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

Grades 9-12

In this live workshop, I share the strategy that I’ve found most makes school relevant, meaningful and challenging for my middle-school students: its something we call “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 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

Genius Hour gives kids to things to do that they care deeply about–things that are really, really hard, and that don’t have pre-determined criteria to measure success. Really incredible things can happen as a result. Students have 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.

In our first workshop session, I introduce this strategy and give you the information you need to begin to think about introducing Genius Hour for your students. You’ll have a chance to reflect about this approach and to begin to personalize the resources and practices that I know first-hand will work well for students for your own classroom. Our group will meet again on October 15th to share ideas and help fine-tune everyone’s approach to their own Genius Hour.


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