Genius Hour with Guest, Andi McNair

gtchat 07122016 Genius Hour

 

 

This week, #gtchat welcomed Texas educator, Andi McNair, to chat about Genius Hour. Andi was named one of the Top People in Education to Watch in 2016 by the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences.  She is currently in the process of writing her first book about Genius Hour which will be released in the Spring of 2017. You can read more about her here.

The idea of ‘genius hour’ originated at Google as a business model that sparked innovation where engineers are allotted 20% of their work week to work on personal projects about which they are passionate. It is directly credited with the creation of Gmail and Google News. The potential benefits for education were soon realized and today it is being rolled out in classrooms across the country.

To get started with Genius Hour, Andi explained, “Help students understand what passion is and find out what they are interested in learning more about.” It’s important that teachers have done their homework before starting a new program. A willingness to forge new paths in education can contribute to the success of Genius Hour. Teachers can explore the many resources available for Genius Hour online at the links provided below.

The 6 Ps of Genius Hour are Passion, Pitch, Plan, Project, Product, Presentation. The emphasis on passion affirms the need for students to be inspired to follow their passions.

6 Ps of Genius Hour via Andi McNair

6 Ps of Genius Hour (Photo courtesy of Andi McNair)

There are occasionally some challenges faced by teachers trying to implement Genius Hour in their schools. Andi told us, “One challenge is convincing your administration that Genius Hour is meaningful and relevant in the classroom. Also, teachers need to be okay with the chaos and failure that happens during [the initial phase of] Genius Hour; realizing that this is often when the best learning happens.” We hear a lot about mindsets today. Genius Hour requires a willingness to set aside the worksheets and embark on a new mission. However, teachers must be cognizant of budget constraints when planning any new program; this includes Genius Hour.

Can teachers meet standards using Genius Hour and still have time for content instruction? According to Andi, “Definitely.  Weaving the standards into student projects gives students an opportunity to apply standards in real life situations. The standards are so much more meaningful when they are applied and Genius Hour is the perfect opportunity to allow students to do so.” Online resources are plentiful which acknowledge the need to integrate standards into any new instruction method. Delivery of content must be viewed through a new prism; many gifted students need guidance rather than direct instruction.

What outcomes should teachers expect from using Genius Hour? Andi answered by saying, “Teachers can expect their students to become thinkers, problem solvers, and innovators. They will see many students that have not been successful suddenly become interested and motivated to learn by doing.” One of the best outcomes for their students in a higher level of self-awareness and subsequently self-confidence. When students follow their dreams/passions, they ultimately have the potential to achieve at higher levels. A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

gtchat-logo-new bannner

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at Noon (12.00) NZST/10.00 AEST/1.00 UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered        by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

 

Links:

Andi McNair’s Blog: A Meaningful Mess

What is Genius Hour? – Introduction to Genius Hour in the Classroom (YouTube 3:09)

Genius Hour Website

The Genius Hour Guidebook: Fostering Passion, Wonder & Inquiry in the Classroom (Amazon)

Pure Genius: Building a Culture of Innovation & Taking 20% Time to the Next Level (Amazon)

Genius Hour 6 Ps (pdf)

6 Ps of Passion Projects

Learning from Experts – Five Ways to Connect Your Students with Outside Experts

Genius Hour…Just Keeps Getting Better

12 Most Genius Questions in the World

The 37 Best Websites to Learn Something New

20% Class Time in Two Minutes (YouTube 2:00)

Introducing 20% Time in Your Classroom (YouTube 1:39)

Genius Hour (YouTube 3:58)

Kicking Off Genius Hour – A Guide

#GeniusHour : What Students Think

Genius Hour Mini-Documentary (YouTube 12:27)

The 4 Essentials of a Successful Genius Hour

Cybraryman’s Genius Hour Page

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Your Rainforest Mind with Guest, Paula Prober

gtchat 06282016 Rainforest

 

Do you long to drive a Ferrari at top speed on the open road, but find yourself always stuck on the freeway during rush hour? Do you wonder how you can feel like “not enough” and “too much” at the same time? Like the rain forest, are you sometimes intense, multilayered, colorful, creative, overwhelming, highly sensitive, complex, and/or idealistic? And, like the rain forest, have you met too many chainsaws? ~ Paula Prober, MS, MEd

For a change of pace, this week #gtchat discussed gifted adults – you know … the kids who grew up! Not surprisingly, many of the issues facing gifted youth are present long into adulthood. Author Paula Prober joined us to discuss her new book, Your Rainforest Mind, from GHF Press.

