Genius Hour Project: Career Exploration for Student's in Special Education

Genius Hour Project: Career Exploration for Student's in Special Education

Genius Hour Project

Getting Started


Name: Lacia AshtonShort Bio: This Genius Hour project will focus on student’s in special education and their IEP transition goals related to their career interests.
Grade Level/Subject: 6th-12th Grade/Special Education




ISTE standard(s) for students covered in this unit:-Empowered Learner-Knowledge Constructor-Innovative Designer-Creative Communicator
Create a mini-lesson plan for how you will introduce inquiry and select their Genius Hour question.Opener (Elevator Pitch): 1-2 Minutes“I am so excited to introduce our Genius Hour project to you all. You may be wondering, what is genius hour? Well, Genius Hour is time that you will get to spend researching, developing, and creating a presentation of your choosing on a specific career of your interest. This will support your IEP transition goals and guide your future decisions based on the information you learn during this project. You will have time in class to develop questions you want answered, conduct your research, participate in interviews/job shadowing opportunities, compile your findings, and create a presentation in a format of your choice that will be shared with your classmates. The most exciting part is that you will also present your project at your IEP meeting so your team can see the hard work you accomplished and support your goals moving forward. You will have the opportunity to receive feedback from your peers and myself along the way and you will complete exit tickets at the end of each genius hour time slot to reflect on your progress and determine what additional things you need to complete by the end of the project. I’m excited to see your creativity with this project and look forward to the variety of careers our class will research! Let’s get started with a brainstorming session on what careers you are interested in.”“I see, I think, I wonder”: 5-7 minutes Students will brainstorm careers of their interests using the “I see, I think, I wonder” technique. They will record/list careers they see around them in their community/social media/etc., they will think about careers that they find interesting to them or ones that they would like to know more about, and they will come up with 3-5 “I wonder” questions about the careers they’ve brainstormed. Review: 7-10 minutesOnce students complete the inquiry process, they will narrow down their careers to their top choice that they want to learn more about which will guide their genius hour project.


If you were doing your own Genius Hour project, what would your Genius Hour question be?“What will I need to know and be able to do if I choose to work as a ___(insert career choice___?”




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.Opener: 1-2 Minutes“Today will be reviewing different ways you can conduct research. It’s important that the resources and sites you use are reliable so that the information your gathering is accurate. You may also choose to interview someone in the career field you’ve chosen, so we will practice developing interview questions as well.”Exploration: 10-15 minutesStudents will be given the opportunity to browse a few database sites to begin compiling resources for their research using the Utah Online Library. If they find a resource they want to come back to, they will save it on a google doc to organize their project: Online Library Sources:“How to Create Interview Questions”: 10-15 minutesStudents will work through the “How to Create Interview Questions” assignments from the LiveBinder Genius Hour resource and re-write questions to make them more appropriate. The teacher will guide the discussion and work through the assignment with the class. 2-3 minutesStudents will complete the exit ticket (see below)


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?Genius Hour: Career ExplorationExit-TicketName: ________________________________Career Choice: _____________________________________________________
Date: Unacceptable (1)Needs Improvement (2)Good (3) Excellent (4)Score
 Effort-I put very little effort into the task.-I was easily distracted.-I often distracted others.-I put some effort into the task, but I stopped working when difficulties arose.-I was occasionally distracted.-I occasionally distracted others.-I worked on the task until it was completed.-I pushed myself to continue working on the task even when difficulties arose or a solution was not immediately evident.-I worked hard on the task until it was completed.-I pushed myself to continue working on the task even when difficulties arose or a solution was not immediately evident.-I viewed difficulties that arose as opportunities to strengthen my understanding. 
Achievement-I did not meet the objectives of the task or lesson.-I met a few of the objectives of the task or lesson, but did not meet others.-I met the objectives of the task or lesson.-I exceeded the objectives of the task or lesson. 
Next Steps: 
Overall Progress on Final Project:
  • 0-25% Completed (I’m in the beginning planning stage of my project)
  • 25-50% Completed (I’ve begun my research and have outlined my plan/project idea)
  • 50-75% Completed (I’m almost done with my research and have started revising my plan/project)
  • 75-100% Completed (My research is complete and I’m in the final stages of revising and finalizing my project)


Implementation and Presentations


Make a rubric specifically for your student’s Genius Hour project.Genius Hour Project Rubric
 Does Not Meet Expectations (1)Partially Meets Expectations (2)Meets Expectations (3)Exceeds Expectations (4)Score
Student was engaged and participated in all in-class genius hour sessions (submitted an “exit-ticket” at the end of each session)     
Student answered their genius hour question by conducting research, interviewing someone in the career field, and compiling their findings into a presentation     
Student created and developed an original presentation in a format of their choosing and uploaded their presentation to the class shared Google Drive     
The content of the presentation was organized in an appropriate way and used appropriate facts, relevant details, and included visuals/multimedia to support the theme/topic     
Student’s delivery of the presentation was clear and easy to understand, they spoke clearly at a reasonable pace     
Total Score:          /20
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 could submit a video/voice recording reflecting on their learning.

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.Student’s will share their Genius Hour projects with their classmates by posting them to a shared Google Drive. Students will have the opportunity to view and comment on their peers' projects. Students will also present their own projects during their annual IEP meeting which consists of a team of teachers, administrators, the student, and the student’s parent/guardian, and potentially counselors, school psychologists, social workers, etc. This will provide students with an opportunity to advocate for their future goals and interests and showcase the hard work they’ve accomplished with their project. This will also guide the team in the transition planning for the student to help them achieve their future long-range goals.


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?Due to the nature of this project being geared towards students in special education, confidentiality needs to be taken into account. So, it wouldn’t be appropriate to share students projects on a global scale, but one way that students could enhance their learning and gain real-world experiences would be to have them choose a few people in their community they are willing to share their project with and gain insight from those individual’s feedback/review of their project.






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