Understanding Genius Hour

Smith, Chloe


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.

Is That Higher-Order Task Really Higher-Order?

Fox, Marie


Gonzalez, J. (2019, May 12) Cult of Pedagogy. Is that Higher-Order Task Really Higher Order? Retrieved from https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/121-is-that-higher-order-task-really-higher-order/id900015782?i=1000437891535

Summary: Podcast episode which discussing the goal of reaching higher levels of learning using Bloom’s taxonomy (evaluate, analyze, create). Goes through a specific lesson about the Bill of Rights with a “higher-order task” which is not in fact higher-order and then an alternate lesson plan that DOES reach those levels. Offers advice about how to choose activities that will get students working with materials in ways that will serve them later in life – not just making to make something that is actually repeating the information previously taught, put into a pretty package. Also discourages using technology that takes a long time for them to learn, making the lesson take longer than is worth considering how much they are(n’t) getting out of it.

Evaluation: Offered clear background information about one type of assessment of student learning (Bloom’s taxonomy), which was very useful to someone like myself who is new to education assessments. Appreciated the concrete examples of common types of classroom assignments and ways to think critically about them, encouraging a teacher to ask themselves, does this project actually reach those higher levels of learning?

Digitally Inspired Thinking: Can social media lead to deep learning in higher education?

Macchio, Erica


Samuels-Peretz, D., Dvorkin Camiel, L., Teeley, K., and Banerjee, G. (2017). Digitally inspired thinking: can social media lead to deep learning in higher education? College Teaching, 65:1, 32-39. https://www-tandfonline-com.libaccess.sjlibrary.org/doi/pdf/10.1080/87567555.2016.1225663?needAccess=true

Social media allows us to learn about many topics.  While perusing all these different topics on the many social media forums we get the yearning to learn more about items of interest.  Social media can lead to higher learning because it forces us to explore more about the little tidbits of information we come across.

Evaluation: I found this article useful because it made me think about how social media has become a big part of the way we learn.