Genius Hour: Passion Projects
Genius Hour, also known as Passion Projects, encourage individuals to ask questions, pursue personal interests, research, and CREATE something to showcase their new knowledge. Genius Hour is based on a business practice developed by Google, where they encouraged their employees to work on their own passion project as long as it could potentially help the company. Genius Hour is explained thoroughly in this video from an adult perspective.
My students work on Genius Hour projects as an early finisher activity or an at home extension. I've had many students work on their research during read to self or listen to reading time as well.
Introduce Genius Hour by having students watch this video . Create a space in your room where students can post questions that they have throughout the school day. These questions should be something that they are interested in possibly answering. For example, 'Who lived in castles?' You can post "I wonder" and "I wish that..." as question stems to help students.
Students may choose a question that they asked for a Genius Hour project or one that a classmate posted. Regardless, it should be something that the student is truly interested in researching. Students will then decide how they will research their question.
Researching can be a difficult task in primary grades. Books, magazines, newspapers, documents, reference books, photos, computers, search engines, videos, and interviews all can be methods of research. Students who have difficulty reading might have trouble at this stage of a Genius Hour project. I designed a Symbaloo page specially for primary students to use for research. I'm always looking for other great websites. Feel free to message me if you have a great site to add to this Symbaloo page. You can access it by clicking HERE (Look at the items on the right side of the screen). Epic is free for educators and has a variety of nonfiction books for students to read. It also has read to me options. PebbleGo and BrainPopJr require a subscription, but are great resources as well!
After researching your students will decide what they want to create to showcase their learning. Some creation ideas include a book/magazine, skit, trifold, poster, song, collage, presentation, model, or video. There is also an option for students to explain another way they want to create something. Students must record the materials they need to create their project and submit it for teacher approval.
After your students create their projects they must decide how they will share their work. Some students might choose to present their findings in front of the class in the form of an oral presentation. Others might opt to put their work on display or to write a blog post about their findings. Regardless, having your students share their work is incredibly important! We share our Genius Hour projects on Friday afternoons. You could also share them during morning meeting time!
Genius Hour encourages students to take charge of their own learning. Do your students do Genius Hour or passion projects? I'd love to hear about your experiences!
-Ashley from Talkin Pinata Teaching