Your Rainforest Mind – also the name of Paula’s Blog – is a metaphor used to describe the gifted mind: complex, creative, sensitive, intense, lively, colorful and misunderstood. Paula finds that it helps people get what giftedness is without the stigma. She explained, “The rainforest is the most complex ecosystem. It has the ability to contribute in a big way. It is not better than others; just more complex.”

What strategies can be used to address heightened sensitivities; sometimes referred to as overexcitabilities? Paula suggested, “Self-acceptance, understanding, self-soothing, relaxation strategies, mindfulness and artistic expression” can all be used. Additional strategies mentioned by Paula included, “time in nature, spiritual practices, talking to a friend, or visualization of a container to hold emotions.” She also indicated that it is important to identify anxiety triggers such as noise, visuals, textures, criticism, empathy or family members. If necessary, you should attempt to reduce exposure to these things.

Positive outcomes are possible when Rainforest Mind adults learn to redirect their passion.  Paula pointed out first one must realize having lots of passions is not dysfunctional or shallow. Rather, it is more about multipotentiality. What this means for careers is that it’s okay to change paths over one’s lifetime; look for a job with variety depth  and challenge. Be creative in crafting a career that works for you. With regard to parenting, recognize that having a Rainforest Mind is a complex challenge on many levels. Paula also recommends keeping a journal of ideas so they don’t get lost, growing self-acceptance and prioritizing time for intellectual stimulation.

Perfectionism – a topic we’ve covered several times on chat – is a concern for Rainforest Minds. First and foremost, know the difference between healthy (intrinsic) and unhealthy (extrinsic) perfectionism. It is best to aim for harmony, balance, justice and precision; all associated with intrinsic perfectionism. A person needs to prioritize what’s worthy of striving for ‘perfect’ and what can just be excellent or even mediocre because it is not important. Extrinsic perfectionism comes from early pressure to achieve, please others, to not disappoint or from dysfunctional family behaviors.

Should adults consider being tested for giftedness if they were not identified as a child? In most cases, Paula told us that it is not necessary. Whether or not you possess a Rainforest Mind can generally be determined from traits. Also, tests are not always accurate. A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

gtchat-logo-new bannner

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at Noon (12.00) NZST/10.00 AEST/1.00 UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered        by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults & Youth (Amazon)

Your Rainforest Mind (Paula’s Blog)

Your Rainforest Mind (Paula’s Website)

Understanding Your Rainforest Mind Counseling & Gifted Adults (pdf)

GHF Press

Gifted Homeschoolers Forum

The “I” of the Beholder: A Guided Journey to the Essence of a Child Roeper (Amazon)

Bright Adults: Uniqueness and Belonging across the Lifespan by Ellen Fiedler (Amazon)

Overexcitabilities — Can’t Live With Them, Can’t Live Without Them

Quiet Revolution (Susan Cain – website)

It’s Not the End of the World: Developing Resilience in Times of Change (Amazon)

Gifted Shmifted

Perfectionism’s Twin Sister

When Gifted Kids Don’t Have All the Answers (Amazon)

Living with Intensity (Amazon)

“Perfectionism” with Guest, Lisa Van Gemert

Refuse to Choose!: Use All of Your Interests, Passions, and Hobbies to Create the Life and Career of Your Dreams (Amazon)

Puttylike: A Home for Multipotentialites!

Rebels at Work

Beautiful Imperfections

The Motivation for Perfectionism

Sprite’s Site: White Poodle, Black Poodle

The Gifted Adult: A Revolutionary Guide for Liberating Everyday Genius (Amazon)

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Where’s the ‘OFF’ Button? Helping Parents of Young Gifted Children

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Parenting young gifted children can be a challenge! This week we looked at the intensities these kids bring into the world around them. It’s often lamented that they do not fit into society’s notion of how children should act or react. Parents describe them as ‘more’ in every aspect of their lives and it can be exhausting for everyone involved. So … where is that ‘off’ button and do you really want to push it?

One of the first telltale signs of giftedness is a child’s extremely early proclivity to ask questions; a lot of questions. And not just simple questions. Oftentimes, asynchronous development leads to highly intuitive and complex questioning of practically everything. Parents quickly realize that the age-old argument of nature vs. nurture is a false dichotomy. The best way to foster their child’s giftedness is to nurture nature and provide them with an exceptional learning environment in which those questions can be answered; no matter how often or how many. As author Christine Fonseca tells us, “we must remind ourselves that they are curious; and that’s a good thing!”

