Dare to Care

create, communicate, collaborate, and think critically

27/Feb/2017
by Denise Krebs
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#Geniushour Chat 5-Year Anniversary

Just follow the hashtag #geniushour on Twitter on Thursday, 2 March, 6 pm Pacific and 9 pm Eastern.

Gallit Zvi and I have enjoyed learning and sharing about Genius Hour for over five years now. When I first heard Angela Maiers mention in a tweet about a genius hour for teachers and students, I wanted to learn more. It was November 2011, and I did learn more about it by participating in my own genius hour, while planning GH for my students. I began sharing my work on Twitter with the hashtag #geniushour.

Gallit and I were connected on Twitter already, so the #geniushour hashtag soon became a mutual vehicle for sharing genius hour magic from our middle school classrooms. Dozens of teachers around the continent and beyond joined in, as well. Gallit shared her happenings in an early post called, “Collaboration, Communication and Community.”

Early in 2012, Gallit contacted me to see if I’d like to start a #geniushour chat with her, and a new chat began. Our first was held on 7 March 2012. Here are a few tweets from the beginning of the chat:

We didn’t know who, if anyone, would come to our first planned chat. However, it turned out there were ten of us who participated. You might be interested in our first and subsequent chats. The archives are found here on the Geniushour Wikispace: http://geniushour.wikispaces.com/ChatArchive

A Book about Genius Hour

As a result of meeting so many like-minded Genius Hour teachers, the next year we started writing a book about our and our students’ #geniushour experiences. In the fall of 2015, The Genius Hour Guidebook: Fostering Passion, Wonder and Inquiry in the Classroom was published in a partnership between Routledge Eye on Education and MiddleWeb.

Our tribe has grown exponentially over the last five years. Hundreds of teachers now share the work they and their students do for Genius Hour using the #geniushour hashtag.

Our 5th Anniversary Celebration!

We are anxious to celebrate our fifth anniversary chat this week. On Thursday, 2 March 2017, we will have our #geniushour chat, moderated by Angela Maiers, one of our early inspirations. Angela will be on hand to discuss her favorite topics of young geniuses contributing to the world and helping others know they matter.

Please join us in this special anniversary chat. We expect it will go a lot faster than our first chat, with scores of participants, but no worries. Just follow the hashtag #geniushour on Twitter on Thursday, 2 March, 6 pm Pacific and 9 pm Eastern. If you miss any tweets, as always, you can catch them in the archive. See you there!

17/Apr/2016
by Denise Krebs
2 Comments

Genius Hour PD

 

Genius TimeToday, we did Genius Hour at school. There were no children here. It was a teacher’s professional development day. Teachers did Genius Hour.

Our principal, Mr. Josh Perkins, introduced Genius Hour, a concept that was new to most people. He said it was “a movement that allows students to explore their own passions and encourages creativity in the classroom.  It provides students a choice in what they learn during a set period of time during school.” Definition from Geniushour.com

He then went on to immediately explain that the Genius Hour we would do for PD would be defined like this: “Genius hour allows teachers to explore their own passions and encourages creativity in the classroom.  It provides teachers a choice in what they learn and develop during a set period of time during the professional development time.” It was about here that we all decided we like the name Genius Time better. 20160417_074717

I thought the plan was perfect. He asked for professionalism in carrying out this short plan:

  • Question – What do you want to learn?
  • Explore – Learn about it!
  • Master – Become better at it!
  • Present – Help the rest of us learn!

We will “turn in” our inquiry question at the beginning and the presentation at the end. We will plan, explore, and learn on our own. He will post all our learnings on our school web page to share with the world.

Now, our school happens to have an atypical communication barrier. We are about half Arabic speakers and half English speakers. (And other languages too, which we don’t even take into consideration!) The Genius Hour overview was presented tag-team style in both English and Arabic. Throughout the day, we noticed not only was some of the introduction lost in translation, but also these ideas are huge when heard for the first time and need extra time to absorb.

That’s all good. It’s part of my philosophy as the chief learner in my classroom. We all have questions that need to be answered along the journey. (And the journey is the best part, I believe.)

