If connecting learning to student's passions and interests is the master's skill of teaching, then a concept called "Genius Hour "may be the master stroke. Borrowed from Google's policy of allowing staff to spend 20% of their work week on the pet project of their choice, teachers are reporting profound changes in student engagement and student motivation where Genius Hour is used. Moreover, they are finding that the quality of learning is radically more authentic than learning driven solely by desire to get good grades.
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Joy Kirr currently teaches 7th grade LA & Literature in a suburb of Chicago, first as a special education teacher working with deaf & hard of hearing students, and next a reading specialist & nationally board certified. Hugh McDonald is a father, grade 6/7 teacher, learner, collaborator, and sports enthusiast. Gallit Zvi is an elementary school teacher in Surrey, BC, Canada. She is the co-moderator of the Genius Hour wiki and the #geniushour chat on twitter. Denise Krebs is the chief learner in her middle school classes at a small Catholic school in rural Iowa.