SIS News Archive

One Question, Mrs. B . . . What on EARTH is Genius Hour?
Posted 06/11/2014 03:19PM

I am so glad you asked .  . .

What is Genius Hour?

Let’s first answer the next question . . . what are you passionate about or what do you want to learn more about?

What if I said you can learn about whatever it is you are curious about or have a passion for?

This concept origin stems from Google’s 20% which allows engineers to use 20% of their time to work on any project they want to learn more about. Studies have shown that when you allow people to work on a project that is meaningful, productivity improved.  Ideas such as Gmail have originated from Genius Hour.

So what exactly is Genius Hour? It is a concept that allows your children to explore their passions and encourages creativity within the classroom.  It provides them with skills to be an independent learner and they learn how to manage their time accordingly. It consists of one hour per week. We divide that hour across three days (20 minutes each on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays). We only have two rules for Genius Hour . . . 1. Their topic needs to be approved by the teacher and 2. They must present their findings within the specified time.

How does Genius Hour fit into academics? Starting off with our school ESLRs (Expected Student Learning Results),

  • Collaborators-Your children are collaborating with each other, sharing their ideas.
  • Independent Learners- Your child is learning how to effectively manage their time, set realistic goals, for present their projects with confidence, and are becoming experts on a topic that they are interested in.
  • Complex Thinkers- Your child is taking a question and becoming an expert and then sharing it with a specific audience.
  • Communicators- Your child is discovering how to relay their thoughts and ideas to someone in a clear and concise way so that others can understand them.
  • Global Citizens- Your child is sharing their care for others by expressing a need for global concern.


Not to mention reading, writing, math, science and social studies are also part of this as well. Your child is reading about information and researching their topic of interest. Your child is choosing a writing style to convey their ideas whether it is through a “how-to”, “persuasive writing piece”,  “a fiction story”, a “nonfiction story”, or note taking. They are taking skills they have already been taught how to do and using them for a real purpose. Some students are using math to measure how many inches something is to create their project or looking at country populations, or measuring in meters or kilometers the lay out of a piece of land is. Science and social studies are both all about inquiry and your children show this through researching, asking questions, and learning about their world.

In my 13 years as a teacher, I have never seen such enthusiasm for learning and wanting to discover more.

Living through learning,

By Amanda Blankenship Grade 2 Teacher


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Shekou International School

Early Childhood and Elementary School Mountainside Campus

Jing Shan Villas, Nanhai Blvd
Shekou, Nanshan,
Shenzhen, Guangdong 518067 PRC
Phone: 86-755-2669-3669
Fax: 86-755-2667-4099

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Welcome to Shekou International School (SIS). Established in 1988, SIS is dedicated to meeting the diverse educational needs of the expatriate community in Shenzhen and Hong Kong.


Shekou International School presently has over 800 students representing more than 40 different countries including the US, Canada, South Korea, Hong Kong, France and Germany.

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