Genius Hour Tips

Student Choice

As educators we strive to inspire lead lifetime learners.  One of the greatest things that we can do as educators is teach our learners to explore their curiosities and think for themselves.  Genius hour, time for self exploration, is important.

This Tackk is intended for quick tips and suggestions for Genius Hour in the classroom.  

For more resources please visit this Smore from Timmerman.


Modeling Genius Hour will set your learners up for success.

Model student expectations during Genius Hour time, and model the process (or steps) of Genius Hour.

Expectations and Management

Here at Lakeside we do an excellent job of allowing for student directed learning opportunities.  Genius Hour is an extension of this trend.

Manage Genius Hour in the same fashion you would manage other flexible learning times.

The following two blogs give excellent advice, but it essentially comes down to the need provide structure and expectations, model, and ask learners to track their progress.  


There will be frustration - it is a part of research - and life.  Plan for and anticipate student frustration.  They may sometimes feel lost, confused, or overwhelmed.  Assure them that this is a part of the process (BECAUSE IT MOST DEFINITELY IS!) and help lead them through the frustration.

Conferencing will be essential.  Conference regularly with learners.

Check in, review their progress, discuss issues and next steps.

Conferences help the learners stay on track with their goals and path, but they also help learners navigate the difficulties and frustrations that WILL arise.


When you have modeled, conferenced, and allowed for collaboration, but learners are still struggling - reach out.  

When individual learners need extra scaffolding help, ask them to fill out one of the forms on our Symbaloo.  Lisa and I will get them the help they need.

We are here to support you.

Allow for Variety

Increased learner choice means variety.  Embrace it.

Some learners will spend the majority of their genius hour time exploring through research.  

Others may be exploring by making.  Or even experimenting.  They may practice origami folds.  Other learners may be using to learn computer code.  Some of our crafty makers might practice their knitting or crocheting.  

This is time for exploration.  

The video below showcases the creations made through a middle school genius hour.  They have a ton of great and noteworthy insights to share.   You can learn more about their Genius Hour here.