Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Genius Hour & PBL !

Genius Hour & PBL

Oh Oh Oh!
 Pick me!
 Pick ME!
Insert cute little smile here
Hand is raised

"Yes? Maria?"
I want to do a speech on Ghosts!

Teacher looking straight at me with a straight face.

"Ghosts are not real. Pick something real".

This conversation sent me on a whirl wind. So many thoughts running through my mind as a young ten year old girl.  Although this conversation was about a speech topic it really resounded with me. I had so many questions! I had to choose something else though because according to the teacher "Ghosts are not real". (Ten year old me wanted to shout out- How do you know?!)

In that moment a little spark was snuffed. She didn't mean to. She was trying to help me find an appropriate speech topic (according to ?). This is why Genius Hour is one of my favourite trends in education right now.

Two years ago I stumbled across the topic accidentally via twitter. There were no resources out there available. I didn't know anyone else who was doing it.  Yet, I was so intrigued. At the time I taught a classroom full of teenage boys who were interested in all sorts of topics that quite frankly I didn't know much about. If they were given the time to research these or other hidden interests would they learn or would it be a goof off period? Read about how I introduced it here.  Not only was it not a goof off period but became a desired part of class time. Here is the kicker....students were learning!

Benefits of Genius Hour?

1. Student engagement was high! They couldn't wait for their 20% time.
2. Students were critically examining the websites/resources they were using for their research
3. Students were genuinely interested in what other students were doing.
4. Students explored new ways to present their information
5. Students were learning at their own pace about topics that interested them.

Genius hour goes hand in hand with PBL. Exploring concepts & topics through problem based learning makes the learning more genuine, authentic and valid. I plan to do more PBL this year as well as continue to implement Genius Hour.
 I already am looking forward to our Genius Hour Expo that will occur in the spring! Read about that here.

If you want more resources for Genius Hour check out the live binder here by @JoyKirr
(Thanks Joy!) or check out the website by @iamkesler. (Thanks Chris).

What trend are you interested in right now in education? 


  1. I really want to know what your ghost project would have been. If you're doing Genius Hour for your kids this year, you should totally work on a project yourself. Do it about ghosts.

  2. An idea to lead by example! I am going to do a project on ghosts now! Model and share too! The kids would get a kick out of that I am sure.


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