genius hour with lauren lavelle

Genius Hour 2.0 with Lauren LaVelle

Episode 813 | 10 Minute Teacher Podcast 🎙️How can genius hour engage students in creation, innovation, and learning?

In this episode of the 10 Minute Teacher podcast, host Vicki Davis sits down with Lauren Lavelle to discuss the transformative educational approach known as Genius Hour 2.0. Recorded live at ISTE, the conversation delves into how Genius Hour has been revamped and integrated into the sixth-grade curriculum, offering students a full-year exploratory course that goes beyond traditional learning. Vicki and Lauren also touch on the importance of generational connectedness in education, emphasizing how mentors and older students can offer invaluable perspectives. Additionally, the episode explores the role of blogging in the Genius Hour process, serving as a tool for reflection and continuous improvement. 

Lauren Lavelle genius hour

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This week's guest

Lauren Lavelle is an innovative educator and teacher-leader with twenty years of experience across K-12 settings. Currently in an Instructional Technology Coach & Staff Developer role. Recognized as an open-minded, creative ideator that fosters collaboration with teachers, administrators, and community members. Key strengths include relationship-building and growing a team's creative capacity rooted in the design thinking mindsets. Described as self-motivated and highly organized. Focused on designing project-based learning units with an interdisciplinary approach.

Notes

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Key Segments in this Podcast

Introduction to Genius Hour 2.0

Timestamp: 00:00:44:20 – 00:01:08:15

Description: Lauren Lavelle talks about the next iteration of Genius Hour, called Genius Hour 2.0, and how it's integrated into the sixth-grade curriculum.

The Importance of Generational Connectedness

Timestamp: 00:02:55:25 – 00:03:21:17

Description: Vicki Davis discusses the concept of generational connectedness and how it's important for students to see that they're part of a bigger world.

Blogging as a Reflective Process

Timestamp: 00:03:57:44 – 00:04:16:57

Description: Lauren explains that students are blogging throughout the Genius Hour process, focusing on reflection and continuous improvement.

Real-world Genius Hour Projects

Timestamp: 00:08:05:02 – 00:08:36:38

Description: Lauren shares an example of a student who created a pedaling system under his desk that also charges his Chromebook, exemplifying the real-world application of Genius Hour projects.

Transcript

00:00:00:00 – 00:00:20:24

John:

This is the 10 Minute Teacher podcast with your host, Vicki Davis.

Vicki Davis – EVERFI – Today’s Sponsor:

Looking to revolutionize your classroom with exciting, interactive, and free digital lessons? Stay tuned to learn how EVERFI can empower you to bring real-world skills to your students, even if you're short on time. Take a step into the future of education with EVERFI, right after today's show.

Genius Hour.

00:00:20:24 – 00:00:44:15

Vicki:

I love Genius Hour, and so does Lauren Lavelle. We are here at ISTE trying to bring ISTE to all of you. And Lauren, you are co-presenting with someone I have on a different show talking about AI. So tell me a little bit about this presentation, about how you and your co-presenter worked together. And then we will talk about Genius Hour, which is still just as in as it has ever been.

00:00:44:20 – 00:01:08:15

Lauren:

So our presentation, my friend and colleague Michael Davola, talking about Genius Hour 2.0, the next iteration.

Vicki:

So what is Genius Hour 2.0?

1

Lauren:

In where I work, I'm an instructional coach, and in our sixth grade we created a course two years ago where we have all of the sixth graders now take Genius Hour. Yeah.

Vicki:

So when you say take, do you mean like a whole semester or a couple of weeks? —

00:01:08:19 – 00:01:37:20

Lauren:

So it's part of a full-year exploratory course that we have, which includes some execu- tive functioning and just a kind of introduction to middle school team building.

Vicki:

So how long does the Genius Hour portion last?

Lauren:

I would say about three-fourths of the year.

Vicki:

Oh, wonderful. So why do you call it 2.0?