 

gtchat OFF Button Fonseca

 

In their book BLOOM, authors Dr. Lynne Kenney and Wendy Young compare intense children to flowers in a garden. Consider the quote below from the introduction when thinking about your gifted child.

 

gtchat OFF Button Roses

 

The intensity experienced by young gifted children extends beyond their insatiable curiosity and unfortunately can affect their relationships with adults as well as age-peers. The fact that they are labeled as gifted cannot be an excuse for bad behavior. One of the most important lessons we need to teach our children is how to optimize interpersonal relationships in a way that benefits all involved.

To nurture the qualities necessary to succeed in relationships, adults should explore the concepts of empathy, high expectations, emotional intensity and social justice with the child. Discuss emotional intensity in a positive light. Don’t minimize the child’s feelings; respect them.

A characteristic such as bossiness is viewed as highly unfavorable; especially when directed towards teachers or other adults. Young children who are highly intelligent may not yet understand the nuance between being bossy and  qualities associated with leadership.  Gifted children often have a wide breadth of knowledge leading them to be criticized as a ‘know-it-all’. It’s important to guide them to know how to temper their approach to those around them. Gifted kids need to harness their abilities and learn to appreciate others’ viewpoints.

Navigating age-peer relationships with kids who don’t understand their intensity can be a source of angst for a gifted child. To nurture the qualities necessary to succeed in relationships, adults should explore the concepts of empathy, high expectations, emotional intensity and social justice with the child. Discuss emotional intensity in a positive light. Don’t minimize the child’s feelings; respect them.

Sleep is often a major concern for parents of gifted children. Some research suggests that gifted children need less sleep; but they still need sleep and so do their parents! As with most advice on parenting, it rarely works for gifted kids. It is usually a case of trial and error to find what works best for each child. And sometimes; nothing works. If and when it begins to affect everyday life … inability to complete school assignments, being habitually late to school, displaying inappropriate emotional responses … a parent may need to consult a professional who is familiar with giftedness for help. Otherwise, the risk of misdiagnosis can lead to inappropriate interventions.

Talk to your child about giftedness. Explore ways to co-exist in a world that doesn’t always appreciate being gifted. Emphasized to them that being gifted is not being better than someone else; it’s simply about being different.

It’s important to not assume that young gifted children understand the nature of giftedness. It’s more than just being smart. Talk to your child about giftedness. Explore ways to co-exist in a world that doesn’t always appreciate being gifted. Emphasized to them that being gifted is not being better than someone else; it’s simply about being different. It is experiencing life in a way that doesn’t always conform to social norms.

Does it ever get better? Is there light at the end of the tunnel? Gifted kids do grow up. They will probably continue to be intense, but they have the maturity to deal with it. Yes, it does get better. There is hope for a good night’s sleep. You may eventually even miss those early years! A transcript of this chat can be found at Storify.

gtchat-logo-new bannner

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at Noon (12.00) NZST/10.00 AEST/1.00 UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered        by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Links:

Giftedness & Emotional Intensity

Don’t Ride the Wave 

The “Up” Side to Being Intense

The “Up” Side to Being Intense (Part 2)

Tips for Working with Emotional Intensity

Dino Obsession: Intellectual Overexcitability In Action

Channeling Intensity Through Creative Expression

Living With Intensity (Amazon)

Gifted Children: Emotionally Immature or Emotionally Intense?

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students (Amazon)

101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids (Amazon)

If This is a Gift, Can I Send it Back? (Amazon)

BLOOM: 50 Things to Say, Think & Do with Anxious, Angry & Over-the-Top Kids

Tips to Help Your Gifted Child Fall Asleep

Sprite’s Site: Memory Elephant in Overdrive

Sprite’s Site: Talkfest

Sprite’s Site: Perchance to Dream

Sprite’s Site: Stories of the OEs

Cybraryman’s Dealing with Children Page

Cybraryman’s Sleep Page

Cybraryman’s Parenting Gifted Children Page

Strategies for Dealing with Overexcitabilities

Young Gifted Children

Laughing at Chaos Blog

Storynory (Free Audio Stories)

Living and Learning with Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities OR “I Can’t Help It – I’m Overexcitable!” (pdf)

Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page: Young Gifted Children

Davidson Institute: FAQs about Extreme Intelligence in Very Young Children

Picture courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Public Domain

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Design Thinking with Guest, Krissy Venosdale

gtchat 06142016 Design Thinking

 

Our guest today was Krissy Venosdale, Innovation Coordinator at The Kinkaid School in Houston, TX. You can learn more about Krissy at her website.

