► Why call this Genius Hour? They aren’t really “geniuses.”
We don’t use the typical definition of genius that takes into consideration only a number on the Stanford–Binet Intelligence Scale. Instead we turn to the Latin root of the word genius meaning “generative power” and “producing.” Children are generating something new, something innovative. They are producing something for their own purposes. They are creating their own projects and bringing things into being that were not there before. They are being creative and productive. In our view, they are being and sharing genius. And, of course, you can call Genius Hour whatever you and your students like. It’s the process of authentic learning that is important, not the name.
► Why do we need to teach creativity? Aren’t people just born with it or not?
Sir Ken Robinson explains in The Element that when someone doesn’t know how to read and write, we don’t assume they are incapable of literacy. Instead we know that they haven’t yet learned how to read and write. In a similar manner, he explains, when students aren’t creative, we should not assume that they are incapable of creativity. We should know they just need to be taught. We strive to nurture and grow creativity during Genius Hour.
► Don’t we have enough to do with the Common Core and other mandated standards?
Of course, there is always so much to do, but to take learning to the next level, which is just what the Common Core is asking of our students, we need learning experiences like Genius Hour. Genius Hour is the perfect way to lead students to new learning. Students love learning about the things they wonder and care about, and this leads to learning with purpose – a much more authentic learning experience. Students flourish when they belong and have freedom and fun in their learning. We have found that when students are empowered they make good choices and enjoy learning. Genius Hour is an excellent way to practice and master many of the Common Core State Standards, or other district, state or provincial standards. See Chapter 6 for some examples.
You’ll also find answers to these questions in the FAQs section:
► What is the teacher’s role during Genius Hour?
► Who should teach Genius Hour?
► What are some of the projects that students do during Genius Hour?
► What if a student just wants to be a helper with a classmate’s passion?
► Can I use Genius Hour as a reward for worthy students?
► What if students like my assignments better than their Genius Hour projects and would rather work on my engaging class projects instead?
► What are some ideas to get administrators on board for Genius Hour?
► How can we get parents to buy into Genius Hour?
► What about Genius Hour in the primary grades (K–2)?
► I teach at a high school. Could I try this there, too?
► Should we really take our educational cues from the corporate world?
► It seems like Google has begun to rethink giving their engineers 20% of their time to work on their own innovations because limited marketable or “genius” projects result. Why should we continue to do it in schools?
► What about Genius Hour for educators?
Source: Joy Kirr’s livebinders collection