Click here to read the rest of this post & watch the recorded presentation on my book website, www.GeniusHourGuide.org_
On June 29, 2015 I had the pleasure of presenting at ISTE 2015. ISTE, or the International Society for Technology in Education, puts on a major conference every year. This most recent one was in Philadelphia, PA and I was so excited to be able to share my Snapshot presentation on Genius Hour there...
This is cross-posted:
Click here to read the rest of this post & watch the recorded presentation on my book website, www.GeniusHourGuide.org_
View other ISTE presentations here
This summer I taught an undergraduate course at Simon Fraser University:
EDUC 394: Cross-Curricular Connections
Over the past few years I have really worked on planning with the big ideas in mind and thinking about the cross-curricular connections that I can make so I was excited to share some of my ideas, practices I have incorporated, and the theoretical backing for this type of teaching with my students (all of them are working toward a BC teaching certificate).
Some of the themes we touched on were:
One of my favourite parts of the course was, of course, when we talked about Genius Hour!
Of course a major part of teaching Teacher-Candidates is modelling teaching while you are teaching, so what better way to learn about Genius Hour (and open-ended inquiry) then by actually doing Genius Hour, right? So that is exactly what we did! After a brief intro (much shorter than I would do with actual elementary students), we took the time to do our own Genius Hour inquiries and then shared our learning/debriefed the experience the following week. Some topics the Teacher Candidates investigated:
What is The Daily 5?
How does Roots of Empathy work and how can I teach empathy to my students?
How do I build a strong sense of community in my classroom?
How do you blog with a class that has very little technology?
How do I help build leadership capacity in my students?
What are the Zones of Regulation and how can I use them in my classroom?
How do you make a stop motion movie?
What is the difference between Faye Brownlie’s lit circles and the kind described by Harvey Daniels?
I wonder how the new curriculum will change the way teachers teach?
How do I set up a grade 1 classroom?
What does student-centred actually mean?
How is Reggio being used around the world?
How can we teach sustainability in our classrooms?
What are literature circles?
What do kids wonder (and what types of Genius Hour projects have they done?) –Lisa had a great discussion of this on hers!
How can I use different desk arrangement styles to help my students be engaged and focused in the classroom? (I am mostly focused on intermediate grades.)
How does Genius Hour work in K/1?
How do you facilitate conflict resolution between students?
How can I create a successful classroom community?
What do I do on the 1st day of school?
I wonder if schools will one day be paperless?
I wonder how to engage students who lack motivation?
Such great questions! So there you have it...Genius Hour: Not just for K-12. It works with Teacher Candidates too!
I also think that as practicing teachers we should be taking a little time each week to look into our own teaching inquiries! I loved doing my graduate diploma (a few years back) because it taught me a structured way to inquire into my practice.
These days my knew personal Genius Hour questions are focused on becoming a better writer and learning more about Reggio.
How about you? What is your question? What are you looking into these days?
Originally posted on www.geniushour.ca
By Denise Krebs and Gallit Zvi
A few years ago the two of us took a risk in our practice--we asked our students what they wanted to learn about and let them take the reins and direct their own learning. Shortly after, we began the collaborative Genius Hour website, www.geniushour.wikispaces.com, and then the monthly Twitter chat using the hashtag #geniushour. Along with our friends and fellow Genius Hour teachers, Hugh McDonald and Joy Kirr, we began to share Genius Hour with all the teachers that would listen. We are both so passionate about Genius Hour and found that it not only benefited our students but also changed everything for us!
The two of us wanted to spread the Genius Hour love with even more educators, so we decided that the next step was to write a book about Genius Hour.
We have been working on this book for a couple of years now and are really honoured that it has now gone to production by Routledge and MiddleWeb. We truly hope that it will help educators implement Genius Hour with their students. Our hope is that one day all students will have the chance to work on their own Genius Hour projects.
