Grant Proposal 2016: Genius Hour

Erin Gardner


I created a quick video to present my ideas and research about implementing Genius Hour in the classroom.

Genius Hour - Grant Proposal 2016


I would like to propose funds to implement Genius Hour Projects in my classroom next year. The funds will be used toward various expenses associated with creating and developing student projects. Materials needed will likely be well out of typical classroom materials we purchase for the school year. Examples of materials needed when we have done similar project-based learning activities in my classroom have been cooking and food supplies, VoiceThread and Glogster subscriptioins, video recording supplies, introductory video editing apps, Animoto, crafting supplies, etc. Subscriptions to some services I would love to use to create projects and track project progress are paid resources.

The reality of implementing a project that is completely student centered means that prior to students asking driving questions and researching, I will not know exactly what supplies are needed for each project. The range of supplies required for projects will be diverse, even maybe unusual. Purchases and necessary apps and resources (if they are paid products) will be carefully recorded and documented in order to reflect the costs associated with student projects. There have been instances where I can implement projects and “out of the box” creations with my students, but fall short at individualizing or being able to dive further into exploring something because I purchase supplies necessary on my own if I don’t have them in my classroom.


The implementation of Genius Hour will span over the course of the whole school year, in which students will be using a digital portfolio/journal to log research, findings, thoughts, and progress. I have outlined a plan as to how I would implement the projects, which will consist of several steps. The class will generate ideas and ask questions, settle on an idea, then conduct research. After researching and establishing a plan, students will begin to physically work and create their projects. A project timeline will depend on the types of projects the class develops. The final stage of implementation will be a presentation and celebration, where students will present, display, donate, or perform their work. This portion would be an ideal time to invite guests, parents, and other members of the school community to come see our student innovations and creations. If the process ends before the school year concludes, our class will concentrate on expanding further on a new hobby, researching an interest, or creating something new.


The idea of this Genius Hour or Genius Time in its simplest form will be an exciting, memorable, and fun element of their 3rd grade learning experience. The times when my students have had the chance to create and take a step “out of the box”, have been the times in which they are the most proud, enthusiastic, engaged, and excited about learning. This excitement about discovery is what I am always pursuing making a permanent and essential part of learning in my classroom, because on a day to day basis, it might not always be easy to do. I think implementing this recurring and constant element of excitement into our weeks can be done with Genius Hour. The happiness, pride, and fulfillment my students share from questioning, discovering, “doing” is the most rewarding part of being a classroom teacher.