Because of those big ideas we were trying to explain, there were bound to be misunderstandings. Some people seemed to hear that Genius Hour was something for the children, and they ran with that forgetting about their own PD. As we answered questions, I began to think maybe we shouldn’t have called it Genius Hour or Genius Time, after all!

However, later I realized I was wrong. It was an unexpected, but awesome misunderstanding.  We had scores of teachers today talking about Genius Hour. We weren’t just talking about something wordy: “self-directed professional development time.” Many of the teachers were even talking about how they were going to make Genius Hour work in their classrooms.

  • “How will it work with all the students doing Genius Hour in different subjects?”
  • “Can we do it for 15 minutes each period?” (No, please don’t.)
  • “Should we call it Genius Hour or something else because our class periods aren’t one hour?”

Wait a minute. I began to realize they thought they MUST do Genius Hour with their students in their classrooms.

We aren’t doing Genius Hour with your students, I said during an impromptu meeting. That can come later, I continued. (And hopefully it will!) Today, for the next few weeks this is about you! About you improving your craft–becoming more adept at content knowledge, pedagogy, and technology to bring about learning for your students. We need to focus on 21st century learning skills. (Yeah, since by the time half of our students graduate from high school this “new” century will be a quarter over.)

We introduced a unique-to-every-single-person professional development opportunity. Instead of doing one-size-fits-all PD for the next two months, we each get to make our own learning adventure! (Or with a partner or two–it’s limited to 3 in a group.)

Imagine around 50 different PD programs going on in just the next nine Tuesday professional development hours!

What are the chances of that happening? It can happen, but only if all the teachers own their own learning.

Here are just a few of the thoughts some teachers had for their own unique PD sessions, with possible inquiry questions:

  1. How do you engage very young children to want to know English? And can I get them to  practice by communicating their own knowledge to others?
  2. How can I teach flexibility and adaptability by providing students with many ways to solve math problems, starting with the abacus?
  3. How can I inspire students to be self-directed learners, going beyond the vocabulary in our lessons to searching out the multiple meanings?
  4. Can I build students’ collaboration and communication skills by learning about and teaching Accountable Talk for small group discussions?
  5. How can I help students to be responsible and discerning digital citizens; who can justify their use of technology for educational purposes?
  6. How can I present information in a way that is more engaging to the students, and promotes independent and analytical thinking?

I loved hearing people talk about Genius Hour today. The discussions were amazing. Some of us met for four hours today, instead of the originally scheduled two hours. It won’t be easy, but our school has heart, and we will figure it out together. (I’m particularly excited to see the Arab teachers’ share their Genius Hour learning in the Arabic language. They will be Genius Hour innovators for the Arab world.)  

Al Raja School can have hope in a bright Genius Hour-y future for students and staff alike. I look forward to it!  

17/Feb/2016
by Denise Krebs
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Question from @EduQuinn

I started to answer in a tweet, but I soon realized it was going to take more words than fit. So here goes, Dave.

I would have to say it was not student engagement or lack of it that motivated me.

Actually, it was teacher engagement. When I became more involved, more engaged, more in love with learning, I wanted to share it all with my students.

When I became a connected educator, I began to love learning and teaching more than ever. I looked forward to coming in every morning and couldn’t wait to share something I was learning or see what my students were going to do next.

I wasn’t looking for how to help my students become more engaged.

Genius Hour just became a natural extension of what was beginning to happen in our learning. I became more of a learner, and I believe it became contagious.

Now, Genius Hour is definitely engaging and it helped with some students who were not engaged. However, engagement wasn’t a conscience decision in choosing Genius Hour.

I guess I discovered Genius Hour by keeping my eyes and ears open, as the chief learner in my classroom.

Just think what tomorrow will hold!

17/Nov/2015
by Denise Krebs
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Exciting News

Yesterday was the release day for The Genius Hour Guidebook. It has been about a three-year journey. Gallit Zvi and I wrote it together in a Google Doc. There were several challenges and changes over those three years, but thanks to our editor, John Norton, the book finally found a home. A good strong home in Routledge’s Eye on Education and MiddleWeb, the two publishers that teamed up for their first collaborative project. We are so happy and excited. We actually haven’t even seen a copy yet! I may have to wait a while longer, as I am in Bahrain.

hotnewreleaseselemAnyway, it’s been really fun to participate in this release date! Watching the “Hot New Releases” on Amazon, having a guest post on MiddleWeb, being Routledge’s Authors of the Month, and being part of a new web page–GeniusHourGuide.org, which is a companion for The Genius Hour Guidebook. I feel a little giddy and proud.

