Genius Hour 20% Time: Best Practices Inspire Creativity Not Chaos

Genius Hour 20% Time: Best Practices Inspire Creativity Not Chaos

Angela Maiers @angelamaiers

  • autonomy and empowerment

Erin Klein @kleinerin

  • How do passion projects look in practice?
  • Learning space and environment are important
  • Plants, natural lighting, things at eye level
  • Students need to be a part of CREATING the environment
  • Sharing so much because of the comfortable environment

Don Wettrick @donwettrick

  • Granted a class for genius hour instead of 20% time (Innovations Class)
  • Passion based learning
  • Start with “If I gave you an hour a day to work on anything you want to work on, what would it be?”
  • Students researched their own standards
  • All-Star volleyball player- “What if I started a basketball/softball league for students with Down Syndrome?”
  • Met a lot of the student driven standards on her own.
  • Students know that they have a voice like no other with social media.
  • Opportunities Are Everywhere Project
  • Caring things home for the elderly, starting a program with church

Karen Lirenman @klirenman

  • When there are standards, how can you still give choice?
  • Variety of choices to learn the material and show their learning (1st grade)
  • We need to pay attention to the fact that standards are great, but not every student needs to learn the standard in the same way.
  • The Expert Projects- trying to foster their passion and curiosity at home and then bring in to present (ex. Minecraft projects)
  • Brings in families
  • Student choice is extremely important in the classroom; need problem servers who are constantly thinking outside the box. Need to pay attention to their ideas and do things that are not from the teacher.
  • Make a multimedia presentation on….. Students should have the choice to use any app or other piece of media.
  • Kids are going to have to go into the world and expect to lead, not follow. Need support, coaching, and modeling. This is how 20% time works the best.
  • 20% time is a struggle not to be a study hall. Takes a while to build the culture of the class to make the 20% time work.
  • Jobs are not created from standardized tests; they come from creative thinkers.

Sylvia Martinez @smartinez- author of Invent to Learn

  • Makerspace/Maker Movement
  • People who are taking back their own problems, finding affordable solutions and publishing their results on the internet. Allows for others to take the solution, use it, improve it and share it again.
  • Kids should be scientists today, not learn about being scientists at a later date.
  • Every hour should be genius hour
  • If you are doing things once a year, your design cycle is a year. Not giving yourself time to learn how to use the tools and improve upon them. Teachers can get better at learning as well.
  • Making is about a stance toward learning.

Brain Friendly Classroom Design

  • Creating an environment that allows for learning is important to help the environment. The students know how to behave in all environments.
  • Student voice, making sure they know that you understand they matter.

How does #geniushour fit with #choosetomatter?

  • Angela Maiers
  • Giving kids the opportunity to what do what they are willing to commit to for a length of time. Could be an hour, a week, a month, or a year.
  • What breaks your heart about the world and what can you do to help fix it?
  • Standing behind something that means more than an individual project
  • Students cannot choose from things they haven’t seen
  • Need to see great art, engineering, etc… (Take them on a train trip)

How do you assess as students do different things?

  • Karen Lirenman
  • Still need to have key concepts and look for the key concepts in anything that is being created. Students should understand and be able to show the key concepts.
  • Practice to hit goals in a multitude of projects. Never looking at it from one viewpoint.
  • Sylvia Martinez
  • Letting the project be the assessment is hard because people are not used to ut. That does not mean that it cannot be assessed.
  • If you design projects where reality is the assessment tool instead of the teacher, there is no need for the teacher to just give a grade.
  • Don Wettrick
  • Students decide the point total for a project (need to get 100 points to get an A). It is up to the students to create a proposal for the points and put a total in a written reflection what the points should look like.
  • Needs to present to an expert and other stakeholders before points were given.
  • Students can argue for point and passionately discuss what they think they learned.
  • Erin Klein
  • Assessment looks like a reading/writing/math workshop.
  • Peer conferencing
  • Notes on growth and projects (portfolio based assessment school)
  • Written reflections for personal growth
  • Gives students ownership of what they are doing. Allows them to internalize what they have done.
  • How do I feel about the work I have done?
  • Angela Maiers
  • What if we take the mindset that everyone already has an A and then discuss how a student can keep the A?
  • That is married to the world and workforce.
  • Technology allows them to show the world their game tape. Assessment is about impact and students need to be assessed in real time and the real world (as the game is being played).
  • - a place to build passion
  • Drills and saws to put things together with foam before using the 3D printer

How does wearable computing impact #geniushour?

  • It is a tool, nothing else.
  • A part of student choice in the room- used the Glass to allow students to write code/apps
  • When you leverage things to make your school look good, you can get what you need in the classroom.

Creating pre-assessments for the different lessons to see what needs to be taught and what doesn’t it can open up more time for genius hour.

Feedback from the students at the end of the year can tell the teacher what can be improve or taken out.

Putting the students back in control of their own learning.

Gamified project- tables pulled together into a boardroom like atmosphere. Students did this on their own after the project started.


Innovated Ed- book by Don Wettrick

Transparency to students, parents, teachers

Listen to the voice of the students

We all have something someone else in the world needs and we need to convince the students of that.

Use tech that matters and is amazing. Do not just look at tech as only a tool and the tool does not matter as much.

  • Complexity is not a terrible thing.

Start small and pick one area that you could give up

  • Maybe it is assigned seating. Let them make choices and see the consequences of the choices.

Getting started means trying it yourself and being transparent and vulnerable to the students.

Bring three things back from a conference, not 50.

  • Move forward a little bit everyday

40 Apps Educators Shouldn't Live Without
Simple K-12 List

  • Google Search
  • TED - ability to download the videos so that they can be viewed without WIFI
  • Dragon Dictation - speech to text
  • Animoto - video editing
  • Edmodo - class management
  • Kalkulilo (ipad), Mobi Calculator (Android)
  • Google Drive
  • Eat-and-move-o-matic (iPad) - health
  • Calori Counter - My fitness Pal (Android)
  • Socrative Teacher/Student - classroom management - good for formative assessment
  • Duolingo
  • PBS Parents Play & Learn - elementary math and literacy
  • NASA App - Science
  • Poetry from the Poetry Foundation - audio version of poem, search for poems by emotions
  • Quick Graph (iPad), Graphing Calculator by Mathlab (Android)
  • Class Dojo - Behaviour Management
  • Lino - Brainstorming
  • Spelling City
  • Science 360 - high res digital images related to Science and Engineering
  • History Pin - check geographic locations and see how they have changed over time (100 year period)
  • Wunderlist - organization
  • Project Noam - flora and fauna
  • Virtual Tour: Library of Congress
  • Go To Meeting - webinars
  • iTunes U
  • Quizlet - Flashcards
  • Kindle - e-reading
  • Evernote - online notebooks
  • Zite - Education News, create your own newsfeed
  • Sock Puppets - digital storytelling
  • - use for vocabulary, word of the day
  • Space Images - science, hd images, linked to each other
  • Groovy Grader (ipad), iGradr Teacher Pocket Grader (Android) - grading scale
  • Sphere 360 - Panoramic photography
  • Bloomberg - Finance/Math
  • Khan Academy - video tutorial
  • History Maps
  • Stack the States

Great List of Blog Posts for #ISTE2014

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