We are so excited to announce that The Genius Hour Guidebook: Fostering Passion, Wonder and Inquiry in the Classroom is now available for presale and will be available this Fall.
1. Sir Ken Robinson.
I love this Ted Talk and have probably watched it 20 times! The thing I don't like about it though is that he tells us about what we need in schools, that "creativity is as important as literacy and should be treated with the same status", but he doesn't give any examples as to how teachers can do that. I have an idea though-- start with Genius Hour and go from there!
If you love the talk then you should also check out his book, The Element-a great read!
2. Daniel H Pink.
Daniel Pink's book Drive is a fantastic read! I definitely recommend reading it. I think that the information he presents on what really motivates people is super helpful for thinking about motivation in our classrooms too. I also really like his RSA animate--a great video to watch before reading the book! I love what he says about autonomy as a motivator--this is why Genius Hour works--because our students have the autonomy to pick their own inquiry questions!
3. Alfie Kohn.
I am so happy that I was able to find an Alfie Kohn clip of when he was on Oprah!! I think Alfie's research is really helpful and...I love Oprah--so a double win for me (and you)! Anyway, watch this clip to hear a bit about Kohn's book Punished by Rewards. I totally agree with his point about finding authentic ways to encourage kids to learn, read, etc instead of relying on rewards. In my opinion, Genius Hour, is indeed one of those student-centred, authentic ways!
4. Angela Maiers.
Her "You Matter" Tedx Talk is fantastic! I love what she says about the power of noticing and sharing that with your students. A must-watch for teachers. This is where we got the brilliant quote "You are a genius and the world needs your contribution"--a quote that is posted in classrooms all over inspiring kids to find their passions and share with the world. And her book The Passion Based Learning is also very inspiring! We discussed her book during our #GeniusHour chat in May, 2013. You can check out the archive here.
I could go on and on about other Education videos that I love...but this is probably a good start! I hope you find these as inspirational as I did!
Also, I would love to know--what would you add? Perhaps post the link in the comments so that the rest of us can check it out!
I love using picture books as part of my teaching! And I don't think they are only for primary classrooms! In fact I use them regularly at the intermediate level and even when I teach University students.
Picture books make for great hooks at the beginning of lessons! I think they capture our attention and get us curious about the upcoming learning! And who doesn't love being read to?
So here are my Top picks (in no particular order) for Picture Books to help introduce Genius Hour:
The Most Magnificent Thing
By Ashley Spires
I love this picture book starring a little girl and her dog/assistant on her quest to create the most magnificent invention. The journey isn't perfect though and she "fails" quite a few times. I think this book is perfect for teaching persistence, risk-taking and flexibility--all traits that are on the Genius Hour rubric that we use. I would read this book right at the beginning, after I have introduced Genius Hour and we are about to get started.
Click here for The Genius Hour Creativity Rubric created by Denise Krebs.
What do you do with an Idea?
By Kobi Yamada
Perfect for taking Genius Hour from inquiry-based and passion-based learning to the level of compassion-based learning! In this story a little boy has an idea (represented as an egg) but he doesn't know what to do with it. He carries it around for a long time until he finally learns that ideas are meant to change the world. I think this picture book is perfect for teaching the creativity traits: originality of ideas, ambiguity and risk-taking--all of these are also on the Genius Hour Creativity Rubric. It would also be handy to read to your class if you feel like they are needing some fresh inspiration after doing Genius Hour for a while.
Rosie Revere, Engineer
By Andrea Beaty
Rosie is a fantastic character! She loves making things and embodies so many of the characteristics that we would attribute to Genius Hour and The Maker Movement. I also love the handkerchief that she wears, the same one as the woman in the iconic "We can do it" image. Rosie is inspired by everything around her and I think this book can be used to introduce the discussion on inquisitiveness, risk-taking and generating ideas (Again, these are traits from the Genius Hour Creativity Rubric). It also teaches an important lesson about failure and persistence.
