Genius Hour Report

Well, today was the day! It has been three weeks since I decided to hold #geniushour with the junior highers. (I’m spelling it like the Twitter hashtag–join us by sharing on Twitter your #geniushour comments, resources, and activities.)

Over the past three weeks, I gradually introduced the students to the idea of #geniushour, and they began to let their ideas percolate. Finally, this week, I suggested students get a pretty sound idea ready. I wanted them to get right to work when it was time. I’m not sure if that was the right thing to do or not. I was surprised that about three students told me this morning that they didn’t know what they were going to do yet. That didn’t last long, though. With a little discussion, each one soon had an idea or a partner to join.

I took Nancy’s advice and allowed them to choose partners based on interests. It certainly made more sense like that. The way I initially envisioned it was to put them into random groups of three on the morning of #geniushour. The day would have been totally different that way. As it turned out, on Monday some of them had already recruited a partner and decided what supplies to bring. I hadn’t thought of supplies–time wouldn’t have allowed us to wait until #geniushour started to gather supplies.

Students and I had created this Rubric of Creativity a couple days ago, so they would be able to prepare for and later evaluate their #geniushour work. I promised them that no grades were going to be recorded for their work today, but in future #geniushours we might need to record grades. If so, I will definitely let them grade themselves using the rubric, for honest self-reflection is a characteristic of creative genius.

We had about 1.25 hours scheduled for #geniushour and we could have used more! We even dipped into our sharing time to finish up some of the videos and other presentations, so we actually went about 1.5 hours. One thing is true, #geniushour was exhausting. We were energized with learning, but we were tired afterwards.

I warned students before they started reporting that they were not to say any version of “Huh?” or “That’s not genius” or anything that remotely resembled disrespect! As soon as they started sharing, though, I could tell that it hadn’t been necessary. The students were nothing but respectful and engaged during the sharing process. They loved seeing what their classmates chose to do. We ran out of time, though, so they will finish sharing on Monday because we are now on a long holiday weekend. (Another post later on the products of their labor.)

Comments from teachers who were involved:

  • One group of kids changed their idea after re-reading the rubric.
  • They continued to talk about their project with other students after their presentation was done. They were still talking when they went into the lunchroom.
  • They were able to decide what they were going to be “learners” of instead of us.
  • I saw engagement and student-centered learning. I saw excited students holding themselves accountable! (from our principal)

6 thoughts on “Genius Hour Report

  1. Hi Denise,
    Congratulations on your first #geniushour! I am totally impressed. Your students must have loved being in charge of their learning. How often do our students get to take charge and learn about the things that they are passionate about? I loved seeing the photos of the different projects! Total engagement!

    I’d be interested in learning about the sharing piece – what kinds of questions/comments/feedback did the students give the presenters? Also, will you be surveying your students about what they would change/add/delete for the next geniushour? I’ve found that my perceptions of how projects have worked are different from the kiddos. Can’t wait to learn more about your wonderful idea!

    Thanks so much for sharing and inspiring!!! (Happy Thanksgiving!)

  2. Nancy,
    You have given me another good idea. We did not take time to do any peer review, except for informally, oohs and aahs, and a hearty round of applause. On Monday I may have them write a comment or question for each of the presenters, as I do when they give speeches in front of the class.

    Definitely, they will complete a survey! I want to find out what they learned, what they thought, how to make it better, what new ideas they have now that we’ve done it once, etc. I can’t wait to hear from them. I’ll be sure to publish the results too.

    Thanks so much for your fine suggestions! And happy Thanksgiving to you too!


  3. I love your genius hour project day with your students!

    I am planning 100 minutes of Genius with my 4 blocks of classes next week. They will have both classes to work on their Genius projects. I discussed the projects with them today and showed them some things you had on your blog. To say they are excited, is an understatement! I can’t wait to have them explore topics of their choice!

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Tia,
      I will definitely look forward to the report about your experiences with your four classes. I hope you will write about the prep work and after. We had a wonderful time, and I will be posting more after Monday as we finish reporting and self-evaluating.

      I hope you will keep using the hashtag #geniushour.


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