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. Genius hour originated from search-engine giant, Google. Google engineers are allowed to spend 20% of their time to work on chosen pet projects with the idea that productivity increases when people work on that which interests them. This policy has worked so well that it has been reported that 50% of Google’s projects have been created during this period, such as Gmail and Google News.
This genius hour concept is now being applied in classrooms, and we implemented our Genius Hour last week. Each week, the students are provided time in the computer lab to work on a chosen passion project. In addition to doing their research, the students are blogging about their Genius Hour experience in a collaborative digital forum with seventh grade middle school students in Laura McDonell’s computer class at St. Clair Middle School. Both classes will spend several weeks researching their topics, and then they will create a product that will be used to present. My fourth graders will be building individual web sites to present their passion projects.