My prayer is that the book will be helpful to many teachers who need support in starting Genius Hour in their classroom. I will look forward to hearing about it from you if you get a chance to read it!

Thanks to all of my friends and fellow teachers who will read it! But more importantly, thanks to all of you who inspired, and continue to inspire me, to learn about Genius Hour.

GHG

04/Aug/2015
by Denise Krebs
Comments Off on Mindset for Learning and Growing

Mindset for Learning and Growing

In one world, effort is a bad thing. It, like failure, means you’re not smart or talented. If you were, you wouldn’t need effort. In the other world, effort is what makes you smart or talented. You have a choice. Mindsets are just beliefs. They’re powerful beliefs, but they’re just something in your mind, and you can change your mind.

Carol Dweck, Mindset, Loc 317 in Kindle.

I want to change my mindset in every area of my life! As I read Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset: A New Psychology of Success, I thought of the times and areas in life that I have had a growth mindset (computers, reading and writing), and I also think of many when I have had a fixed mindset (sports, music, and learning languages).

My belief in all children’s ability to grow and learn has developed over the years. Thank God. I am saddened by some memories I have of my first years of teaching. I know I reinforced fixed mindsets in children. Even today, I still make mistakes. Carol’s book will help me, especially connecting and believing in those children who don’t believe in themselves.

I look forward to discussing Mindset with other #geniushour teachers on Thursday, 6 August, at 6 pm Pacific Time/9 pm Eastern. (Or for those in Arabia Standard Time, 4:00 a.m. on Friday.) Join us if you want to learn more about fixed and growth mindsets.

I’ve gathered below some quotes from the book on each of the two mindsets. I could have gone on and on–so many good thoughts–but I wanted to put these here as a reminder of the ideas, descriptions and vocabulary that I will need to practice, learn and teach. My goal for the coming school year is to practice and teach the growth mindset. (That’s my one sentence for this summer, Joy.)  (The Kindle location number is given for each.)

Fixed Mindset

  Growth Mindset

Fixed mindset—creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over. If you have only a certain amount of intelligence, a certain personality, and a certain moral character—well, then you’d better prove that you have a healthy dose of them. It simply wouldn’t do to look or feel deficient in these most basic characteristics. Loc 158

…one consuming goal—look smart, don’t look dumb. Who cared about or enjoyed learning when our whole being was at stake every time she gave us a test or called on us in class? Loc 164

…labeling themselves and throwing up their hands Loc 219

…risk and effort are two things that might reveal your inadequacies and show that you were not up to the task. Loc 227

…your qualities are carved in stone Loc 238

…a fixed ability that needs to be proven Loc 310

…fixed traits—success is about proving you’re smart or talented. Loc 313

Validating yourself. Loc 313

…children with the fixed mindset want to make sure they succeed. Smart people should always succeed. Loc 335

…fixed mindset didn’t want to expose their deficiencies…to feel smart in the short run, they were willing to put their college careers at risk. Loc 352

…fixed mindset makes people into nonlearners. Loc 353

It’s about being perfect right now. Loc 459

The fixed mindset does not allow people the luxury of becoming. They have to already be. Loc 481

…failure has been transformed from an action (I failed) to an identity (I am a failure). Loc 599

But those with the fixed mindset said they would study less for the next test. If you don’t have the ability, why waste your time? And, they said, they would seriously consider cheating! Loc 648

…instead of trying to learn from and repair their failures, people with the fixed mindset may simply try to repair their self-esteem. Loc 650

But students in the fixed mindset chose to look at the tests of people who had done really poorly. That was their way of feeling better about themselves. Loc 652

People with the fixed mindset tell us, “If you have to work at something, you must not be good at it.” They add, “Things come easily to people who are true geniuses.” Loc 725

The idea of trying and still failing—of leaving yourself without excuses—is the worst fear within the fixed mindset, and it haunted and paralyzed her. Loc 764

