Posted in Creative Lesson Plan Ideas

Genius Hour

Image result for genius hour
This is my idea for implementing a Genius Hour lesson for the end of the year for my  class…

I discovered the Genius Hour idea while taking a course at National University to get my Multiple Subject Teaching Credential with a Masters in Educational Technology. The idea of creating a Genius Hour in any classroom is well worth the time and effort for the rewards your students will come away with after this experience. The incorporation of this idea into the classroom can be an amazingly powerful tool to expand a child’s learning beyond the classroom. Having something they can research and create independently can excite and encourage students to learn on their own. The big concern with activities like the Genius Hour in the classroom is the ability to lose control of the students because they are all working on completely different activities all at the same time. In the “What is Genius Hour?” article Mrs. Kirr implements a one-on-one weekly discussion on the Genius Hour project to ensure students are utilizing this time to develop and learn more about what they are passionate about. I think this is a great way to help guide the students as they self discover. It’s important that as teachers we assume the role as a guide during this time to ensure the purity of the thoughts and ideas the students have. We want to encourage and praise the amazing work and effort they are putting into their Genius Hour assignments. Their work is so important to them that they hate to miss out on Genius Hour time. Check out this CNN article about a young girl who was devastated about missing school due to snow days. The response to this lesson idea from the students is touching and it’s amazing to see them so engaged and excited about something in school. The Genius Hour idea is a true eye opener to the extremely positive effect that student led instruction can have.

Some classrooms are adopting "genius hour" time -- inspired by Google's 20% time idea -- to allow students to pursue passion projects. But how do students spend their time?<br />Here, fourth grader Mushkale Uppal collaborated with friends to build a robot for genius hour in Robyn Thiessen's class at Green Timbers Elementary in Surrey, British Columbia. "It opened up my creative side," he said. After finishing fourth grade and leaving Thiessen's class in 2013, Mushkale and another student successfully started an after-school genius hour program.

I am excited to see if I can implement this Genius Hour practice into my future classroom! The following is a lesson plan idea I have created in order to implement the Genius Hour into a 4th grade blended learning classroom.


Common Core California State Standard

The Genius Hour platform has an amazing amount of potential to meet so many common core standards for the students and the lessons are a brilliant way to meet Common Core standards’ 4 C’s – Communication, Collaboration, Creativity and Critical Thinking. Here are the key standards to be met by students during this lesson plan.


Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 4 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.


Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.


Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.


Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

The Task


Over a six-week period students will work on individualized projects based on a personal passion or curiosity. One of the most challenging attributes of this project is the student’s ability to choose a topic they are passionate about. This is also the most important aspect of the project because without passion the student will not have the drive needed to learn and actively explore during Genius Hour sessions. To get things moving a Genius Hour pitching time activity will be done at the beginning of the project.


Pitching Time is a collaborative activity where students will actively brainstorm ideas with the teacher and the class. These ideas will be pitched and placed up onto the white board as Genius Hour project ideas. A timer will be set for 15 minutes and ideas will be flung onto the idea board. At the end of the pitching time activity students will be asked to sit and think about the shared ideas as well as any other thoughts they might have for their own project. Students will work independently for the remaining hour on forming the start of their idea. They will write down what that idea is and why they chose it. The teacher will walk the room and work with students’ one-on-one to make sure students ideas are concrete and substantial enough to work through over several weeks. The teacher will also help any students struggling with finding their passion by encouraging self-reflection on things that interest them or things they want to learn more about. 


Benchmarks will be set throughout the 6-week project and items will be due for assessment at these times. These benchmarks will occur every 2 weeks with the final benchmark being a classroom presentation at week 6. During week 2 students will turn in a video pitch of their idea and during week 4 students will be asked to provide a book or journal for which they guide their research on. These journals will be something the students keep and work on throughout their projects. I want them to use it to write and record their thoughts and findings. They will also be encouraged to draw pictures or cut and paste in images they find during their research.


Genius Hour Power Presentation will be the final activity and assessment for the Genius Hour project. Students will be given the freedom to choose their own platform to present on. This can be anything that inspires them to show off their findings. Ideas include a TED talk, Glogster, PowerPoint, poster, PowToon, or blog.


– Chrome Books

– PowerPoint

– Glogster Account

– Video Camera or other recording device

– Journals

– Pencils

– Markers

– Crayons

– Manipulative Building set like Erector sets

– Edublog access for student blogging

The Process

Over six weeks each student will conduct a self passionate project based assignment on a topic of their choice. Every two weeks students will turn in deadline based assignments for which they will be graded and assessed on throughout the project. Students will be given 60 minutes each week to work on their Genius Hour projects. After the six weeks of project based learning students will present their findings to the class.

The Rubric

Genius Hour Power Presentation Rubric

Teacher Name:

Student Name:     ________________________________________







Pitch was often used and it conveyed emotions appropriately.

Pitch was often used but the emotion it conveyed sometimes did not fit the content.

Pitch was rarely used OR the emotion it conveyed often did not fit the content.

Pitch was not used to convey emotion.


Uses vocabulary appropriate for the audience. Extends audience vocabulary by defining words that might be new to most of the audience.

Uses vocabulary appropriate for the audience. Includes 1-2 words that might be new to most of the audience, but does not define them.

Uses vocabulary appropriate for the audience. Does not include any vocabulary that might be new to the audience.

Uses several (5 or more) words or phrases that are not understood by the audience.


Facial expressions and body language generate a strong interest and enthusiasm about the topic in others.

Facial expressions and body language sometimes generate a strong interest and enthusiasm about the topic in others.

Facial expressions and body language are used to try to generate enthusiasm, but seem somewhat faked.

Very little use of facial expressions or body language. Did not generate much interest in topic being presented.


Student is able to accurately answer almost all questions posed by classmates about the topic.

Student is able to accurately answer most questions posed by classmates about the topic.

Student is able to accurately answer a few questions posed by classmates about the topic.

Student is unable to accurately answer questions posed by classmates about the topic.


Shows a full understanding of the topic.

Shows a good understanding of the topic.

Shows a good understanding of parts of the topic.

Does not seem to understand the topic very well.


Student is completely prepared and has obviously rehearsed.

Student seems pretty prepared but might have needed a couple more rehearsals.

The student is somewhat prepared, but it is clear that rehearsal was lacking.

Student does not seem at all prepared to present


The power and possibilities the Genius Hour can bring into any classroom is remarkable. Using this type of lesson at the end of the school year is beneficial because the students have reached their grade level potential and it keeps them motivated even though summer is fast approaching. This project also allows them to utilize technological skills they have been using and learning throughout the year such as online researching tools and online presentation tools like Glogster and Edublog. The possibilities of what each child can research and learn about is endless and the individuality of the project allows them to grow and learn about something they are passionate about. This is a great base lesson plan to start a Genius Hour with and my hope is to learn and expand this idea as I use it in the classroom with my future students. 


Aspiring teacher who loves to work and play with children. Crafting and creating new ways to have fun with kids at home, school, or parties!

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