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How Introducing a Genius Hour Can Help Kids Thrive

Genius hour is a learning technique that allows students to focus on their curiosity to learn, background knowledge, and interests. Students can get bored with everyday learning activities. The genius hour can make learning enjoyable since there is less organization, formality, and standardization.

Educators and teachers can use the genius hour as a learning model to allow students to self-direct the learning model that promotes inquiry, research, and creativity. The genius hour is learner-centered, making it enjoyable because teachers are less involved. There is no grading of projects done during the happy hour, but instead, there is an opportunity for students to research and be creative.

Guidelines for the Genius Hour

  • Students research using reliable websites, print resources, and interviews.
  • Students have to be creative by producing something digital, physical, or service-oriented.
  • Students are not graded or judged by peers. 

Reasons for Incorporating a Genius Hour in Learning

There are several reasons to incorporate genius hour into your classroom. 

1. Students Explore their Unique Interests

The genius hour is student-centered, which means the students have ownership of their class and the lesson. During the genius hour, learners can discover their hidden talents, abilities, hobbies, and interests. By having ownership of the classroom, learners can explore their leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, and verbal communication skills.

2. Encourages Creativity 

Most learners become passive learners when you manage the class, but students can generate their own ideas and explore them with a genius hour. Creativity makes learners more curious, making them fit for their future careers.

3. Builds Social Skills and Confidence 

The genius hour calls for a lot of collaboration from students, making them work together. When working together, students will be able to build their confidence and have a chance to socialize with other students. This can help them become active in other lessons, pass their exams, and achieve set targets.

When to have Genius Hour

The best time to have the genius hour is after lunch when most students are tired and in a mid-day lull. The genius hour makes students functional because they actively participate in learning. Events during a genius hour are memorable and give the learners a different perspective about various topics. 

How to Introduce a Genius Hour

Introducing a genius hour to learners should be done gradually; the more often you implement genius hour, the more effective it will be. 

For example, following several genius hour sessions, you may choose to have a sort of "fair" where students can show off what they have been working on. The displays will increase learners' confidence and help them get used to learning in an informal environment. Students can share their growing talents with classmates, encouraging other students to try something new and exciting. 

The Role You Play During a Genius Hour

Teachers and educators do not actively participate in the genius hour but only facilitate. You provide the material used during the genius hour and allow the learners to take control of the learning process. (You may need to ask for assistance for a budget or donations from families to provide supplies for your genius hour). You also set the ground rules to prevent the lesson from being too noisy, messy, or unproductive. Learners have to have a direction. Therefore, you need to guide and support the learners with the projects they independently complete. You can engage with students to empower them and support their ideas.

Your role in a genius hour is to assist students in problem-solving. You can learn from your student's behavior as you conference, coach, and help them reflect on what they are doing in a genius hour. During the genius hour, you can gauge the knowledge and skills of the learners. Don't forget to be sincere, passionate, and loving towards your students to interact and learn more.

Sample Genius Hour Projects

  • Writing poems
  • Painting
  • Creating own sport
  • Investigating different careers
  • Building a website
  • Learning a new language
  • Designing 3D models
  • Learning how to sew
  • Science experiments
  • Recipe exploration
  • Investigate periods in history

Final Thoughts

A genius hour is ideal for all students. Students are forced to learn specific standards every day while avoiding things they truly want to learn. Instead of ignoring topics or skills, a genius hour pushes students to explore their own world with the support of a teacher and classmates. Sharing what your students have learned will encourage growth and class comradery.

Written by Rosslyn Kati
Education World Contributor
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