Iggy Peck, Architect
By Andrea Beaty
This picture book looks similar to Rosie Revere, Engineer and is indeed written by the same fantastic author, Andrea Beaty and illustrated by the same talented illustrator, David Roberts. I love reading about Iggy Peck and his passion for architecture. I think this book would be great to introduce the concept of passion as well as being used to understand the intrinsic motivation trait on The Genius Hour Creativity Rubric. The book can also be used to share with students how sometimes our Genius Hour projects can be about building, creating or inventing something (helpful if your students are stuck on research-only type inquiry questions).
It's Okay to Make Mistakes
By Todd Parr
This book is fantastic! I only recently came across Todd Parr books so I have yet to use them with an audience but I just love his illustrations and his style. This picture book helps us learn that it is okay to make mistakes, and that sometimes things do not go quite the way we thought they were going to but that is part of trying new things! "It's okay to make mistakes sometimes. Everyone does, even grown ups! That's how we learn." Exactly! And this is an important thing to learn if we are going to do Genius Hour. I would use this book to talk about risk-taking and self-reflection: two of the many traits on The Genius Hour Creativity Rubric. I would also connect this book to everything we do at school and probably use it right at the beginning of the school year and then again when we are about to start our Genius Hour inquiries.
By Peter H. Reynolds
I adore all of the Peter H. Reynolds picture books. The illustrations are wonderful and they all have important lessons in them that connect well to the classroom. The Dot is one you may have heard of already because SO many teachers love this book and it also has its own day--International Dot Day on September 15th. The book begins with Vashti sitting in her classroom with a blank piece of paper on her desk. Her teacher encourages her and says "Just make a mark and see where it takes you." Vashti gives the paper a "good, strong jab" and leaves it with just the dot. She returns to the classroom on another day and finds that her teacher has framed her dot. This book reminds me of an amazing teacher I had in high school. Ms. Morrison did something similar for me: I said something during English Lit 12 and she stopped and exclaimed how profound my statement was. She wrote it down on a piece of paper and I didn't give it another thought. The next day when I walked into the classroom there was a small, new poster on the wall above the chalkboard. She had written down what I had said with quotation marks around it and my name underneath. I remember being shocked and feeling so proud that she thought I was quotable. I think that gesture is what led me to my getting my BA in English Literature. She made me feel smart, capable and confident. I have never forgotten that moment and I have tried, like Vashti's teacher and like Ms. Morrision, to do that for my students too. I have used this book as part of an Art lesson, and that is how I would probably use it in future years too, but I think we can also make connections between Vashti's journey and the Genius Hour journey.
Q is for Question: An ABC Book of Philisophy
By Tiffany Poirier
Need help thinking about BIG questions? I think that this picture book, written in ABC format (A is for answers, B is for Beauty, C is for Cause, etc) can help us think about our questioning. I would read this book to the class but also make sure that it was on-hand for students to flip through when they need inspiration as it is a lot to take in after only one read through. I absolutely love how Poirier encourages us to have philosophical discussions and debates with our students and I think this book is a great place to start those discussions. This book connects to inquisitiveness and generating ideas on The Genius Hour Creativity Rubric.
So there you have it--7 of my favourite picture books to use during Genius Hour!
Are there any others you use to inspire students during Genius Hour?
