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Alice Keeler

Beginner’s Guide to Genius Hour: Developing Students’ Passions

Beginner’s Guide to Genius Hour: Developing Students’ Passions

Genius Hour

Providing Opportunities for Students to Explore and Develop Their Passions Through Genius Hour

A Guest Blog Post by Marcia Carrillo @marciamentor

I am passionate about sports! I love to play sports, watch sports, coach sports, analyze sports, and learn new sports or exercises! At what age did I realize this? Probably in 6th grade, when you could find me biking, swimming, playing football in the street with all the boys, pitching a baseball in my yard, playing soccer by myself, practicing softball with my dad, shooting hoops in my driveway, skateboarding, tennis, motorcycles, archery with the support of arrow quiver, horseback riding, water and snow skiing, ice skating, roller skating, and the list goes on. I could not get enough of sports. I also became a “die-hard” fan of the NFL Raiders.


How did I develop this passion?

I truly believe it was a combination of the community, home, and school. My parents signed me up for a variety of activities within the community, bought the sporting equipment, and supported my sports driven passion. My teachers included Physical Education in our daily routine, I joined school sports teams and of course I used recess to the fullest extent. Bottom line, I had several “opportunities” to develop and explore my sports passion and this led me to getting my Physical Education Degree and credential, eventually becoming a P.E. and Biology teacher. Being competitive and athletic added to my passion of sports but who would’ve thought that providing opportunities for me to learn and play sports, would ultimately lead to making a career of it? These experiences inspire me to write this blog because I believe school is definitely a place where we can help our students find their passions, which could lead to a career, a business, or just a lifelong love for something super cool. Being aware of the #EQUITY issue with students should encourage teachers to do all they can because obviously not all families have the resources that I was so fortunate to be blessed with.

An Introduction to Genius Hour

My colleague Dot Ramirez, an Induction Mentor for the Merced Union High School District, @dot_ramirez, and I collaborated on this Genius Hour Hyperdoc to give teachers and students an introduction to “Genius Hour.” You could use this in a Professional Development to introduce Genius Hour and get teachers thinking about sharing their own passions with their students.

Please consider giving students one day a month to explore their passions.

Genius Hour

What is Genius Hour?

Principles of Genius Hour

Principles of Genius Hour

Resources in the Hyperdoc

Intro to Genius Hour
Student Genius Hour Projects

The best part of Genius Hour is getting to see the passions that students explore and the projects they create. Thanks to Francisco Hernandez, ELD Teacher at Livingston High School for sharing his students’ projects.

Here are the videos and projects. My favorite project was when the students made sandwiches and went to feed and interact with the homeless population in Merced, CA.

Genius Hour Student Projects

Marcia Carrillo @MarciaMentor is the Induction Coordinator/Mentor for the Merced Union High School District and is passionate about helping all teachers provide quality learning experiences for students.

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