Genius Hour

I stumbled upon this concept while reading Edutopia, Why “20% Time” is Good for Schools for some “flipping classroom” work.    It brought me back to a Google visit I had a couple of years ago in Cambridge.  I remember how powerful Stephen Vinter said “20% time” was to each and every person at Google.  So why not implement it in our classroom?

What is Genius Hour?  It is giving students time to explore their passions, their questions and their creativity.  As I learned in June when many students came to me asking for their laptop as soon as possible, we already have many students who are pursuing their interests in their own time.  But why not foster that inquiry in school?

Daniel Pink defines Genius Hour in the following way, “Each week, employees [students, in our case] can take a Genius Hour — 60 minutes to work on new ideas or master new skills.” (Pink 2011).  (See Pink’s Ted Talk about motivation)

Here are some comments that educators who have tried it, made earlier this month.  Follow this link to see the impact it can make on all student learning.

Here a couple of videos that inspired me to float this idea through this post.

There are many resources out there to get you started.  I thought this was a good time to begin thinking about the possibility of adding it to your classroom sometime this year.  Let me know your thoughts.

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3 Responses to Genius Hour

  1. Thanks for the interesting post. I am intrigued by the idea, love the possibility of engaging students’ passions and giving them the opportunity to find one. Do you have examples of what this looks like in a traditional HS setting? (PS – I couldn’t get the 2nd video link to open – TMB…)

  2. mcbwayla says:

    Thanks, fixed the link in PMB video

  3. Naomi Rosenthal says:

    hi Mary,
    Thanks for this post. 20% time reminds me of my son’s middle school days where they had project day once a week. Each quarter was a different discipline and then the entire day was spent on a project…it was still teacher directed but kids had a lot of choice and could immerse themselves in the project, like building their dream house (geometry), writing a mystery, etc. It was also a nice break from the routine that was the rest of the week.
    Hope you are enjoying your summer.

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