Some really great points were brought up that I just had to go back and reread the archive. Here are some of my major take-aways:
-Ask "What breaks your heart?" (@STEMGeniusHour)
-I asked 3rd grade to come up with a problem at school that we could solve (@terrieichholz)
-I ask them if they could sit down at the computer and Google anything, what would it be and we work from there (@mcnairan3)
-I always start with what do they do when they are at home. Kids don't think you care about what they learn at home (@hughtheteacher)
-One-on-one conferences to help find their passions. Eventually something comes out in the conversation (@mrsdkrebs)
-Before they start their project I model my learning and struggles with a new thing I learned (@hughtheteacher)
-I start the year by telling students that we will fail. We are allowed to fail. That is how we learn (@koehnkfisher)
-LISTEN...Ask questions about their ideas to push a bit further. Encourage goal setting (@JoyKirr)
-[Struggling is an] important part of learning. But need to watch so it doesn't become frustration (@mjreese)
-I think it is also important to give them examples of how I fail from day to day and then give examples of finding a solution (@techducation)
-I have really been working on #growthmindset w/my Students (@terrieichholz)
-When I see Ss struggling I pull out TED "I Seek Failure"- offers amazing insight & Ss really get it http://youtu.be/H8P7Ni1NwB0 (@kgbellino)
Every month we have a fantastic chat on twitter using the #geniushour hashtag. Incredible educators from around the globe join in and in traditional Q1, A1 format we discuss a hot topic that has to do with Genius Hour. October's chat was "To what extent do you help students during Genius Hour?"
-I'm looking out for family now - what's going on at home? (@JoyKirr)
-I use Twitter to contact lots of outside experts. (@mcnairan3)
-blog, newsletter, ask students, know community members, Twitter, PTO (@jcd118)
Thank you to all of you whose amazing tweets helped inspire this post. Join us on the first Thursday of each month as we chat about #geniushour at 6 pm Pacific time/9 pm Eastern.
How do you help your students during Genius Hour or during
Inquiry-Based Learning opportunities?
Please comment below and share your advice!
Many folks have asked me to break Genius Hour down into steps (especially in regards to how to introduce Genius Hour) so here is a little chart that I made that hopefully helps. Take your time with steps 1,2, and 3 and then let the students lead the way when it is time to Inquire, Self-reflect and Share.
Hope this helps!
I am so excited to announce that I have just launched a new website: geniushour.ca.
After talking with Hugh McDonald the other day, we decided it would be great to have a place online where Genius Hour (or 20% time, innovation week, etc) teachers could cross-blog their stories and share in one space! A place where the Genius Hour community can come together to share our stories and adventures.
And so, I bring you geniushour.ca
Please check it out, comment on the stories from our contributors, and consider becoming a contributor by sharing your story/blog entry! We would love to have you!
Email me at email@example.com to become a contributor!
Hugh McDonald and I were having a conversation the other day. After two school years of doing Genius Hour with our students, we realized that the positive affects of this type of learning reached far beyond that one hour each week that we devoted to it. So, I brought it up during our last #GeniusHour chat to see if others were feeling the same way. Check it out:
So many of us agreed that by giving students that time to persue their wonders and passions, students began to wonder about everything! They became curious learners that asked meaningful questions!
On Genius Hour days, and even on other days, students began to be more excited about coming to school! We had students start coming in early to get a head start on their projects, and many would work right through recess or lunch because they were so excited about what they were doing. Kids excited about learning! It really doesn't get any better than that!
I love the above comment by Joel Pardalis. Students taking risks and thinking outside of the box. Perfect.
More great tweets:
And finally, teachers talked about how Genius Hour changed them as teachers too! This is powerful stuff!
And then the conversation even turned to how Genius Hour does indeed support curriculum and many of the prescribed learning outcomes.
I have one more tweet to share! This one was shared by Joy Kirr, a teacher that I admire so very much! her words are perfect and I think they truly summarize how a lot of us feel. Genius Hour doesn't just give students an hour (or 20% or however you break it down) to inquire into their passions and wonders...
...It changes EVERYTHING.
I have change a lot as a teacher over the past few years thanks to my school district's support, graduate classes at SFU and mostly because of the support and brilliant ideas from my PLN. Thank you all for learning and growing with me! I am so excited to continue this journey with all of YOU.
Creativity. Wonder. Passion.
"Genius Hour is a precious time, loved by all my students. It is when they are allowed to develop their own inquiry question about whatever it is that they want to explore"
An Index of All My Genius Hour Posts
What is Genius Hour?