Lauren:

Two point 0, because of the fact that we have continued to make it even better than what it was before.

00:01:37:25 – 00:02:08:59

Lauren:

I think we're always learning and growing. We've added some features that have helped advance everything in every aspect. So, for example, we started with an entry event where we kind of have a big assembly, and the whole grade kind of gets a pre- view of what's to come.

2

Vicki:

So, with a video? Or some speeches? Samples?

Lauren:

So we had a presenter come just this year, Jesse Lubinsky, and talk to the whole grade about thinking outside the box, and being creative, and taking risks.

00:02:09:14 – 00:02:33:03

Lauren:

And then we also had the previous seventh graders come, a couple of them, and they presented and kind of just on a variety of topics. Because that could really still be a passion, interest, you know, something they want to change. When we do it, we also had mentors. So they kind of sit as mentors.

Vicki:

Are those other kids or are adults?

Lauren:

Typically an adult, typically somebody in the school. —

00:02:33:08 – 00:02:55:25

Vicki:

Okay.

Lauren:

Or in the school district, but it's also a parent.

Vicki:

Okay.

Lauren:

A lot of them connect with a mom or a dad and something that they have kind of have 3

attached to maybe their job or their profession. Yeah. And you know, one student in particular just really wants to stand as a mentor to such an amazing degree that his presentation was really so special.

00:02:55:25 – 00:03:21:17

Lauren:

And like, gave me the basics.

Vicki:

So I just want to mention in the book, Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds that I was part of writing. We talk about that part of flattening the classroom is generational connectedness. It is connecting with older generation, the younger generation, multi- generational because they are busy, help students see that they're part of a bigger world and not be so focused on their generation.

00:03:21:22 – 00:03:57:39

Vicki:

And that's what you're doing, which is fantastic because you've got kids from the pre- vious year presenting, you've got mentors. Okay. That's amazing. How else do you de- fine it as 2.0?

Lauren:

I think that they are also blogging throughout the process about the process. We fo- cus on the process over the product. So that blog it's focusing on not only what they think they did well on in the previous week, and they put some progress pictures in, but then they also talk about their goals moving forward, and they continuously check- in, and they check in with each other as well.

4

00:03:57:44 – 00:04:16:57

Vicki:

Oh Lauren, that’s fantastic. Because one of the things I am teaching my own teachers about living in the world with AI, I guess, is that we have to ask prompts that I cannot answer, which is reflection questions.

Lauren:

You are just exactly right.

Vicki:

I love that. And so, what you might say, and what platform you’re blogging on?

Lauren:

Google sites.

Vicki:

Okay, so your blog sounds cool. —

00:04:16:58 – 00:04:44:16

Vicki:

Okay. So they have their own each own individual Google site or one of these massive together?

Lauren:

They have their own individual blogs. And then, they put in a Google forms within it so that they can gain feedback from each other. They also have a thought partner that they are matched up with so that they can bounce ideas off of and we also categorize their topic so that they can also meet in groups with somebody or some people that are working on similar ideas.

5

00:04:44:21 – 00:05:10:36

Vicki:

Fantastic. You go through this process and then what's the final product? Are you ready to talk final product or is there like a midpoint?

Lauren:

They can seek feedback from not only their teacher but their peers. We use the proto- col of using the words, “Yes and” and building it to make it even better. And then eventually, once they work on their product and they're researching and learning and growing, then they have something to share with us.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Here's a lesson plan and information on using the “Yes And” protocol.


00:05:10:41 – 00: 05:37:38

Lauren:

But their presentation is what’s at the end. And it's typically a memorized presentation because you talk a lot about presentation skills. We also hope that it's memorized, but allow no cards for some. They have the Google slides automatically advancing behind them.

EDITOR’S TIP: Here’s how to make your slides advance automatically in Google Slides.

Vicki:

And so almost like a lightning presentation where it's forcing them to, oh, I'm going to use that right now. I may have to do that in my genius project.

