Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Why Genius Time?

Many years ago, when I taught seventh graders, I did an activity to help me learn more about them. One boy I will never forget. He shared with me that over the summer he won a ribbon at the fair for his apple pie. He made everything himself. The filling. The crust. It stuck with me for a few reasons: He was a boy (sexist, I know). Who taught him to make pie? Why did he want to learn this?

Later in the year, another boy brought me a piece of peanut butter cup pie that he made. Again, who, what, why?

Another year, I had a girl who taught herself to play guitar.

I've had students who aren't afraid to tear into their cars and fix something.

Others who have taught themselves new languages.

Last year, I had students who put together their own gaming computers.

And not one of these students learned any of this in school.

They read for information. They connect with others from whom they want to learn. They watch videos. They try and fail. They try again.

They learn amazing things and show that learning in incredible ways. And none of that learning is done in school.

And this is why, once again, I am introducing Genius Time to my freshmen. I want them to find their passions. I want them to learn about things they truly care about. I want them to try and fail and try again.

We're going to begin this week by watching a couple of videos explaining what genius time is. I also want to show them this.




Exploring our passions. Trying something new. Learning for learning's sake. That's why we'll do Genius Time again this year.

12 comments:

  1. Deb, they do learn this in school because of teachers like you who give them the freedom to explore, the courage to try and fail, your encouragement and allowing them to use the tools that are around them. Thank you for sharing.

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  2. A really genius idea! Our students can be so amazing! I think of the shy, kind of chubby girl who revealed she loved dancing salsa, and the girl who created lovely, fragile papel picado right before our eyes...

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  3. It's really wonderful you take time to do this, Deb. That is why my school runs the individual topic curriculums for students-they learn by studying their passions, just as you have noticed. I'm excited to hear more about these new students & what they're doing!

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  4. When I become reincarnated I want to occupy the body of a teenager in your class. This is awesome! That video is too fun! We all need the chance to follow a passion and learn from it.

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  5. I absolutely loved the video! Just might have to show that in class one day....

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    1. I love it too. I've watched it a lot. Can't wait to show to kids. We're going to have quite the discussion about learning :)

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  6. Makes you wonder why we need standards, doesn't it? Why can't all learning be like that?

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  7. I really, really want to do this with my students this year! I may be picking your brain later in the year! (We have to finish StoryBox and Global Read Aloud first!) Your post was the perfect introduction to why Genius Time is so important. I hope you've inspired some others to try it! :-)

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    1. Jenn, I'm definitely not an "expert" my personal genius time tends to be learning about genius time :) but I'll share anything I've learned. And you can share a little more about StoryBox!

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  8. I am learning more about this (I went to a session at edcamp) and thinking how this will look in First grade. It is so exciting and I believe you will share some of the amazing things that happen. Hurrah!

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  9. Yes, I'm so on board and want to join in the fun and learning -- learning with choice and purpose! And the video? Too perfect to set the stage!!! This is the learning I'm referring to in my slice tonight...yet, I feel confined in my role working with small groups of developing readers. How do I find this balance, or don't I? Thanks for sharing your genius -- because #YouMatter! Thanks for making a difference. :)

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  10. I love that you do this. I planned to adopt it this year but we haven't started it yet. We do something we call ISP (individual study points), but I want to make it more like genius time. Thanks for sharing your process with us!

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