Elementary English Language Arts
Material Type:
Activity/Lab, Lesson Plan
Upper Elementary
  • 6th Grade
  • Genius Hour
  • Passion Project
  • Project
  • Research
  • geniushour
  • License:
    Creative Commons Attribution
    Media Formats:
    Downloadable docs

    Education Standards

    Genius Hour Introduction & Plan

    Genius Hour Introduction & Plan


    Students should have autonomy in their learning and be given the opportunity to light their interest in learning about something that intrigues them. At times they don't know how to start this process or to do it effectively to find their answers. In this Genius Hour Introduction and Plan students will learn how to research, find answers and create a project that they can share with others to share what they learned while taking autonomy in their learning. 


    Thumbnail image link website. 

    Genius Hour Plan

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    Getting Started


    Name: RAShort Bio: Students should have autonomy in their learning and be given the opportunity to light their interest in learning about something that intrigues them. At times they don't know how to start this process or to do it effectively to find their answers. In this Genius Hour Introduction and Plan students will learn how to research, find answers and create a project that they can share with others to share what they learned while taking autonomy in their learning. 
    Grade Level/Subject: 6th




    ISTE standard(s) for students covered in this unit:
    1. Empowered Learner
    2. Digital Citizen
    3. Knowledge Constructor
    Create a mini-lesson plan for how you will introduce inquiry and select their Genius Hour question.Each student will be given a piece of paper that they will split into 4ths. Students will be presented with the following questions or tasks to complete on their paper. In 3 of the boxes list one thing that you are passionate about. (The word passionate may be difficult for students to identify, so the term may be switched to like or enjoy.) Underneath the item or topic that you are passionate about list one thing that you know about it. Then list one question that you have about that item or topic. In the last column list one thing that you would like to learn more about. Then write one question that you would like answered about the subject or content that you listed. After students finish each column I would have them star which one they are most intrigued about and would like to pursue. From the brainstorm, students will start to form a genius hour project around the topic and question that they want to learn more and research about. I will complete this alongside students and choose subjects that may be of uninterest to students so that they don’t just write down what I am writing but think on their own.


    If you were doing your own Genius Hour project… What would your Genius Hour question be? How do you can peaches? How long does a canned item stay good for when it is canned at home? Is it money conscientious if I have to buy the materials, or is it better to just buy them from the store?




    Create your mini-lesson plan on how you intend to teach research and what databases and other resources your students will use. Be sure to include how you will hold students accountable for research during this time.Students have prior been taught how to utilize Utah’s Online Library and specifically Gale in Context/EBSCO. Other resources include the librarian. To teach how to research and databases to use. Students will participate in a commonsense media lesson that is linked here. Students will learn how to find credible sources on the internet to help them with their own research on their Genius Hour Project.


    How will you be checking in on your student’s progress? What will your daily/weekly exit ticket/stand-up meeting ask of your students?To check in on student’s progress they will participate in standing meetings each week with peers or in a one on one standing meeting with me so I am informed of where they are at with their project and the direction they are headed. The meetings with me will take place biweekly, due to the number of students in my class. At the end of each Genius Hour students will fill out the exit ticket Google Sheets form as well as throughout their time working on their project for their day. They will update what they have accomplished in a certain amount of time allotted, what they want to accomplish that day and what they want to accomplish by the next time for Genius Hour.

    Implementation and Presentations


    Make a rubric specifically for your student’s Genius Hour project.Students have a Genius Hour question that they are able to research. Students have completed the exit ticket and check in google sheet each genius hour meeting. Students participate in standing meetings dn talk about struggles, success and goals for each meeting. Students meet with Mrs. Anderson to talk about the project and goals towards the end.
    ISTE Standard for Educator 7a is “Provide alternative ways for students to demonstrate competency and reflect on their learning using technology”. How could you incorporate this into Genius Hour?Depending on what the end goal an educator has in mind for a Genius Hour, using technology to show competency and reflection of a genius hour project would be to have them create what they’d like. Maybe a video, infographic, slideshow, stop and go animation, etc. This would be more of the competency piece of Genius Hour. When it comes to reflection though there are so many apps or resources that one could have their students use. Flipgrid, nearpod, google form, exit ticket, padlet, etc. The opportunities are limitless to give students this opportunity to utilize technology in their Genius Hour time frames.



    Community Sharing


    Describe how your students will share their Genius Hour projects. Be sure to take your school/district’s social media and privacy guidelines into account.Students will share their Genius Hour using our Class Dojo to send videos or pictures of their project to parents and to post on our class feed. They will record a video using flipgrid talking about their project, what they learned, etc. This link will be private for our class so other students may view the link, but will also be made available to other classes to share our Genius Hour throughout the school.


    How could you meet ISTE Standard for Educators Collaborator 4c “Use collaborative tools to expand students’ authentic, real-world learning experiences by engaging virtually with experts, teams, and students, locally and globally” with Genius Hour?To meet this ISTE standard permission could be obtained from parents to have students post their Genius Hour Project on YouTube when they complete it. Depending on a student's project and what they are learning about, the opportunity to talk with someone that is a current expert in that field would also be possible. Using microsoft, field trips and community programs this may be possible so that students can see real world experiences.





    Now that you have completed this course, how do you plan to structure Genius Hour in your class?  I plan to set aside an hour each week for students to work on their Genius Hour project. They will be encouraged to spend some time on it outside of school as well to obtain other information and resources as needed. Students will be given a 10 week period to research, brainstorm, create, and present their Genius Hour project. Each student will be given the opportunity to participate and have autonomy in their learning.



    What are your next steps? Which of those steps will come easiest? Where will the terrain become rocky? What can you do now to navigate the road ahead with the most success?Post resources to Google Classroom and use reciprocal teaching to explain to students how the different resources are utilized. The terrain will become rocky as students receive more of that autonomy. There is a concern with the age group that they will take this time as free time rather than really utilize it as a Genius Hour. I plan to slowly release the control to students and walk through their first Genius Hour Project with them step by step. In hopes by the start of second semester that they will be able to complete a Genius Hour and all of its components on their own.To navigate the road ahead with the most success, brainstorming all the possible downfalls or problems that could arise and having a game plan for if or when they do would be beneficial. For example, if a student in the middle of their project loses motivation or doesn’t want to do it anymore, how will I reignite their interest or passion for their project? One thing for this would be to have them write at the very beginning why they would like to learn more or research that topic. Keeping those papers and pulling them out for students to see at those times may be beneficial. For students who may not know how to get started or what to do next. Having some guiding questions that are generic for projects to keep them on the right track. The exit ticket/ reflection would also come in handy here.Each student will need a different scaffolding and support from me. Recognizing this and understanding where the student is at will help me to navigate this process so that each student has their own level of success with their Genius Hour project.
    How will you allow students to reflect on their Genius Hour experience?To reflect on their Genius Hour experience students will have a portion in their flipgrid video as well as talk in standing meetings about their project. I hope to allow students to present their project in a gallery walk type exhibit within my classroom. After the gallery walk, students will fill out a reflection form on their Genius Hour experience that is included here.