Introducing Genius Hour (Passion Based Inquiry Projects)

October 3rd was our last #geniushour chat (click here to learn more about Genius Hour) on twitter.
We had a fantastic conversation and some great ideas were shared.   Since that chat (click here to see all archived chats), I have had a few more people ask me about how to introduce Genius Hour.  So I thought I would compile a list of all the wonderful strategies that were discussed.

Here it goes…

  • Danielle Porte tweeted about doing a guided Genius Hour to start her class off this year.  I love this idea!  What a fantastic way to be able to model the inquiry process for your class!
  • Similarly, Katy Gartside tweeted, “this week they are brainstorming ideas with parents for their indiv proj. Then we’ll share, post on wall & they can add ideas” Then they did a group project.  I love how she involved the parents into the process!
  • Robyn Thiessen’s students have passion portfolios and they store their thoughts and ideas for Genius Hour in them! She introduced inquiry to her young students (yes, it can be done in primary!) through ME projects (delving into topics like what are your values and what are you not...I just love that this is with grades 3s and 4s).
  • Denise Krebs‘ students are researching and presenting their Genius Hour plan before they begin their actual projects. Denise also put together this Genius Hour creativity rubric that students use to show their growth
  • Joy Kirr gets her students into the inquiry process by asking them to think not only about what they wonder about, but also to reflect on what really bothers them!  What a fabulous way to get students to start thinking.
  • Katrina Ling tweeted, “I set up a wonder wall too for #geniushour, we watched videos and brainstormed ideas. There are some kids invention videos from Ellen show.” Watching videos is a great hook!  Kids love to see what others have done and it gets them thinking hey I could do that. 
  • Hugh McDonald also shared how he likes to introduce Genius Hour with YouTube videos that inspire curiosity and talk about Genius.  Some videos he uses are:
This year, Hugh and I introduced Genius Hour together.  We showed our students the above videos, got them thinking about their passions and wonders and, finally, we modelled it. We both spent some time on a weekend creating our own little Genius Hour projects.  Neither of us had ever made a movie using iMovie for iPads and it was something we wanted to learn more about, so we both learned how and created a short iMovie each.  Perfect for sharing a little of our lives with our students and for modeling the inquiry process!
I am sure there are many more ideas out there from other great teachers about how to introduce Genius Hour.
How do you get students ready for Genius Hour/Inquiry Projects?

This post was first published at

About Gallit Zvi

Teacher for SD36, Faculty Associate at SFU. I love learning. #geniushour chat co-moderator (see for details) I blog at I tweet from @gallit_z
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12 Responses to Introducing Genius Hour (Passion Based Inquiry Projects)

  1. kristen says:

    I love this idea! I teach grade 5 at a PYP international school in Japan. Several years ago, we started having students explore their passions as part of our grade 5 culminating project–Exhibition. It’s worked great. Students are energized and excited, and it’s gets them thinking. We’ve involved the parents as well, and it’s been good to hear them talk about their passion and passions they’ve forgotten. It would be great to see this kind of learning everywhere. I’ll keep following.


  2. I especially loved the clip “where do good ideas come from. I often wonder how come the connections and ideas from connected educators come just at the right time as I am thinking through something. It is through others that I see possibilities links and patterns. Thanks for this . Came just at the right time!


  3. rolat2 says:

    Thank you for sharing the Genius Hour. I always wondered how to introduce wondering of their own than just through the curriculum. I am going to try Genius hours. I will introduce the videos, get their input. I like the idea of guided Genius Hours. I am hoping to join the chat in Nov. Thanks.


  4. Gallit Zvi says:

    I look forward to “chatting” in November!
    The #geniushour chat is on the first Wed of every month at 6 pm Pacific/9 pm Eastern


  5. Jas says:

    Thank you for putting all these clips and resources in one place. I’m excited to do this in January and I look forward the to November chat. Do the kids set a different criteria for each individual project or do you use the creativity rubric?


  6. Pingback: Genius/Passion Hour Part I | Solid Ground

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