Panther Power Hour

Learning about your own passion

What is Panther Power Hour?

Giving kids back an hour a week to explore their passion. To learn about what interest them and makes them excited.

Where does this idea stem from?

In the book Drive it discusses the benefits of giving people back 20% of their time to let them be productive of their own choosing. It gives people ownership and develops intrinsic motivation.

This has been used by innovative companies like Fed EX and Google to develop great ideas like gmail and google hangouts.

How does it work?

After football is over, we will keep our pep rally/ rise and shine schedule and allow the kids to research any topic they choose during the last hour of the day. They will have guidelines for their research, and guidance from us. Their learning will be their own, over what ever they choose. Encourage them to choose what they are passionate about. They will then be responsible to present their project in whatever way they choose. Encourage them to seek out ways to use their learning to benefit our community. Connect them to a bigger picture.

Top ten reasons for Genius Hour (other names are 20% time, FedEx time, etc.

  1. I want to add space and time for interesting and engaging activities to my classroom, especially cross-curricular projects that don’t fit into the curriculum.
  2. I hope to create models of student-driven, project-based learning that will show parents, administrators, and others that this kind of learning really works, offers opportunities for deeper learning that meets standards, and therefore should be done more than an hour a week.
  3. My students, especially my non-traditional learners, need to see that their interests, ideas and problem-solving styles are valued and valuable.
  4. I plan to use the projects students create for Genius Hour as starting points that I can extend and incorporate into other class lessons and activities.
  5. I can’t wait to create opportunities for all students to shine, and then celebrate a wider variety of student contribution and work.
  6. My classroom needs to become a more collaborative community where ideas are shared and peer expertise is valued.
  7. I have talented student leaders who can mentor others.
  8. I want to balance a highly competitive school atmosphere where extrinsic factors such as scores and grades dominate.
  9. I believe that students need more agency over their own learning.
  10. Encouraging imagination and creativity will help my kids love school.

Top ten reasons for doing a Genius Hour doomed to failure

1. It will be an hour for me to relax while the kids have a good time.

  • 2. I was told to do it.
  • 3. It’s one less hour of lesson planning for me.
  • 4. The kids will figure out what to do. It will be magical!
  • 5. I have a full set of lesson plans and worksheets that someone else wrote for their Genius Hour that I can follow to the letter.
  • 6. It will get the kids energized so we can buckle down to real work after Genius Hour is over.
  • 7. I heard Google does it and they are tech savvy and creative, so this will make my kids tech savvy and creative.
  • 8. I can pull some kids out of Genius Hour to do extra test prep while the other kids are busy.
  • 9. Doing a Genius Hour means I don’t have to change anything else.
  • 10. All the parents think their child is a genius, so this will make parents happy.


  • Want to know more?

    We will have a meeting next Thursday after school. We will share more information and resources for Panther Power Hour.