…that success is about being more gifted than others, that failure does measure you, and that effort is for those who can’t make it on talent. Loc 799

In the fixed mindset, everything is about the outcome. If you fail—or if you’re not the best—it’s all been wasted. Loc 865

…the natural does not analyze his deficiencies and coach or practice them away. The very idea of deficiencies is terrifying. Loc 1402

…key weapons of the fixed mindset—blame, excuses, and the stifling of critics and rivals. Loc 1948

You have permanent traits and I’m judging them. Loc 2928

We don’t care about who you are, what you’re interested in, and what you can become. We don’t care about learning. We will love and respect you only if you go to Harvard. Loc 3210

When teachers are judging them, students will sabotage the teacher by not trying. Loc 3417

Fixed-minded teachers often think of themselves as finished products. Their role is simply to impart their knowledge. Loc 3424

You have permanent traits and I’m judging them Loc 3596

Remember that praising children’s intelligence or talent, tempting as it is, sends a fixed-mindset message. Loc 3598

The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives. Loc 181

…your qualities can be cultivated Loc 239

…exceptional individuals have “a special talent for identifying their own strengths and weaknesses.” Loc 259

…a special talent for converting life’s setbacks into future successes. Loc 262

…creative achievement…perseverance and resilience. Loc 263

…a changeable ability that can be developed through learning Loc 310

…changing qualities—it’s about stretching yourself to learn something new. Loc 314

Developing yourself. Loc 314

They walk, they fall, they get up. They just barge forward. Loc 326

But for children with the growth mindset, success is about stretching themselves. It’s about becoming smarter. Loc 335

…growth mindset seized the chance. Loc 352

“I never stopped trying to be qualified for the job.” Loc 392

“This is hard. This is fun.” Loc 451

“[When] I work on something a long time and I start to figure it out.” Loc 461

“Becoming is better than being.” Loc 481

People with the growth mindset know that it takes time for potential to flower. Loc 523

A single point in time does not show trends, improvement, lack of effort, or mathematical ability.… Loc 532

Those in the growth mindset looked at the tests of people who had done far better than they had. As usual, they wanted to correct their deficiency. Loc 652

John Wooden, the legendary basketball coach, says you aren’t a failure until you start to blame. What he means is that you can still be in the process of learning from your mistakes until you deny them. Loc 666

When people believe their basic qualities can be developed, failures may still hurt, but failures don’t define them. And if abilities can be expanded—if change and growth are possible—then there are still many paths to success. Loc 710

The growth mindset allows people to value what they’re doing regardless of the outcome. Loc 866

…even when you think you’re not good at something, you can still plunge into it wholeheartedly and stick to it. Actually, sometimes you plunge into something because you’re not good at it. Loc 936

“Come on, peach,” [Marva Collins] said to him, cupping his face in her hands, “we have work to do. You can’t just sit in a seat and grow smart.… I promise, you are going to do, and you are going to produce. I am not going to let you fail.” Loc 1151

Create an organization that prizes the development of ability—and watch the leaders emerge. Loc 2420

“I liked the effort you put in, but let’s work together some more and figure out what it is you don’t understand.” “We all have different learning curves. It may take more time for you to catch on to this and be comfortable with this material, but if you keep at it like this you will.” “Everyone learns in a different way. Let’s keep trying to find the way that works for you.” Loc 3012

Don’t judge. Teach. It’s a learning process. Loc 3160

But when students understand that school is for them—a way for them to grow their minds—they do not insist on sabotaging themselves. Loc 3417

Above all, a good teacher is one who continues to learn along with the students. Loc 3431

You’re a developing person and I’m interested in your development Loc 3597

…try to focus on the processes they used—their strategies, effort, or choices. Loc 3599

…try to figure out what they don’t understand and what learning strategies they don’t have. Remember that great teachers believe in the growth of talent and intellect, and are fascinated by the process of learning. Loc 3608

…our mission is developing people’s potential. Loc 3614

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Do You Feel Smart:
When You’re Flawless or When You’re Learning?

~Carol Dweck, Loc 452

Two Articles to Read to Help Avoid a Common Mindset Pitfall

Trying my hand at an art sketchbook. #edsketch

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