For this week’s chat, the second chat in our #gtchat Professional Development Summer Series, we wanted to look at design thinking, makerspaces and deep learning as they relate to gifted education. Design Thinking can be thought of as a process; a ‘way of thinking’. It enables you to face and answer challenges. The steps to be followed are Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test. As Krissy explained, Design Thinking “originated from the idea that we must know our users when we create for them – an excellent way to get kids thinking about others!” Michael Buist, a 5th grade teacher at the Knox Gifted Academy reminded us, “many GT/2E kids see the world in more intricate ways than most of us ever will.” A great reason why Design Thinking resonates with many of them.

When it come to resources, Krissy told us that, “You can find them free online. Think of the steps as a structure and make it work for your classroom.” When considering professional development, Krissy said, “form a group of teachers to try it with; share ideas; support each other. Read a guide together.” Although resources are important, design thinking is more a mindset to re-imagine how we view education.

The discussion then turned to Design Thinking challenges which are an open-ended format that works well for events and  competitions. Krissy explained, “Design Challenges can be as quick as, design a boat with a piece of paper that will hold as many paperclip passengers as possible or as complex as, design and build an invention to improve the campus recycling issue. [And] the beauty? No limits in Design Thinking; it’s open ended and INVITES kids to imagine, create, and explore. Things deep-thinkers LOVE!”

“Just don’t think of Design Thinking as “one more thing to do. It’s an oven to bake the learning in. Tastes better than a microwave!” ~ Krissy Venosdale

Can Design Thinking be integrated with gifted education models? As a pedagogy directed at creating innovation, it can be integrated into pull-outs, stand-alones as well as independent studies. Design Thinking gives gifted students the opportunity to explore passions and decide on priorities. DT challenges speak to the academic mindset and can be initiated in multi-age, cross curricular environments. According to Krissy, “Design Thinking is a totally natural fit in gifted education. Process is emphasized, along with creativity; and thinking outside the box. It breaks down the walls of perfectionism. You aren’t worried about being right if iteration is encouraged.”

At this point in the chat, many participants were already hinting at the synergy between Design Thinking and ‘making’. Design Thinking serves as a catalyst to making; a framework to understanding the process of making. Krissy excitedly pointed out, “Design Thinking is all about the process, iterating, prototyping… maker mindset galore! Joy and play belong, too! Maker mindset BELONGS in gifted programs. GT programs need to be the MOST INNOVATIVE places on campus.”

“Too many kids are starving for creativity like little birds with their mouths open.. waiting. It’s time to FEED them. All of these new ideas, can give gifted education a much needed refresh and update! “ ~ Krissy Venosdale

How does design thinking affect deeper learning; a much desired requisite for gifted education?Deeper Learning is a mix of knowledge; critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills. It facilitates learning how to learn; an intricate part of deeper learning. A transcript of this chat may be found at Storify.

gtchat-logo-new bannner

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at Noon (12.00) NZST/10.00 AEST/1.00 UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered        by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

 

Links:

Launch: Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity & Bring Out the Maker in Every Student (Amazon)

Design Thinking in Education: Empathy, Challenge, Discovery & Sharing

An Educator’s Guide to Design Thinking (pdf)

Design Thinking in Schools

Designers: Think Big! (TED Talk 16:50)

45 Design Thinking Resources for Educators

How the Maker Movement Is Moving Into Classrooms

The Design Thinking Toolkit for Educators (Email req’d for download)

Design Thinking in the Primary & Elementary Grades via @krissyvenosdale

5-Minute Film Festival: Design Thinking in Schools 

Design Thinking in Schools: An Emerging Movement Building Creative Confidence in our Youth

Design Thinking Projects and Challenges

Culture by Design

Embracing Failure as a Necessary Part of Deeper Learning

The Deeper Learning Network (pdf)

Teaching Kids Design Thinking, So They Can Solve the World’s Biggest Problems

How to Apply Design Thinking, HCD, UX or Any Creative Process from Scratch

Krissy Venosdale’s Blog

Makerology at KrissyVenosdale.com

Stanford Webinar – Design Thinking = Method, Not Magic (YouTube 49:31)

Design Challenge Learning

Design Thinking in Action

What Kind of Challenges Can be Addressed Using Design Thinking?

How is Design Thinking Being Implemented in the Business World?

The Virtual Crash Course in Design Thinking

Cybraryman’s Design Thinking Page

Cybraryman’s Empathy Page

Bootcamp Bootleg (pdf)

Montclair State University Gifted and Talented

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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