Genius Hour

The Goal: To give students an opportunity to pursue what they have learned about themselves from their Indigo Report and create something that is uniquely their own. This activity can also inform the school as a whole about additional programs students would like to participate in and community centered projects that could be incorporated into the school.

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  • Summary Page of the Indigo Report

Note: This exercise is a commitment. We suggest waiting until the start of a new semester and giving serious thought on how to structure this. This is for teachers who are looking to push for serious exploration and growth over the course of months.

Step 1: Students will take one or two class periods to brainstorm on what their “Genius Project” should be. Ideas should vary and be very specific to the individual. Examples of great ideas: starting and growing a new club at school for people interested in coding or investing, building a business, planning a school-wide volunteering day, writing and producing a one-act show for students, leading a full-fledged fundraiser for an initiative that they care about, managing all of the school’s social media initiatives, learning to build a website from scratch, working on a massive art project or performance, etc. Their passion project should be tied to their top 1-2 Motivators so have them start brainstorming for ideas by looking at their top 1-2 Motivators on their Indigo Summary Page.

Step 2: Students will write a one-page proposal for their teacher to approve their Genius Project. The proposal should explain the overall project scope and also how it fits the student’s top 1-2 Indigo Motivators. They should also talk about how they plan to utilize their top 5 skills from their Indigo Summary Page to execute their project.

Feel free to push back against proposals when you think students are playing too safe or not selecting things that fit their genius. It may be an open-ended project, but hold them accountable to picking a project that fits and is sufficiently challenging.

Step 3: Give students one or two hours a week to pursue their project in class. This project can be as long or as short as you would like it to be, but the sweet spot is 15-20 hours—enough time for students to develop serious projects with a large scope of work. You can delegate some of those hours to out-of-class time by converting part of the project into homework, but remember this exercise is meant to reflect Google’s model of in-the-office / in-the-class innovation time.

Step 4: Have students present the end results of their project. This can be in any form you choose—presentation, essay, collage, video, website, et cetera—so long as it is made clear that the results should reflect a student’s true genius and genuine effort. In their final presentation of the project, students should also demonstrate how the project tied in to their top 1-2 Motivators and how they used their top 5 skills to successfully carry out the project. 

Optional Add-On One: To develop “Self-Management” and “Planning and Organizing” skills, have students submit a proposal about how they plan to manage their time over the course of this project and define the different tasks they must complete before the project is considered complete. Essentially, once proposals for projects have been approved, you will ask students to submit a detailed plan of how they will carry their project out and manage their own time over the allotted time. Once you have approved the initial proposal and the detailed plan, students can begin!

Optional Add-On Two: To develop “Goal Orientation”, have students draft weekly goals for where they want their project to be at each checkpoint. Promote short-term, simple goals focused on progression to maintain the aura of a no-fail environment. Consider even doing a mid-project check in to further emphasize the importance of structuring goals. You may also have students establish 2-3 big picture long-term goals for their project. That way, they are pursuing weekly goals that are tangible and will ensure progress while also chasing a bigger picture goal for their project.

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