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Genius Hour Reviewed

For several weeks the topic of conversation in our classroom surrounded our trial of Genius Hour [1].  Students were excited about being given the time and opportunity to pursue topics of interest to them.  They LOVED the term – Student Driven Learning!

Most students had an idea right away – while others needed time to think and plan.  Some students decided to work together while others chose to work independently.  Some students would use the computer, while others would use different tools.

Our ‘hour’ began at 1:45 p.m. Students excitedly collected their supplies and went straight to work. The level of engagement was something at which to marvel.  For over an hour students were completely engrossed in their learning while they created comic strips on the computer, sewed a pillow, researched hedgehogs, experimented with volcanoes, created mazes from wood, researched a Brazilian Gospel singer, and so many other topics.

There were audible groans and moans when the bell sounded signaling the end of our school day and thus the ending of their Genius Hour.  The disbelief that the ‘hour’ was up was clear by looking at the disappointment on my students’ faces. Many had not accomplished the tasks they set out for themselves.  Many asked if they could have more time the following day.

Appreciating the students’ involvement in their learning I decided to give them some extra time the next day to ‘finish’ their Genius work. When I announced it in the morning there were fist pumps and ‘yays’!  When the time came, students again began to work diligently.

Over the next two days there was time for students to quickly share their learning with their classmates.  Students listened intently and asked thoughtful questions. At the end students all wanted to know when to expect the NEXT Genius Hour.  This makes me realize the power of allowing and trusting students to follow their interests and passion.  Success in learning!
Ideas for next Genius Hour: 

 Allow more time (one student told me she needed a “Genius Hour-Forty-five”)

Questions I’m still pondering: 

Genius Hour is here to stay! I am convinced in this first showing that students need time to pursue their interests.  I am convinced that allowing them time will further promote their curiosity.


Originally posted to Nancy Carrol’s, blog. [2]