The Very First #GeniusHour Chat – March 2012

In March of 2012, Denise Krebs and I co-hosted our very first #geniushour chat on twitter.  We were so excited. It was a wonderful first chat. Back then we didn’t use the Q1, A1 format that most chats use, but instead we just talked for an hour about whatever themes that came up from the participants.

Click here for the archive of this chat.

The themes that emerged were:

  • Our why for doing Genius Hour. @Hughtheteacher shared that he was attracted to Genius Hour because of “how simple an idea it was…let children learn what they want and see the magic in [their] eyes” and because “it matched our “sd36learn philosophy of keeping learners at centre”.  Six years later and this is all still true. Genius Hour truly is a simple idea that has magical results and it does indeed keep learners and their interests/passions/inquiries at the centre.
  • The origins of Genius Hour. The original post about Genius Hour by Dan Pink was shared.  In this post, Pink explains how a credit union in WA began giving their employees an hour per week for Genius Hour (similar to 20% time at Google). This is what inspired many educators to do Genius Hour or 20% time with their students.
  • We also chatted about grading/assessment and how we were going to make that work for Genius Hour. Some folks shared that they were assessing the oral presentations part of the project, some shared that they would assess the writing part since students were blogging about their projects (most teachers shared that their students were blogging in some capacity).

    I am happy to report that since this chat took place 6 years ago a lot has changed in my school district (Surrey SD36) and we don’t have to hand out letter grades anymore for students K-7 so I am not worried about “grading” anymore. What we do instead is give continuous, timely, meaningful feedback and conference with the students about next steps in learning.  We also focus a lot on self assessment, especially as it applies to the core competencies (communication, critical thinking, creative thinking, personal and social responsibility, etc). But even back then many of us said that we were more concerned with students’ self assessments on their Genius Hour learning than on giving marks/grades.

  • And we also talked about how we set up Genius Hour and how much time we were all giving it (or planning on giving it). An hour per week was the usual time frame.

There weren’t that many participants – it was our first #geniushour chat ever – but it was great and it was where & when we decided to make the chat a monthly occurrence! We committed to returning to the hashtag in a month’s time and six years later we still have our exciting monthly #geniushour chats.

Denise and Gallit still co-moderate them but often have exciting guest hosts! Join in on the first Thursday of each month at 6 pm pacific time/8 central/9 eastern, US time.

Gallit Zvi

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 Technology & Genius Hour: My Journey as a Teacher and Learner.