Understanding Genius Hour

Smith, Chloe

ID

Krebs, D. & Zvi G. (2016). The genius hour guidebook. New York: Routeledge.

Summary: This book is focused on Genius Hour, a program in which a teacher sets aside a set amount of time each week for students to pursue independent and self-directed projects. It is by two teachers, one an elementary school teacher in private and public settings and one a faculty member in a teacher training program, who met online and began collaborating and sharing resources as part of their Personal Learning Networks (PLN). It is very much a product of an online community, with lots of pointers for readers to check out resources like TED talks and to share experiences with each other via Twitter and other social media platforms. In essence, the book does just what is says on the cover–it explains what Genius Hour is, and it gives pointers and suggestions for how an educator can make it work in their classrooms. It includes guidelines for introducing the concept, scaffolding the development of students’ independent inquiry, and helping them reflect and self-assess. It also includes appendixes with FAQs, more resources and lesson plans, and a reading list.

Evaluation: I really liked the practical and detailed scaffolding that this book provided. I could definitely see depending on it if I was rolling out Genius Hour in my own classroom or library space. I wonder, however, if a print book was the best format for this document–there are so many online works cited that it seems like this would have worked better as a website other format where the references could be linked.

Making personalized learning projects possible

Sasaki, Lori

ID

Schwartz, K. (2017, December 4). Tips and Tricks to keep kids on track during genius hour projects. KQED Mindshift. Retrieved from https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2017/12/04/tips-and-tricks-to-keep-kids-on-track-during-genius-hour-projects/?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=ExactTarget&utm_campaign=20171210Mindshift&mc_key=00Qi000001WzPsREAV

This article outlines one teacher’s advice and experience around Genius Hour, or “20 percent time projects.” The teacher shares anecdotes and examples (including a student video) of the challenges and successes in implementing this kind of student-centered learning.

There is not a comprehensive explanation of the entire project, however the article touches upon various important stages, such as defining the problem, staying organized, and assessment. The tangible tools and tips (with lots of links to resources) for managing personalized learning projects helped to make this kind of learning process seem both inspiring and realistically do-able.

Genius Hour Video

Smithyman, Kathryn

Z

Cedar Ridge Intermediate. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.branson.k12.mo.us/domain/880

Short video demonstrating what genius hour is provides a good example of a genius hour “question” and how a student could pursue this question for a project.

I’ve read several articles on Genius Hour and while I love the concept, the implementation of it is a bit confusing. I really liked this little video because it clearly showed how a student could take a question and then develop it into a project or product.

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It’s Genius

Matteson, A. (2016). It’s genius: Understanding genius hour and making it rock at your school. School Library Journal 62(10), 36-38.
This is a very comprehensive article about genius hour. Matteson discusses how genius hour is time set aside for student-driven research, where it’s not about tests but exploration. Since students get to choose their learning path, they are much more motivated. The teacher has the students check in and is available to help students through the learning process. Through exploration, failure may occurs, but it is welcome and support is available.

I highly recommend this article because it is very comprehensive and you will walk away with an understanding of what genius hour is and ideas of how to incorporate it into your classroom. 

6 Principles Of Genius Hour In The Classroom

Lester,  Debbie
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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