Genius Hour for Teachers Guide

A Guide for Working On Your Own Innovative Project

What is Genius Hour?

How do companies like Google come up with the amazing things they do? It may be as simple as being given time to be creative and explore new options. Google is famous for its "20% Time" concept, which has been adopted by many corporate businesses. Here's how Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin describe it: "We encourage our employees, in addition to their regular projects, to spend 20% of their time working on what they think will most benefit Google. This empowers them to be more creative and innovative. Many of our significant advances have happened in this manner." Rumor has it that huge successes like Google News and Gmail were born out of time time designated to innovation.

20% Time has made its way into education, rebranded as "Genius Hour". It can be time given to teachers to research and develop new and innovative teaching practices, or can be implemented with students - giving them an hour a week to work on any project that interests and challenges them.

This course will focus on helping you complete your own Genius Hour project for professional growth. Implementing a Genius Hour with your students will take some significant preparation and thought. Therefore, it is a separate course: Student Genius Hour.

How can I use it to enhance & transform my classroom?

Every teacher has ideas and dreams of what they want to do in their classroom to make learning more engaging, authentic and permanent. And every teacher lacks time for the researching, planning and preparation it takes to make such things happen. So here's your chance.

What do you want to learn? What do you want to try with your students? Dream big; with the students as your top priority, your Genius Hour project is bound to transform your classroom.

Things to Read and Watch

What is Genius Hour? - Introduction to Genius Hour in the Classroom
A little inspiration...
A Pep Talk from Kid President to You

Genius Hour Components

1) Driving Question / Challenge / Topic

What do you want to explore, research and implement that can make your teaching more effective and drive deeper learning for students?

Your topic does not have to be your own original concept, but should be:

  • something that will benefit the students, staff or the school as a whole
  • be driven by your passions
  • be new to you as a professional

Southwest Parke staff only... When you have determined your topic, please submit it with the form below. This will officially begin your project and communicate to administrators the genius work going on in their building!

Genius Hour For Teachers - Register Your Project

Complete this form to let administrators know that you're spending time on a genius hour project and it's purpose.

2) Explore, Research and Innovate

This is the step that Genius Hour is providing you time to accomplish! Spend time exploring and researching your topic. Plan how you will carry it out. Prepare things. Organize. Innovate!

Keep a rough track of your time, as you will need to include this in your final project submission for your badge and PGP certificate.

3) Implement & Reflect

Carry out your plan as applicable to your specific project. As you do so, take notes of your reflections. What went well? What still needs work? What will you do differently next time?

4) Share

Genius Hour projects are often on-going. Your project may never reach a point when it can be called "finished". But when you've accomplished enough that you have something you can share with your colleagues, it's time to fill out the form below. We'll give you 5-60 minutes of PD time to explain what you did, why you did it, and show anything you can. The format is entirely up to you, and the length will vary greatly depending on the extent of your project. It can be as informal or formal as you'd like. After you complete the form, you’ll receive communication about when you can share your Genius Hour project. You will receive your badge and PGP certificate after your presentation. (Sorry... these are only available to Southwest Parke staff.)

Genius Hour For Teachers - Ready to Share

Fill out this form when your project is complete enough that you have something you can show/share with your colleagues.

Keep Innovating!

You can earn multiple Genius Teacher badges! What will you do next?

Rachel Porter

I'd love to support your Genius Hour project in any way I can. Contact me if I can help.