Using Genius Hour to make school relevant, meaningful, and challenging for her students.

“As a teacher, I feel it’s my job to bridge the world outside the classroom and all that holds my students’ interests, and their academic world.

“I began designing activities that harvest their talents and passions and then build their interests into assignments and projects aligned to standards. Then I discovered Genius Hour: seventeen hours per semester of time devoted to big, complex, and interest-based projects driven by students’ own interests. These projects super-charge student’s passion for learning and make school relevant and more connected to their real life.

“Genius Hour gives kids to things to do that they care deeply about, that are really, really hard, and that don’t have pre-determined criteria to measure success. Really incredible things can happen when you give students: autonomy and control over the way they learn and what they learn; a purpose that matters to them and has value in their lives, and the ability to master the path by which they acquire and share what they learn.

“Genius Hour is a significant commitment for students, and for their teachers. But if we want capable kids who can do things and solve problems, we should be sure to put them at the center of their learning.”

Rebecca Mieliwocki

Rebecca Mieliwocki is the 2012 California and National Teacher of the Year. She was 
chosen from a group of 54 state teachers of 
the year to represent America’s 3.2 million
 public school teachers in a year of travel, speaking, and advocacy that ... Full Bio