Distance learning is the perfect time for your students to explore their own passions through reading, research, and project creation at home. Enter Genius Hour! Genius Hour is a time typically given during the academic school day that allows students to research and follow their wonderings and passions while learning about them. Now that students are learning from home, Genius Hour is more flexible than ever! Help parents start a Genius Hour at home for their students or even themselves!
Start your own Genius Hour project.
Before introducing Genius Hour to your students and parents, start your own Genius Hour! Start by reading the Teacher Guide to starting Genius Hour included with my Genius Hour digital activities. Model your own personal passion project that requires reading, research, and creation. An example might be learning to play an instrument, writing a book, or learning a foreign language. Really, your Genius Hour project can be anything! You’ll want to share it with students and parents so they can see an example but also to show a little bit about yourself and your own passions.
Help students brainstorm.
Host a Zoom or Google Meet session where you can help students brainstorm topics and questions for Genius Hour. With open-ended research and project-based learning projects like Genius Hour, your students may not know what questions they want to ask. Give them some time to explore ideas with you in your distance learning classroom before releasing them to work independently. This will help parents know what direction their student is headed with their Genius Hour project. Use brainstorming sheets and graphic organizers included in the Genius Hour digital activities to get started.
Make timelines flexible.
In the physical classroom, you set aside an hour or so each week to have students work on Genius Hour. The accountability sheets and reflection pages in the Genius Hour digital activities pack are ways to keep students on-track whether Genius Hour is happening in the school building or with at-home learning. However, let parents know that students should work on their Genius Hour projects whenever they can at home! The timeline can be flexible, and you can share Genius Hour as an opportunity for extension and growth during distance learning. Genius Hour shouldn’t be yet another assignment for your students to complete. Instead, it should be a unique opportunity to explore a topic or question they want to learn more about!
Parents will be excited to see everything their students will explore with Genius Hour projects in your distance learning classroom. Share these Genius Hour digital activities materials in your Google Classroom, on Seesaw, or via email with your students and parents to help fuel their passion for topics they typically don’t have time to dive into during the regular school day. The resources also include safe links to Genius Hour informational videos. Hopefully, when you return to school next year, you’ll continue to spend time allowing students to experience Genius Hour year-round!