Dare to Care

construct, create, communicate, collaborate, and think critically

02/Nov/2011
by Denise Krebs
18 Comments

Genius Hour

I’ve been given a genius hour this morning. State testing is happening right now at my school, and only half of the staff is charged with testing different groups of students at any one time. The other half of the staff has an extra long “prep” period, or what today I am calling my “genius hour.”

Yesterday, I followed the excellent tweeters from the first day of authorspeak2011, a conference featuring 99 Solution Tree authors, currently underway for three days in Indianapolis.

One of my favorite tweeters, Angela Maiers (follow her at @angelamaiers), sent out a tweet about genius hour. I retweeted it, saying I wanted to hear more. Angela’s first tweet was inspired by Dan Pink as he talked about motivation. (I sit up and listen when I see tweets inspired by Dan Pink; I just wrote a blog post about his work last week.)

Well, I did want to hear more, so I did a search for genius hour on Google. The first hit was a link to Dan Pink’s post called “The Genius Hour: How 60 minutes a week can electrify your job.” I read the article this morning (the first step of my own genius hour–before I even realized I was calling it that!)

Of course, as I read it, my thoughts turned immediately to my genius students! How exciting!

I have a day already picked out for genius hour–the morning before Thanksgiving in America because I know I will have some extra time with them. It’s on the books–our first genius hour!

Here are my initial thoughts. (These are open to revisions, via your suggestions!)

  1. One full hour for 11 randomly-chosen teams of 3 to work together. They will be charged with communicating, collaborating, and creating. They will have freedom within their group, though, to work on more than one idea. They will have access to three computers, if needed.
  2. By the end of the hour, they will connect and contribute, reporting their genius work to the world on at least one blog post.
  3. We’ll have 35 minutes at the end to report back–three minutes for each group.
  4. Here are some guiding questions in case they need them:
      • What new idea do you have that you want time to develop?
      • What skill can you master?
      • What tool can you learn to help you work more efficiently?
      • What tool can you learn to do work more beautifully?
      • What tool can you learn to help us communicate better?

A great resource to start with: Cool Tools for Schools Wiki

That’s all I have so far.

Now, I have just finished my first genius hour! Actually, it’s been about 1.5 hours. I have never before been able to research, conceive, draft AND post on this blog during a school day. This morning, I have done all those things, as well as planned a potentially revolutionary lesson plan for 33 junior highers. Pretty productive morning, I’d say, thanks to the fact that I was given a “genius hour”!

I find it sad that my students are busy taking state-mandated tests while I get to have a genius hour.

What else should I add to our first student genius hour?
Have you done or will you do genius hour with your students?
Please report about it on Twitter with the hashtag #geniushour.

December Update: Genius Hour Blog Post Index

 

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