Arts and Humanities, College and Career Awareness, English Language Arts
Material Type:
Unit of Study
High School, College / Upper Division
  • Career Exploration
  • ENGL 1010
  • Genius Hour
  • geniushour
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    Education Standards

    What I Want to Be When I Grow Up Genius Hour Plan

    What I Want to Be When I Grow Up Genius Hour Plan


    A sample plan for implementing a Genius Hour project in CE English 1010 to help students determine what they want to do after high school and how to achieve that.

    Preview Image: Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

    Genius Hour Plan

    Getting Started


    Name: HegartyShort Bio:CE students will explore different career and education paths that will help them accomplish their post-high school goals.
    Grade Level/Subject: CE English




    ISTE standard(s) for students covered in this unit:1. Empowered Learner3. Knowledge Constructor6. Creative Communicator
    Create a mini-lesson plan for how you will introduce inquiry and select their Genius Hour question.
    1. Students will take out a blank sheet of paper and write an answer to the following question: How do we ask questions effectively?
    1. Students will have 5 minutes to write an answer
    2. We will discuss students’ ideas and thoughts about the question for roughly 10 minutes (as long as the students want/need it)
    1. Introduce Question Formulation Technique as a four-step process
    1. Start by asking as many questions about the topic as you can
    2. Statements are okay at this point but change them to questions before step 2
    3. Categorize your questions and identify the advantages/disadvantages of the questions
    4. If a question will lead to a yes or no answer change it so it isn’t a yes or no question.
    5. Consider using a T-chart or similar visual organization method to categorize your questions
    1. Prioritize and narrow your questions
    1. Not all your questions are going to be relevant, determine which are the most relevant
    2. Write down the most important questions on a clean piece of paper and write down why they’re the most important/relevant questions for you to pursue.
    1. Students will now complete the QFT process as their first Genius Hour activity
    1. Use proximity to monitor students throughout the process.
    2. Make sure students are thinking through the process of asking and developing questions.


    If you were doing your own Genius Hour project… What would your Genius Hour question be?

    • What is the best way I can impact students through the English classroom?




    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.
    1. Start by asking students to write down all the ways they’ve conducted research before on the whiteboard - 5 minutes.
    2. Discuss the research methods students have used before and ask them how the methods were or were not successful.
      1. After discussing all of the ways students have researched before, introduce them to Utah’s Online Library
      2. Start by directing students on how to access the databases, specifically EBSCO and Gale
      3. Model a search using filters and other advanced methods of narrowing what a search identifies
      4. Introduce students to the Topic Finder search in Gale
    3. Introduce students to Google Search methods and narrowing methods
      1. Emphasize that Google Searches don’t usually turn up academic search results unless you use Google Scholar 
      2. Discuss how to determine when you should be in academic databases or in more broad, public spaces.
      3. For our initial exploration, students will probably use both but find more materials through Google or similar general search engines.
    4. Have students start their searches for resources and materials that will help them answer their questions.


    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? Exit Ticket


    Implementation and Presentations


    Make a rubric specifically for your student’s Genius Hour project. Genius Hour Rubric
    Score0 - No Evidence1 - Below Proficient2 - Approaching Proficient3 - Proficient4 - Above Proficiency
    EffortI did not participate in today’s genius hour

    I put in very little effort today

    I was a distraction to others

    I put some effort into the task today but stopped when challenges arose

    I was occasionally distracted or off-task today

    I worked on the task until it was finished completed the task even when there were difficulties and a solution was not immediately evident

    I worked hard on the task until it was completed

    I viewed difficulties and challenges as an opportunity to grow

    ProgressI did not make progress on any of the Genius Hour assignments todayI worked on the project today, but I have not made measurable progressI made some progress today, but I did not make enough progress to meet today’s scheduleI made progress on my project and am on scheduleI have made a lot of progress today and am ahead of schedule
    AchievementI did not participate in working on today’s materialsI did not meet today’s objectives or taskI met a few of the objectives or completed part of today’s taskI met the objectives of today’s lesson or completed today’s taskI exceeded the objectives or tasks for today. I am working ahead.
    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?Students can choose to demonstrate competency through Google Forms, Jam Board responses, Padlets, online discussion responses, and videos explaining the progress they’ve made during Genius Hour



    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.We will share Genius Hour projects through a Google Site dedicated to their class. This is approved under the district policies as long as access can be given to someone else in the event a teacher leaves the district.


    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?Depending on existing restrictions (we’re still suspending some activities right now because of COVID) we can incorporate:
    • Zoom calls with experts in the fields students are interested in
    • Guest speakers with expertise in helping students determine what path they want to take in life
    • Introducing students to forums, communities, and other online/asynchronous ways to talk to students/experts about their experiences.
    • Connect with other teachers who are working with students on similar projects within the district





    Now that you have completed this course, how do you plan to structure Genius Hour in your class?  Due to the AB scheduling that my school runs on I plan to structure Genius Hour as an every two weeks element of the course. This would mean that every other Friday the class would have the whole class period to work on their Genius Hour project with no other assignments scheduled for the day. Depending on the amount of time it takes students to move through their Genius Hour project this every-other-week process would continue for the whole first quarter (four designated class periods) or longer if students determine they need more time.



    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?The next steps are to set up a schedule and plans for the coming year’s classes so that the process can be implemented in the coming school year. The easiest thing will be implementing the plan itself, the hardest part will be anticipating the needs of students who haven’t even had the chance to decide to take the class yet.
    How will you allow students to reflect on their Genius Hour experience?Students will reflect on their Genius Hour experience frequently through exit tickets and self-assessment rubrics. Students will also reflect on the overall process by writing a letter to someone who wants to take the course next year about what the process was like and what they learned from the process.