Propose Your Genius Hour Idea
Once you have decided to move forward with a genius hour project, you’re going to need to get approval from your administration. Don’t assume that your proposal for genius hour without asking that your administration would never approve a project like this. You will need to be prepared with a list of benefits and how genius hour will positively impact students.
1. No loss of class instruction – You will need to explain right out of the gate that there will be no loss of class time by implementing a genius hour at your campus. This will undoubtedly be a principal’s first reservation about the project. I wrote a post about how to make time for genius hour. The argument can be made that by having a laser-like focus on each minute of in class instruction, that your teaching will actually improve during curriculum time.
2. Creating LIfe-long learners – The goal of genius hour is to create a love for learning. By allowing the students to learn about whatever they want, it helps them to understand that school is not just a place where they have to come and memorize facts about curriculum that they will never use in their real lives. Encouraging students to further develop their passions may even unlock a future career path. Most schools today funnel students down a standardized path of suckiness. I stole that general idea from Dave Burgess of Teach Like a Pirate fame, but it’s totally true. Genius hour is like giving students a magical key that opens up a door to a world that has never been seen before.
3. Develop relationships with students – One of the most important factors in becoming an effective teacher is to be able to develop a personal relationship with our students. When my students feel safe and fully trust me as a teacher they will follow me to the ends of the Earth. Students love genius hour projects. I am able take time to develop relationships during genius hour time that I simply don’t have the time to cultivate during the regular work week. I have seen students raise their standards of performance during my normal curriculum time because of the relationships that I have built with them during our genius hour time.
4. Teaching 21st century skills – Common core and state standards include technology integration as a skill that students should learn and possess. Although technology is not required for genius hour, I have found that many students choose to create their final projects with technology that is not taught in the classroom. They are almost all using technology to research their project as well. Genius hour is a huge opportunity to introduce new technology skills to the students. The students also teach me technology that I may not know about during this time also. It’s a win-win for both of us.
The key to a successful genius hour proposal is to be prepared with all of the positive outcomes from a genius hour project.