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Category Archives: Genius Hour

“Genius Hour” for Kindergarten? Is that even possible?

This post is cross-blogged from “The Way I See it”, written by our new contributor, Jodi Pulvers.

“Genius Hour” is a relatively new term in education, but has been around in the business world for a few years. Organizations such as Google have an 80/20 work week, where employees are given 20% of their work week to “explore” things that interest them. Many brilliant ideas have come out of that 20%.

The short version on the education side goes something like this: In July of 2011, Daniel Pink wrote a blog about how a Credit Union in Washington was using “Genius Hour” with their employees. These employees were given time each week to use as a “Genius Hour” to pursue their passions. Angela Maiers saw this blog and re-tweeted it and suggested we need this in schools for teachers.  Denise Krebs spread this information via Twitter and her blog, both of which were discovered by Hugh McDonald  and Gallit Zvi who were keen to try the idea in their classrooms. I work with Gallit and Hugh and their passion is contagious! More info about “Genius Hour” will be included at the end of this blog.

Gallit is my buddy teacher and our classes often do projects together. The more time I spent with her and Hugh and see how engaged their students were during “Genius Hour”, the more I contemplated trying it with my class. But I was plagued by thought like, “They have ideas, but they can’t research them…they can’t even read” and “how would they share their learning when they can’t write sentences yet”.  I am very fortunate to work with an amazing group of people who are always making me question my practice and push me to try new things. My co-workers are always encouraging me think outside the box and they never let me “get away with” excuses like the ones mentioned above. Many of our conversations end with “well, why can’t you do this?” These conversations make my head spin, leaving me to come up with ways to modify things to the K level. As my principal Antonio Vendramin,  tweeted last week, “It’s all about the What if… rather than the Ya, but…

I am not one to back down from a challenge, so driving home one day thinking about how to make his happen – it hit me! We can use our buddies to help us with the “research” and we can use the Book Creator app on the iPads to create books about an animal that  interests them. I knew I would need more help, so I recruited our amazing teacher-librarian Anna Crosland and asked her if she wanted to be a part of this “experiment” with my K class. Anna jumped on board and the 3 of us (Anna, Gallit and I) developed a plan. This activity was done in April/May of last year.

1)  I would make a Sample eBook with my class. This took about 3 lessons. For this book, we used Penguins as that was the last animal we studied and we made a pages for habitat, food, enemies and 3 interesting facts. We took pictures and recorded the sentence using the Book Creator app.  Here is our class book.

To read the rest of this great blog, click here

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2013 in Elementary, Genius Hour, Kindergarten

 

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My Top 5 Reasons to do Genius Hour with Your Class!

5.  Personalizing education is so important.  Not all learners are the same, so why should their education be the same?  Genius Hour allows students to choose their own projects, personalizing their own learning.

4.  Kids need time to be creative!  Check out Sir Ken Robinson’s TedTalk below.

3.  Passionate people are successful people.  Students need time to find their passions.  I am amazed by how many of my students struggle to communicate what their passions really are.  They need time to explore their wonders (and often need some guidance with this too) so that they can figure out what they love to do.

2.  Inquiry based learning.  During Genius Hour students form inquiry questions to investigate.  Being able to ask questions is a key competency that we need to develop in students.
1.  Teaches resilience.  Students will fail during Genius Hour.  And they will problem solve and figure out another way to look at the problem.  We need to reinforce this learning strategy and Genius Hour is the perfect time for this.BONUS:
***Genius Hour is FUN.  In a survey I did with my class last year, most students listed Genius Hour as one of the top things we did that year!***Did I miss anything?  What would you add to this list?(This was cross blogged from my blog, gallitzvi.com)
 
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Posted by on September 14, 2013 in Elementary, Genius Hour, Secondary

 

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Genius Hour is Personalized Learning

I am reposting this to the newly formed collaborative site geniushour.ca. It outlines the important role Genius Hour has in creating personalized learning opportunities for students.

Today is a Great Day for Learning

I feel the importance of personalizing learning for students should be at the forefront of any discussion relating to education and Genius Hour does that. We want to find ways to engage students as learners and creators of inquiry driven content. Students want to feel connected to the learning that is happening in their classroom and the standardization of learning across North America does not do that.  Students in many classrooms around North America are motivated by letter grades and percentages and NOT LEARNING! Students in our classrooms are like adults in the real world.  If you do not engage them in their learning then they will not know how to learn and not want to learn. How else can you explain large chunks of the population dropping out from school?

Please check out this journal article published in Educational Leadership. “Special Report: Why Students Drop Out” by Amy Azzam…

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Posted by on September 3, 2013 in Genius Hour

 

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Welcome to our collaborative blog, geniushour.ca

Thank you for checking out geniushour.ca

Our vision is to create a community, collaborative blog!  One where we can post stories and articles from Genius Hour teachers around the world!

Stay tuned for stories from our contributors…or even better: follow this blog and never miss a story!

Let me know if you want to join us,

Gallit Zvi 🙂

 

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2013 in Genius Hour, Welcome Post