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Igniting Student Passions through Genius Hour!

Make a copy of this presentation here.

At Fall CUE, George Garcia and I walked participants through how to guide students through self-directed projects.

Introduction to Genius Hour

In the session participants will be introduced to the genius hour concept, aka 20% Time, aka Passion Projects. This framework allows students roughly an hour per week to work on a project of their choice. Students then present their learning to their class as a culminating activity.







The Bad Idea Factory!

To get the creative juices flowing, we start with an activity called The Bad Idea Factory. This allows participants to come up with as many bad ideas for Genius Hour topics as possible. The Bad Idea Factory gives participants the freedom to just get ideas down on paper without any judgement. Sometimes these “bad” ideas lead to better ideas or the passion project itself.


Identify your Passion

Helping students find a passion is the hardest part to a Genius Hour running smoothly. Following The Bad Idea Factory, participants will then go through a questionnaire to help them identify their own passion. Our participants will go through the process of identifying their passion in the hopes that they too will participate in this 20% time so that they can understand the needs of their students. These questions can also be taken back to their classroom and used with their students.

Classroom Management

Facilitating this time is a critical piece for teachers to understand. Genius Hour does not work like a traditional classroom lesson. At all. Teachers need to be comfortable being the supporter of their students learning. They also need to understand that they are there to help guide their student’s efforts with questions that help students come to their own conclusions. That this may not be a graded activity and doesn’t have to be extremely structured to be successful. The end result of this will be students who are able to drive their own learning, and may or may not be a finished product.

Bill Selak Talks About New Podcasting Plans at Hillbrook

How do we make a difference in the world? In schools, how do our students make a difference? In this episode, I talk about why I podcast and share my own learning on social media. I also announce a new season of the Hillbrook CTE (Center for Teaching Excellence) podcast, a project I founded three years ago with the hopes of sharing the stories of Hillbrook teachers in order to change education everywhere.

  • Side note: this is my first ever mobile workflow for the podcast. I recorded using the Voice Memos app (unfortunately it recorded through my mediocre Bluetooth car speaker, but still, pretty rad). Uploaded to my website via the app FTP Client, and published through WordPress. My goal is to be able to create content quicker and share more, not make it perfect but only podcast every few months.