Genius Hour at Pentucket

Genius Hour at Pentucket

Tia Zanardi, Writer

Genius Hour: a project that in some cases can be seen as an exciting opportunity that allows one to express their own passions. In other cases, students dread having to work on it.

According to, Genius Hour is defined as “a movement that allows students to explore their own passions and encourages creativity in the classroom.” A number of English classes at Pentucket has been introduced to Genius Hour for the first time ever this year, and there are conflicting attitudes towards the new, engaging project.

Genius Hour is worked on every Friday for most of the class period. Students get this time to work on achieving any aspects of their project and do whatever they would like in order to progress in this long term activity. This work time is where the name “Genius Hour” came from, because students are supposed to work on their project for at least an hour every week in class.

At Pentucket, students were told to draw from their inner creativity and passions to create a project idea, which may be considered a very broad starting point. With only few guidelines, the students had full control over what they wanted to do.

The guidelines included were: create a blog; name the project in the form of a question (for example, “How can I help students become better test takers?”); create a pitch that will be shown to the student’s classmates in order for the student to get more guidance; research a topic; and create a final project that is presented in any way that shows what the student’s project was and what he or she did.

Whether a student likes the new Genius Hour project or not depends on their preference on how they work and create projects. Some students feel they need the guidelines in order to create a good, well presented project, and other students like the freedom they have to be creative and do their own interesting project, different from the rest.

Ivy Detjens, a sophomore and one of Mrs. Treado’s students, commented on the project: “I mean it’s not awful, but I don’t really like it because it’s hard to think of a topic and you don’t really know what the guidelines, are I guess because you can just pick whatever you want.”

However, another sophomore student, Annika Ellis, disagrees and said she likes all the freedom she had for the project. “I actually really like this project because I sometimes have a hard time putting effort into my work, especially if I don’t care about it. Why should I try?  But this is something I actually want to do, and I’m doing it to benefit other people and not just to get a good grade,” Annika Ellis, also a student of Mrs. Treado’s, said.

Annika then went on to talk about her personal Genius Hour project about girls in Africa who want to go to school and live normal lives. Annika is going to have a watch drive as a part of her project, because after researching and having already experienced a

program including these girls from Africa, she knows that all they want are watches. Annika took the drive from her passion with working with these girls from Africa and put it towards a school project.

Not all students at Pentucket High School are doing a Genius Hour project. Audra Foster is a sophomore student at Pentucket High School who is not taking part in a Genius Hour project. She said, “I’ve just heard it’s like a project where you get to do whatever you want and work on a project of your choice about something that you’re passionate about, and I mean it would be cool to do one. If we were doing one that would be awesome, but I don’t really want to do it.”

This project can also bring extra work and pressure to students on top of the responsibilities they have now. However, some students believe this is a chance to do something they really love and want to do.

Mrs. Treado, a sophomore English teacher, said, “I came upon [Genius Hour] online; it’s a thing, I didn’t make it up. I thought that I could still have people practicing their skills of reading, writing, researching, discussing, all of those things, but doing it on a topic that they are interested in. I am hoping this is something that my students remember forever and really get something out of.”