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A Year Of Genius Hour

My students and I just completed our first of year of implementing Genius Hour. (I am so glad my colleagues shared Genius Hour with me!)  With it, came failure to learn from and much success to celebrate!  As we closed out the school year, I asked my students to complete a quick questionnaire to help me gain some insight into their thoughts on Genius Hour.  I have looked over the results several times in the last couple of weeks to jot down some notes, make some decisions, and ultimately make next year's learning experience even better.  No names required...just grade levels. This is what I learned...

What my students liked most about Genius Hour:
Sharing their learning 
The Global Cardboard Challenge
 Freedom to make choices 
Learning from other students' projects 
Asking and answering their own questions 
They were inspired to be fearless 
Working independently 
Working in partners or groups 
Opportunity for kids to have an opinion about their learning 
Letting their imaginations run wild

The most important skill they learned:

Successfully using Google Forms
Selecting good sources
Taking good notes
Realizing that if you don't work hard, it shows in the end
Citing sources with Easybib
Working together
Becoming a better presenter
Using time wisely
Taking risks
Understanding there is more than one way to research
Stick with a good source-don't click around
Ask deep questions
Be a problem will fail and get better
Books work wonders
Tracking your learning helps you focus
Work slow and steady
Set a goal
It is hard work to be a genius
Working with friends is not the best decision

The most difficult part of Genius Hour:

Not enough time (mentioned frequently)
Understanding Easybib for the first time
Picking a topic because there is so much to know
Writing great questions
Finding a just right topic
Answering own questions
Not being distracted by others

What could you have done better during Genius Hour? 
Surround myself with quiet, hard workers
Ask better questions
Work on my presentation a little more
Read to understand and not just skim
Not talk so much
Use my time wisely
Focus on my project, not worry about at other people's projects

What would you change about Genius Hour for next year?

Nothing, it is awesome (frequently mentioned)
Establish deadlines
Give more time
Need more resources for answering questions
Less teacher talk
More creating, less note taking
Have pizza breaks :)
More group work

The kids' comments reflect our discussions throughout the year and have led me to really ponder about how to incorporate all they have suggested.  Student created tutorials will surely cut my "talk time" down, allowing for frequent collaboration and our new MakerStudio will definitely help with more creating and less note-taking.  However, I don't think we will be able to fit in many pizza breaks!


I enjoyed this post. I have been looking at providing choice boards for each grade level on science and social studies content and tie in research activities. This post let me see feedback from students and provided things to keep in mind when preparing the choice boards. Now, to look up information on Genius Hour.
Thank You for your post on Genius Hour. I particularly liked the student comments about implementation and it will provide me with things to keep in mind when preparing my "Choice Boards" for grade level activities using Web 2.0 tools and pulling in information resources.

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