6 Principles Of Genius Hour In The Classroom

Lester,  Debbie
6 Principles Of Genius Hour In The Classroom. (2014). TeachThought. Retrieved 19 December 2016, from http://www.teachthought.com/learning/6-principles-of-genius-hour-in-the-classroom/
Genius Hour in the classroom is an approach to learning built around student curiosity, self-directed learning, and passion-based work. In traditional learning, teachers map out academic standards, and plan units and lessons based around those standards. In Genius Hour, students are in control, choosing what they study, how they study it, and what they do, produce, or create as a result. As a learning model, it promotes inquiry, research, creativity, and self-directed learning.
LABELS: Project Based Learning, Self-directed learning, Genius Hour

What Neuroscience Can Tell Us About Making Fractions Stick

Lester,  Debbie
Schwartz, K. (2016). What Neuroscience Can Tell Us About Making Fractions StickMindShift. Retrieved 19 December 2016, from https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2016/11/21/what-neuroscience-can-tell-us-about-making-fractions-stick/
Learning a new math concept takes a toll on the brain not only because of the new math concepts, but also because students must recruit many parts of the brain to solve any problem. For example, students need visuospatial and auditory working memory when solving a fractions problem, and they must focus attention, inhibit distractions, order tasks, recall information from long term memory and integrate new concepts into an old schema. There’s a lot of mental processing going on when learning math, so understanding how careful brain-based instruction can prime the brain for new learning becomes extra important.

Sal Khan: Let’s teach for mastery — not test scores

Lester, Debbie
Khan, S. (2016). Let’s teach for mastery — not test scoresTed.com. Retrieved 19 December 2016, from http://www.ted.com/talks/sal_khan_let_s_teach_for_mastery_not_test_scores?utm_source=tedcomshare&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=tedspread
Sal Khan: Let’s teach for mastery — not test scores
Fill in learning gaps and once you master something move to the next topic or subject. Traditional education models don’t do this. Instead, they teach, do homework, then test. Even though there are gaps, the teacher moves on to the next subject. Many times in math when students have gaps, this causes problems later on in their learning. We wouldn’t  build a house on  a foundation with holes, but we send students on to the next topics even though their foundations aren’t strong.


Lester, Debbie
University, H. (2016). 5 Lessons Dr. Carol Dweck Shared on the HPU Campus – High Point UniversityHigh Point University. Retrieved 19 December 2016, from http://www.highpoint.edu/blog/2016/08/5-lessons-dr-carol-dweck-shared-on-the-hpu-campus/
This article talks about Growth Mindset and 5 ideas behind Growth Mindset
  1. A growth mindset is empowering: having a fixed mindset is very limiting and does not allow for someone to improve themselves. 
  2. Learn what triggers your fixed mindset: even people with growth mindset haveset backsand feel like they can’t do something. 
  3. Value progress, not perfection: telling someone that they are smart isn’t the best way to encourage them. Tell someone that they worked hard to get something done is a much better way to encourage them. 
  4. Be willing to work hard: doing something worthwhile is not going to be easy. It takes a lot of hard work and fortitude to get what you want. 
  5. View failures or setbacks as learning opportunities: ask yourself, what can I learn from this. Mistakes are great learning opportunities.
This is a great article on the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset and the importance of having a growth mindset.

Love the Library: Make It a Game

Post by Lora Poser-Brown
Squires, T. (2016). “Engaging students through gamification.” American libraries. March 1, 2016. https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2016/03/01/engaging-students-through-gamification/
Overview: After instituting a game based library reading and writing program, the school library attained an 80% student participation level. Since the program was entirely voluntary, the success has been attributed to the opportunity to compete, collaborate, build non-classroom relationships with school staff, and the simple please of playing a game.
Analysis: The school library made itself a relevant, enjoyable place to be by making learning and exploring the library a game. While creating the game was labor intensive, the success was well worth the effort in staff eyes. Furthermore, the improvement in school morale and quality relationships has been viewed positively by the school community.

Projects with Technology Do Good Things

Post by Lora Poser-Brown


Kingston, Sally and Lenz, Bob. “Blending Technology into Project Based Learning.” Partnerships for 21st Century Learning. Jan. 21, 2016. http://www.p21.org/news-events/p21blog/1832-blending-technology-into-project-based-learning

Overview: This article discusses many ways to incorporate projects and technology in regular instruction. In addition, justification is given for more projects with evidence that doing so increases attendance, scores, engagement, social skills, and more.

Analysis: The article was a quick read with great concrete examples for teachers. Furthermore, the ideas given can easily be adapted for different ages and subjects. The article makes project based learning seem less daunting for those new to the teaching style.

Video Record for Teacher Feedback

Post by Lora Poser-Brown


Gates, Bill. “Teachers Need Real Feedback.” Ted Talk. May 8, 2013. Viewed Nov. 8, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81Ub0SMxZQo

Overview: Teachers are rarely evaluated for improvement. To improve best practices, though, far more discussion and reflection needs to be happening in US education. MET – Measures of Effective Teaching. Using video of self and “experts” to improve instructional quality. Project promoted and funded by the Gates Foundation.
Analysis: This video is a brief explanation of the Gates Foundation’s MET program. The video is too short to fully explain the program, like who watches the videos besides the recorded teacher and who is selected to provide feedback. However, good interview time was given to a teacher who has really grown – in her opinion – from participating in MET.