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The Genius Hour Guidebook: Fostering Passion, Wonder, and Inquiry in the Classroom Paperback – Nov 16 2015
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"In their innovative book, Denise and Gallit have created a must-read for any educator who has been wondering how to foster creativity and increase student engagement within the classroom. With its easy-to-follow ideas and inspirational stories, this book will give you all of the steps you need to implement Genius Hour right away, starting you on the path to creating schools that students cannot wait to come to." --Pernille Ripp, Teacher and Author of Passionate Learners: How to Engage and Empower Your Students
"Krebs and Zvi provide a step-by-step guide to Genius Hour that will give students the quality, self-determined learning time they deserve." --Jerry Blumengarten, Twitterbrarian, @cybraryman1, Former New York City Teacher, and Co-author of Connecting Your Students with the World
"The concept of Genius Hour ― a portion of time that students can use independently for their own projects and passions ― has taken the world of education by storm. The Genius Hour Guidebook is full of practical suggestions for helping you and your students get the most out of this precious hour of autonomy. If you take the authors’ advice, you’ll be amazed at the change in your classroom." --Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and A Whole New Mind
"Many educators are asked to think outside the box, but this book describes how to innovate inside of it. The ideas behind Genius Hour shared in this book help to create innovative learning environments in all areas of the classroom. We all start somewhere, and this book helps you to push your students to unleash their passions. More importantly, it helps to develop students as learners long after their time in school." --George Couros, internationally recognized thought leader and a Division Principal of Innovative Teaching and Learning in Alberta, Canada
"The Genius Hour Guidebook is a must-have manual for the 21st-century educator. Want to improve student engagement? Need more STEM in your classroom? Don't have time to waste? This book makes Genius Hour something any school can implement successfully." --Vicki Davis, @coolcatteacher, Blogger, Host of the Every Classroom Matters Show, and Author of Reinventing Writing (2014)
"Genius Hour is one of those ideas that not only inspires students but also reignites teachers who are passionate about learning but for a variety of reasons have lost some of that spark. What Gallit and Denise do so well is simply share their story, not as researchers or experts but as teachers who saw a need and took advantage of an innovative idea to change how students learn. This book provides detailed procedures and insights to get you started on your own journey. The best part, the part that wasn't possible in the past, is you get to stay connected and learn from them beyond the reading of this book. If you've heard of Genius Hour or have been thinking about it, you've come to the right place. --Dean Shareski, Community Manager, Discovery Education Canada and Former Classroom Teacher and Technology Consultant
About the Author
Denise Krebs teaches grade 5 English language learners in Bahrain. She also serves as elementary English subjects coordinator. She has had the joy of seeing genius hour work in kindergarten to grade 8.
Gallit Zvi is a vice principal and teacher in Surrey, BC, Canada who has taught 4th through 7th grade. Gallit has many years of experience mentoring both Teacher Candidates and experienced teachers and has coached many educators as they implement Genius Hour. She has also been a Faculty Associate in the Education Department at Simon Fraser University. Gallit blogs at www.gallitzvi.com.
Denise (@mrsdkrebs) and Gallit (@gallit_z) are co-moderators of the Twitter chat group #geniushour
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The Genius Hour movement has spread throughout classrooms. Search for #geniushour on Twitter and the results are endless. So, why is this not happening more in classrooms? Krebs and Zvi offer a plan for teachers who hesitate trying Genius Hour. The opening chapter explains what is Genius Hour and why students need it. “Genius Hour gives students time to find and follow their passion.” The authors point out that change can be scary, but good stuff can happen when we are a bit uncomfortable.
Introducing Genius Hour begins with a basic plan.
Step 1: Inspire Your Class - Inspirational videos and picture books are a great starting point. Set up the learning environment so that “students know they’re supported and encouraged to be creative”.
Step 2: Brainstorm with Students - Suggestions in the book include listing the things you love to do and learn, things you are good at, and things you wonder. Wonder Walls or Passion Walls can be displayed to inspire others.
Step 3: Create an Inquiry Question - Authors suggest taking time to teach students the difference between a Google-able question and a thick question. Tips are included for supporting those who can’t come up with a question.
The framework offered in the opening chapter is a guide, but the authors encourage readers to make it their own and personalize the experience.
Once the learning environment has been established, Genius Hour is ready to launch. Students follow four steps:
1. The Launch: Diving in and Letting Go
2. Loosening Deadlines and Sharing Passions
3. Helping Kids Make Their Learning Visible
4. Teaching about Self-Assessment and Feedback
Teachers are used to being in charge and letting go is difficult. However, the authors stress the importance of letting go and becoming a fellow learner. Guiding students through their research, especially finding good information, is the beginning of the process. Alan November is quoted in the book, “If we only teach one skill to prepare our students to survive in a web-based works, it should be that of critical thinking in the analysis of online information.”
Students are expected to share their newfound learning with the rest of the class in a presentation. Presentations can include slideshows, movies, documentaries, posters, or demonstrations. Students also need to take this experience further by making their learning visible. An authentic audience adds meaning to learning. Blogs and ePortfolios can be shared with the world through the various social networks. Several chapters explain in depth the process of making learning visible, self-assessment/feedback, and challenging students to improve the world.
The Genius Hour Guidebook may be an easy read, but it is a powerhouse of resources. The authors set a foundation to understand how learning happens during this time, how to guide students through the process, as well as assessment. Resources and lesson plans are included in the appendix along with a companion website [...] Denise Krebs and Gallit Zvi have written a complete guidebook that will challenge both the beginning or expert teacher to think outside of the box and bring passion back to learning.
(Review originally posted at [...]