PROFESSIONAL READING

Genius Hour: Passion Projects That Ignite Innovation and Student Inquiry

175p. bibliog. further reading. photos. websites. Prufrock. Mar. 2017. pap. $21.95. ISBN 9781618216342.
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"Genius Hour" is an educational trend that focuses on the individual learner and allots regular class time for students to pursue a personal passion. The idea is based on the assumption that young people learn collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity when allowed to explore their interests. McNair lays out the six phases of Genius Hour in detail, with chapters devoted to "Passion," "Plan," "Pitch," "Project," "Product," and "Presentation." She also addresses troubleshooting and assessment. Each chapter ends with reflection questions and a list of technological resources that were discussed in the prior pages. Sample planning documents for students and teachers are included, too. In addition to offering a typical annotated bibliography, the book provides Genius Hour—related Twitter handles and hashtags. One drawback of the text is that McNair appears to have implemented this concept primarily with gifted students, so educators working with a wider variety of learning levels and styles may need to look elsewhere. Though the volume mentions standards, it doesn't get specific about them.
VERDICT Best for educators whose school administrators are already on board with Genius Hour, but anyone interested in the concept will find useful material within.

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