Genius Hour and Student Clubs? Hmm…

I had been meaning to introduce book clubs to my class, but I just hadn’t gotten around to it. This year I wanted them to be an option for students during independent reading time rather than formal literature circles, and I needed to plan.

On Monday, one of my students — a student I have been wanting to engage more fully in class — asked if she could start a book club. Are you kidding me? That’s awesome! Of course!

The next day, she spent most of her Genius Hour considering logistics and inviting classmates to join. She made a special point of trying to include everyone, especially students who aren’t usually that into reading. It. Was. Amazing.

And then I made a mistake. Another student asked if he could start a club too — a board game club. I said a board game club would be great to pursue after school, but during class we’d stick to Genius Hour and book clubs. Wow. Way to think inside the box. Because when students spontaneously want to share their enthusiasm with other, that’s something I should definitely put a stop to, right? What am I doing, channeling Professor Umbridge? 😐

So I’m rethinking. If I allow a board game club and others (there were whispers about a writing club — how awesome is that?), two issues come to mind right away:

  1. How to keep students accountable for learning
  2. When to give them time for meetings

Both problems can be solved if student clubs meet during Genius Hour and work toward completing Genius Hour projects. A club could do a joint project, or club meetings could be a time when students working on separate projects could support one another. For example, board game club members could meet and talk about the games they’re creating individually. The focus would be on learning something, making something, and teaching or benefitting others, keeping clubs aligned to our Genius Hour goals.

What do you think? If you’re a Genius Hour teacher, has this come up in your classroom? Would you be willing to try it? What parameters would you set?

Thanks for your input if you have it, and DFTBA!


2 thoughts on “Genius Hour and Student Clubs? Hmm…

  1. It looks like you’ve already got some ideas… I’d pitch them to the kids and see what they think. As for time… I’d either allow the clubs to meet during GH time (as that seems to be their current passion), or have them in during lunch or after school one day a week. A question for you – Why do you need to “keep students accountable for learning” ? As they read or create, they are naturally going to learn. How about asking them to set a goal for themselves at the beginning of each time slot, and then reflect on what they’ve accomplished by the end? Perhaps they move the goal to the end of their time together so they can be ready for the next time. I think putting the “accountability” on them is valuable. Good luck with anything you do to give this time to students! 🙂


    • Thanks, Joy! In my mind, students stating a goal and tracking it during meetings is plenty of accountability. I agree that learning naturally happens as they read or create, and isn’t that the best kind of learning?

      The students have decided to meet during independent reading time (book club) and Genius Hour (board game club and writing club). Each group has a goal to start with.

      It’s so exciting to watch this type of thing grow spontaneously. I can’t wait to see what happens next!


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