projects.