Read a Post, Leave a Comment, Win a Book!

GH-boy-car-300-sqWe’re eager to spread the word about The Genius Hour Guidebook – a resource dedicated to the proposition that all students should have time set aside for passion-driven, independent learning.

To encourage visitors to learn more about Genius Hour, we’re going to give away three four! copies of the book by Denise Krebs and Gallit Zvi.

All you have to do to enter our drawing is read a post and share a meaningful comment about what you’ve read. When you comment, you’ll be asked to share your email privately.** If you win, we’ll be in touch to find out how to send you your free copy!

Deadline: Midnight (Eastern), Monday, January 4.

Congratulations to the winners of our Genius Hour Guidebook giveaway. Four teachers!

Mark Peterson
Colorado Springs, CO

Dean Meyer
Laingsburg, MI

Laurie Banks
Sandy, UT

Kelly Maggirias
Toronto, Canada

And thanks to everyone for the great comments throughout the site. Be sure to sign up for our occasional GHG newsletters (left margin, at the bottom) where we’ll share news of our latest useful content.

Here are a few articles you might find interesting:

Some FAQs about the Genius Hour concept

Videos That Genius Hour Teachers Love

The Genius Hour Creativity Rubric

Why Gallit & Denise Wrote the Book

Book discount!

For a limited time, readers of this post can receive a discount of 20% by ordering the Genius Hour Guide at the publisher’s website. Just enter the code MWEB1.

Genius Hour Guide

The Genius Hour Guidebook: Passion, Wonder and Inquiry in the Classroom is co-authored by Denise Krebs & Gallit Zvi and published by Routledge Eye on Education, in partnership with MiddleWeb.com. Learn more about the book.

23 Responses

  1. Jo Green says:

    My first trials of GH for Yr1 was about choice. Coding, maths problems, or script writing. End of term4 we also had furniture disassembly/reassembly, maths morphed into a number strategy discussion forum!

    • Denise Krebs says:

      I’d love to hear more about how you did Genius Hour; I especially like the notion of disassembling furniture. I’m sure students would be all over that! In my class, after letting the children make their own choices in Genius Hour, it gave us all freedom to have more choices in every other subject. Thanks for visiting, Jo!

  2. Tricia Reyes says:

    I read the Creativity Rubric to get an idea of the kinds of things students should be focused on during Genius Hour. I’ve been looking for more of a guide for my class–we do GH every Friday. While students love this time, I’m always searching in Joy Kirr’s “livebinder” for a comprehensive rubric that breaks down tasks, as well as guides students through the process of all of their great ideas. The Creativity Rubric is wonderful, and I see myself using it next week! It will really help.
    My students keep track of their momentum as well as give them accountability too. Thanks for the great post!

    • Denise Krebs says:

      Thanks, Tricia. We like the Creativity Rubric too. It’s great for students to see how they are doing on those skills and mindsets needed for success.

      May I make a suggestion before you use it on Friday? Let the students re-design it. Ask them to research and define those qualities–like ambiguity, persistence, originality, etc. Then when they understand them, they can write their own descriptors of what they should look like when they are successful. In addition, perhaps in their research, they will find other important characteristics that are missing from the rubric. Let them add those. If they re-design the rubric, they will own it! Have a great new year with Genius Hour and your amazing students!

      By the way, Joy’s Live Binder is amazing, isn’t it!?
      Denise

  3. We so cherish our Genius Hour time in my classroom! My students do their best thinking, learning, collaborating, and curious-ing when they are in charge. The Creativity Rubric is awesome! I would love to use it, or something like it, to help my students self-assess both work habits and innovation.

    • Denise Krebs says:

      Kate,
      Thanks for stopping by. Amen to that: “when they are in charge” is so key, isn’t it? As I suggest to Tricia in the comment above, let them be in charge of that creativity rubric before you use it! It will be much more powerful if they design their own rubric to assess their work habits and innovation, as you say.

      Have a great new year!
      Denise

  4. S. McKay says:

    I started using the concept of Genius Hour last year with my gifted class. I was really happy with the process but the students were not as happy with the final “products”. I am looking for ways to refine the entire “project” with my class this year. I will be starting again with another class of grade five students in January. The creativity rubric very much matches the rubric I use for creativity in the gifted program.

    • Denise Krebs says:

      Hi,
      I have a question about the students who aren’t happy with the final products. I’m curious if you have given them deadlines? If they feel they didn’t have enough time to finish, they might not be pleased with their work. I had one group that each week just wanted to keep working on the movie they were producing. I let them continue until they felt finished–six weeks of Genius Hour. They were very proud of their movie.

      Also, if it’s because it was too hard and they feel like they failed, hopefully it may lead to another project in the future–either something more reasonable for their developmental level or something where they take extra care and time, building on the mistakes they made on their last attempt. For instance, last summer I tried my hand at re-upholstering an old chair at my sister’s house. I wasn’t happy with the results, but I had to leave her house and go home to mine. I’m already planning to re-re-upholster that chair next summer.

      When they have chosen the project and the final product, I’m wondering why they aren’t happy with the results? Did you get any insights from them?

