My kids have been doing something similar to Genius Hour and 20% time for several years. We have used a variety of names, but have settled on P-Day. The P stands for Passion. Here is a video I show to introduce it:
And here is how I used the video this year—>http://goo.gl/FfvgBD
They spend each Friday of a five day week researching and creating a presentation for the class on their passion. To make it school system legal, everyone connects it to 19th Century US history. This year we are going to change how the kids share their love with their classmates. We are going to take two days in June to stop all classes and let the kids take over. They will have the choice of 10, 15, 20, or 45 minute time slots. Instead of presenting to their individual social studies class the students will be able to go to whatever sessions the choose. They will know the schedule of when and where everyone is presenting, and will be able to control what they learn about on those two days. The challenge I was having was to share with each kid on the team what their 100 choices would be–I was looking for something more than a short description on a session board or handout. Using and app called Vimily they recorded a 30 second elevator pitch to share with the team. A couple weeks before the presentations the kids will hop on a computer and watch as many as they would like to help them select which sessions to attend. At the bottom of another post I wrote you can see a different way we used Vimily. Their 30 second “elevator pitches” for their sessions are below. Many kids have already switched topics since recording theirs so not all are up and ready but you can get a taste for what the two days will be like by listening to some below. Which one would you like to attend? Click on a kid to hear their pitch.