What is Genius Hour?

What is Genius Hour?

Genius hour is a movement that allows students to explore their own passions and encourages creativity in the classroom.  It provides students a choice in what they learn during a set period of time during school.  It’s not easy to determine where the idea was originally created, but there are at least two events that have impacted genius hour.

Genius Hour Origins

The search-engine giant, Google, allows it’s engineers to spend 20% of their time to work on any pet project that they want.  The idea is very simple.  Allow people to work on something that interests them, and productivity will go up.  Google’s policy has worked so well that it has been said that 50% of Google’s projects have been created during this creative time period.  Ever heard of Gmail or Google News?  These projects are creations by passionate developers that blossomed from their their 20-time projects.

Another origin of genius hour projects came from the book Drive by best-selling author, Daniel Pink.  In a blog post he writes about how the Google-time projects are also used in other corporations.

Each week, employees can take a Genius Hour — 60 minutes to work on new ideas or master new skills. They’ve used that precious sliver of autonomy well, coming up with a range of innovations including training tools for other branches.

Genius Hour in Education

The same genius hour principles apply in the classroom as they do in the corporate environment.  The teacher provides a set amount of time for the students to work on their passion projects.  Students are then challenged to explore something to do a project over that they want to learn about.  They spend several weeks researching the topic before they start creating a product that will be shared with the class/school/world.  Deadlines are limited and creativity is encouraged.  Throughout the process the teacher facilitates the student projects to ensure that they are on task.

There are many educators leading the way with passion projects in their classes, but much of their inspiration came from the book The Passion-Driven Classroom: A Framework for Teaching & Learning by Angela Maiers and Amy Sandoval. A.J. Juliani also wrote a recent book about Genius Hour and 20% Time in education.

Many teachers are raving about the autonomy that students are finding in their classes, including myself.  I have been leading a group of 6th graders through the genius hour process this year and it has been very rewarding to watch them learn.  A goal of every teach should be to create lifelong learners.  Genius hour projects are a huge step towards that goal.

Getting Started With Genius Hour

Want to start Genius Hour in your classroom but not sure where and how to begin? Already started Genius Hour and need a bit more guidance? A.J. Juliani hosted this 25 minute webinar to jumpstart Genius Hour in your classroom.

Watch the short video and then check the resources below that I mention in the webinar. Also, any questions you have please put in the comments section. We’ve got a fantastic community of teachers that have supported me and each other along the way!

Resources Mentioned:

Books Mentioned:

The Genius Hour Proces

Making Time for Genius Hour

Approaching Your Administration About Genius Hour

How to Introduce Genius Hour to Students

Setting Genius Hour Expectations


Follow my Current Classroom Genius Hour







11 comments on “What is Genius Hour?
  1. Genius hour is an inspiring project that keeps your brain going

  2. amieah says:

    How to make a booke

  3. ben says:

    I am really liking this project!!!! I’m in a grade 8 class in Canada and i’m doing a project on my favourite sport, Basketball. It’s fun to learn about something that you want to be in the future or something of your liking! I’m so happy my home room teacher found out about this. In the future, I suggest there should be more projects like this when a student can choose a random topic out of 1,000,000 topics, instead of a teacher giving the student a topic that the student doesn’t like or MAY have trouble in. It’s good to choose something to learn about and at the same time KNOW information about it.

  4. Delilah says:

    Genius hour is a fascinating and glorious project it allows my mind to run wild in the fields of imagination in my brain

  5. derp says:

    bless you

  6. Hope says:

    I just started genius hour and so many ideas are running through my head.

  7. Faith says:

    I’m doing genius hour in my class

  8. Luke says:

    i love GENIUS HOUR

  9. Jade Poirier says:

    this is amazing

  10. Rebecca says:

    I love Genius Hour! We’re doing it in school, and everyone loves it! A warm thank you to whoever made Genius Hour!

  11. Nane says:

    I love this website. I am doing a passion project of Genius Hour. This makes me learn better and follow my passions.:-)

8 Pings/Trackbacks for "What is Genius Hour?"
  1. […] Genius Hour is about learning about the thing you are most passionate about (for more information click here). Some of the topics that we have chosen to learn about are, the physiology of a crab, how […]

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  3. […] and accurate online research. Follow the lead of hundreds of schools nationwide who have added the Genius Hour to their curriculum where students follow school academic guidelines 80% of the time and get to […]

  4. […] and accurate online research. Follow the lead of hundreds of schools nationwide who have added the Genius Hour to their curriculum where students follow school academic guidelines 80% of the time and get to […]

  5. […] help you to stimulate students of different levels and enable them to discover their passions. With Genius Hour you can empower your students to become more creative in the classroom. It helps to the students to […]

  6. […] allows their workers 20 % of their time to work on their own projects. Chris Kesler describes it on geniushour.com web as […]

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