Genius Hour, Yay or Nay?

Nohemi Torres, Reporter

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Clip art created by GDJ

Every year the sophomore girls are assigned to do an innovative project, called Genius Hour. This project is assigned in English class and students are given the whole school year to complete it. Students have to come up with an idea and pitch it to their English class then the class decides if the idea would actually work and vote on it in a piece of paper. Mrs. Hamilton, the English teacher, is the one that decides if the idea gets approved and can be done for Genius Hour. Once the idea gets approved, students get every class period on Fridays to work on their project. As they work on the project, every week students are required to blog about their progress and any hardships that they’ve encountered.

Students were asked about how they felt in regards to the genius hour project and most of them said they liked it because it was a way where they could be creative and have time to do something that at home they don’t have the chance to do. One student said, “It offers a learning experience over a period of time instead of like a traditional project [where] you have a quick deadline… for genius hour I get to, basically, say what my own project is and I choose what I get to work on.” Another student said “I have mixed feelings about it. I do like it because I think it’s good for us to learn, you know, and do things that benefit us but then, I don’t like it because it is very time consuming and you have to put a lot of work into it.” Additionally, one student stated that this project will give students a chance to become productive on Fridays in something that they are passionate about.

For some students it was very difficult to come up with an idea that would actually be approved since it had to be an innovative project. One girl said that something she disliked about the project was, “The need for innovation. Something doesn’t always have to be innovative for the world, it can be innovative for you and change the way you see things or, just like, your skills.”

One of the student’s genius hour project research to create animated characters.

Another individual said “I don’t like the fact of having to do a blog for it because I think that as long as we just explain what we did at the end [of the project] the blog isn’t necessary but, I also understand that it’s going to show the progression of the project so it makes sense.” The rest of the students said that they disliked having to read a book in addition to doing their project.

When asked what were the benefits of this project students replied that it was a way where they gained knowledge on their project and this could later influence the career they might want to pursue in the future. Montealvo said, “It gives us a new opportunity to explore the world in a different way, [such as] going out of our boundaries and doing something new we would never thought we would do.” Furthermore, out of all the students that were interviewed most preferred to do Genius Hour over any other project because they can do it over anything that they are passionate about. However, one student said, “I get to choose the area where I want to work in but then again it’s hard to find a project that pleases Ms. Hamilton based on innovation.” In addition, students had both positive and negative feedback regarding the length of the project. Alcaraz said, “I think it’s good that we are separating everything out because, for example, I am doing how to play the piano, so that’s … going to take some time, so the time frame for it is pretty reasonable.”

Overall, Genius Hour was given positive reviews but there are some things about the project that students would like to modify. However, it is believed that the project “[Is] going to let us explore more about who we are and what our passions are, … it is really nice to get to know your true self and also de-stress yourself a little bit because you are doing something that you like…”


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Genius Hour, Yay or Nay?