Jasper Roberts - Blog

"Genius Hour"

I've been spending the last few days developing materials to use in the new class I'm teaching this year, based off of the "Genius Hour" made famous by Google's 20% time idea. This is part of our new Content Area Extension classes, and is for students who can work independently and are intrinsically motivated and curious to learn about a variety of subjects. Students will be working alone to learn about any topic that is interesting to them, and I'm so excited to take this journey during the school year with them!

I've been doing research on this since the idea was introduced to me last year, and I'm so excited about implementing it in my classroom!

Here's a quick breakdown on how it will work in my classroom:

Every quarter (9 weeks) students will go through the following process:


At the end of the project window, students will produce a completed product. It could be an event or service to help others in the school or community. It could also be a digital project like a short film or video game. However, it can also be a presentation of information learned from a variety of topics, ranging from ideas such as “How to create a vegetable garden”, or “How the mind creates memories”.

The Proposal 
-Once the student has an idea of what project/topic they want to pursue, they begin writing the proposal. This is how they will pitch the project/topic to me and the rest of the class. 

I created a handout with questions for students to answer. 

The Blog 
Each week the student is required to write a blog post to discuss their progress. They will write about the week, what they worked on, what they learned, what challenges they faced, and what they anticipate in the future. Each blog post must be at least 150 words, or in some cases more. 

I created a handout for this as well, outlining what they should be talking about in their blogs, and they will write these on a private Weebly website. 

Everyday Work

Throughout the course, students will have at least four days during the week to work on their research and projects. Students have to manage their time and determine how much time outside of school they must devote to their project. 

Students will also learn research and technology skills during this time with quick mini-lessons done by me. 

Timeline and Assessment

At the end of each nine week period, each individual will present their final product to students.

It runs as a pass/fail class. In order to pass, students must complete all of the following: Quarterly Proposal, Weekly Blog Posts, and Final Product demonstrating the result of their research. 

If there is interest, I will upload my forms to TpT for free for a limited time, so please let me know if you would like to check them out! ***UPDATE: Here they are for free right now!***

This is my favorite resource so far that I have used, it is amazing!


  1. What a great class for the kids. Did you see this article? I am also including a link to the TED talks that the students created. Wow!

    1. Thank you! A friend sent me the kid Ted Talks and I'm so excited about those!

  2. I am interested in checking them out. My JH colleagues and I will be teaching, in addition to our content area, RTI or MTSS everyday. All students will be attending a period of this regardless of their need for intervention. So, I am very much looking into meaningful extensions for students.

  3. I am interested in checking your forms out. Thank you!

  4. I am also interested in seeing your materials. I had never heard of Genius Hour before, but after reading your blog post and exploring the link you shared, I am thinking about pitching an idea to my school's administration for the implementation of a Genius Hour next semester or next school year. I teach middle school English, and several of my students came to mind as I learned more about Genius Hour; I know that my students would thrive in that kind of classroom atmosphere!

  5. I am interested in seeing the forms. You've introduced me to a great concept; I'm actually excited about implementing this with students. I think it will be best utilized during our extended literacy time.

  6. I learned about Genius Hour last summer and implemented it this past school year. I loved it. It definitely requires a good bit of front loading for students when it comes to planning, time/project management, learning about creativity and where ideas come from and especially inspiration. Each week at some point I showed students a video of Genius Hour projects other students had done, creative people, fun and creative videos, etc. YouTube, Genius Hour teacher blogs and the LiveBinder you linked to were so helpful with that. One other thing that requires attention and can take some time figuring out what works best - keeping students engaged and on task during Genius Hour time. Some students have a tough time with the wide open options they have (overwhelming to them) and others see it as "free-time". Blogging each week definitely helps (I gave my students specific questions and had the rate their effort for the week). I allowed some students to work together if they shared enough in their proposal. I also gave no grade on the final product (process and what they learned was more important). I graded their effort (blogging, on task, presentation, etc.).

    1. Awesome! Thanks for all of the suggestions and tips! :)

  7. I'm out tomorrow night with a friend and leaving for NYC on Sunday, but hopefully I can get those uploaded on Saturday! :)

  8. They are up and free right now!

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Thanks for stopping by! JW