      You will definitely be refining each time you work on Genius Hour. Just like everything, as teachers, we are the lead learners! Best wishes!

      Denise

  5. Sandi says:

    “No longer is the teacher a dispenser of all knowledge, but students must be entrusted to make learning their own. Students need to do the hard work of critical thinking, creating, and contributing.” Amen! Love this! I hope to encourage others to entrust students with learning! Thank you!

  6. Angela says:

    I’m a kindergarten teacher taking the plunge into Genius Hour with my kinders. I love the mindset change that happens when engaging with Genius Hour. The sentences, “Become the chief learner. Embrace the joy of learning in your classroom,” evoke that sense of energy and excitement for the teacher as a learner. Amazing things can happen when we, as teachers, release control.

  7. Ben Jones says:

    Read the why behind writing the book. Love the idea of fearless learners and how GH brings that out of students. We implemented GH in 4th and 5th grade for all students this year. On December 8th, students had a the great experience to present their projects to many people at our GH Extravaganza. It was a great success (see video our local paper did https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjsT6NMEqXo).

    Our next step is to move more towards improving the world with our work and our ideas. Also, I want to ensure that teachers are finding ways to attach the importance of students’ passions to the work they do the other 30ish hours of the week.

  8. Cara W says:

    I read the FAQs and Joy Kirr’s Afterword. The quote shared there sums up why I am excited about Genius Hour: “Genius Hour is a baby step, part of the journey to flipping your classroom on its head
    and handing the learning over to the children.” Generating excitement, making learning authentic, and putting students in control are three of the things I always strive for in my classroom. I’m looking forward to reading more of this book.

    • Gallit Zvi says:

      Hi Cara,

      I am so glad you brought up this quote–it is one of my favourites! Genius Hour definitely was a first step toward a more student-centred classroom for me! It led me on a journey to learning more about inquiry-based learning, project-based learning, etc. Lots of positive changes because of it!

      Thanks for bringing this up. Happy New Year!

      Gallit

  9. Steve Bamford says:

    We did Genius Hour this year for the first time and were blown away by some of the things the children produced. Others, however, struggled to come up with an idea and although I used similar ideas to the “Student Brainstorming Tool” they still struggled. I think that it is a great resource as it puts down in writing all of those things and I’m sure it will help springboard them to an idea. It is definitely something that I will try this year to help those that struggle with “ideas”.

    • Denise Krebs says:

      Steve,
      I also like that the ideas that blow us away also blow away their peers. I think excellence is contagious in those situations. During the next round of Genius Hour the strugglers will have new motivation to choose something they are passionate about. That is really what blows me away–when a student stands up in front sharing with such conviction and love for their project.

      Thanks,
      Denise

  10. Dean M. says:

    I’m excited about Genius Hour this year as my students have already participated last year. This year my focus is steering them towards game design integrating social studies or science. I know that goes against the passion aspect of students choosing their own ideas, but they did that last year. I hope to learn more about genius hour and to better integrate my teacher goals with students’ interests. This year’s group will get to choose their topic, but within a limited spectrum. I hope that’s not terrible.

  11. Derek says:

    Would love to try genius hour in my class. The book would be a great guide to start.

  12. Elizabeth Queiroz says:

    I just read about Genius Hour after reading A.J. Juliani´s book Inquiry and Innovation in the Classroom. I heard about 20% time about after reading Drive which led me to Juliani´s book and the concept of Genius Hour for elementary students. I currently teach 4th grade and am so excited to implement Genius Hour but still don´t really know where to to start.

    • Denise Krebs says:

      Elizabeth,
      So glad you are ready to jump in! We think our book is a good starting place for beginners. 🙂 However, you might want to read around in the go-to Genius Hour LiveBinder, created by Joy Kirr: tinyurl.com/GHLivebinder

      Then if you have any questions, ask on Twitter with the hashtag #geniushour. Someone will definitely answer!

      Thanks,
      Denise

  13. Andy Liebermann says:

    As a teacher on call I’ve seen Genius hour in many classes over several years. Most students are really engaged in their work. Last month I was fortunate enough to see a few students present their projects. I’ve never seen students so excited to present. I had a dozen all jump up asking to present first. Those that didn’t get a chance to present that day were very disappointed that they would have to wait. They spoke passionately about their subjects. I was amazed at their work and was excited myself to see both the finished product and learn about the processes they had undertaken. Projects ranged from dogs to a working electric motor to a longboard, and I only saw a few. I wasn’t entirely convinced before, but seeing the finished products shows me that I have to implement Genius Hour when I have my own classroom.

  14. Denise Krebs says:

    Andy,
    That is so exciting to hear! That has always been my experience with Genius Hour presentations. Not always the case when it’s time to present other oral reports, is it?

    Best wishes to you in your future classroom. The students will get to start right away with a teacher who understands more about the learning process. That is awesome!

    Denise

  15. Kimberly says:

    Hi…Just a comment about the price of the book. I am excited to begin a Genius Hour in my classroom, but the book’s price point at $30 is really cost prohibitive on a teacher’s salary! I pay for everything in my classroom, down to staples and paper clips. I was looking forward to reading this book to implement in my class, but I’ll have to get snippets from the website instead.

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