FURTHER READING: Why you should give a lightning presentation

6

00:05:37:38 – 00:06:00:12

Vicki:

I like that. You know, kids can long-winded too, can’t they?

Lauren:

For Sure.

Vicki:

That's my problem with genius projects is those presentations. I say 3 minutes and 30 minutes later, your whole week is blown, and somebody can't stop presenting.

Lauren:

We said, 3 to 5 and time slides that are automatically advancing.

Vicki:

Handles it! —

00:06:00:17 – 00:06:42:22

Vicki:

Okay. And so they're presenting to their peers or to parents?

Lauren:

So everybody presents in their class. And then this is. we have had two full years of this. So it depends on where the teacher is at and how comfortable they are with it. They present, but they've also presented in the auditorium to everybody. Our next step is to include more of the parents, and we would like more of the teachers in the buildings also come.

Vicki:

So, as we finish up, give us just two or three examples, just like this this is what genius is about.

7

Lauren:

One would be about somebody who learned that it was more about the process and they were failing forward throughout and they had an idea and

00:06:42:22 – 00:07:02:56

Lauren:

it didn't work and then they tweaked it and then it did work. And that was just. They were trying to create something in their bedroom for a basketball hoop, and they were just trying to make it work, and it didn't. And then they realized this idea doesn't work at all and shifted gears and just didn't give up. I think we're so used to seeing students get frustrated and just, okay, tell me how to do this.

00:07:03:01 – 00:07:20:27

Lauren:

Right. And this process allows them to make those mistakes and then take risks and try again. And we support them along the way. And so did their thought partner and their different groups. So that one for sure. I think that is just a similar case in all of all of them.

Vicki:

So I want to mention something here. Productive struggle. —

00:07:20:36 – 00:07:42:52

Vicki:

For example, if you try to teach your kids swim, if you're always picking them back up, you know, and not letting them flail their arms a little bit or sometimes go under. I mean, you're watching them. But without that productive struggle, kids don’t learn to

8

swim and also don't learn to create genius projects. I just don't you have to let a little bit of that happen and so it's awesome that you allow that process to happen.

00:07:42:57 – 00:08:04:49

Lauren:

Yes. And then one, we try not to focus too much on the product, but there was one amazing product last year where the child worked with his father on creating an exer- cise like maybe a little pedaling system for under his desk while he was working, but at the same time would charge his Chromebook.

Vicki:

Oh. Oh, I love that. —

00:08:05:02 – 00:08:36:38

Vicki:

That's great. It actually works?

Lauren:

Yes. Yeah.

Vicki:

That's the kind of project we like to see. So Genius Hour 2.0. Thank you for coming on the show. Thanks for coming to ISTE and sharing all the knowledge.

Sponsor: Check Out the Free Lessons from EVERFI

Want to prepare your Students for Career and Life Success but short on time? Busy teachers use EVERFI’s standards-aligned research-based digital lessons recently awarded with the ISTE Seal for high-quality curriculum to teach students to thrive in an ever-changing world.

9

 

00:08:36:38 – 00:09:05:22

Unknown:

Interactive game-based lessons designed by experienced educators help you engage students at all grade levels and bring critical real-world skills like financial education, early literacy, character education, health and wellness, and more to your classroom. Thanks to partners, these lessons are free for all K-12 schools and students. With back- to-school season gearing up, now is an exciting time to give your students a jumpstart on their future.

00:09:05:22 – 00:09:29:09

Vicki:

Go to everfi.com/coolcat that's everfi.com/coolcat to learn more and sign up to get a virtual swag bag full of free goodies to get the school year off right to a great start. So sign up for EVERFI today.

John:

You've been listening to the ten minute teacher podcast. —

00:09:29:10 – 00:09:39:23

John Davis:

If you want more content from Vicki Davis, connect on Facebook, X.com, TikTok, Threads, Instagram, BlueSky, and YouTube at @coolcatteacher. Thank you for listening.

10 

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored podcast episode.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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