Sunday, March 19, 2017

Pure Genius: Building a Culture of Innovation and Taking 20% Time to the Next Level

In classrooms across the nation, innovative teachers are employing passion-based, open-source learning to improve their student's education. In Pure Genius, Don Wettrick encourages teachers and administrators to collaborate--with experts, students, and one another--to create interesting, and even life-changing opportunities for learning. You'll discover: 
  • Innovation brings a fresh approach to solving real problems 
  • Creative ways to work within the constraints your current budget and system 
  • Courses that offer relevant content can inspire students to learn beyond the classroom 
  • Collaborating with experts and mentors improves the learning experience for students and teachers.

By incorporating the concepts Don explains in Pure Genius, you can empower the next generation to be free thinkers who can create new concepts and products that can change the way we live.

courtesy of amazon

Requirements for Credit

The power in a book study comes from the dialogue regarding the reading. For that reason, there are requirements related to your answering each posted question and to responding to others' posts. You may post from June 2, 2017-August 4, 2017. Any posts before or after these dates will not be counted. It's all or nothing. No partial credit will be given.  

Prior to the final due date for the blog, participants must:
·                     Respond to each question posted. There are 4 "sessions" with about three questions each. 
·                     At least 2 times per "session," post comments that specifically address other participants' responses. To allow us to track your comments, include the other participant's blog name and the date he/she posted at the start of your comment. You may agree or disagree with participants, but be sure to include your reasoning. "I agree" is not a meaningful response that contributes to the conversation. "I agree because ..." is more likely to contribute to the dialogue. 

All questions are currently posted. If you do the book study early, you will need to visit again in order to respond to other people's posts and to dialogue about yours.

Session 1: Question 1

Chapter 1: What is innovation to you? Why do you think it's important to innovated? Cite your page numbers. 

Session 1: Question 2

Chapter 2: Think about Don's story and how he gave his students freedom to decide what to study, but a majority of the students not knowing what to do. Have you given your students opportunities to have some freedom in your classroom or opportunities for students to be leaders or both?  Cite your page numbers. 

Session 1: Question 3

Chapter 3: Discuss how helpful it was to read the three real-world examples of genius hour that Don shared. How have those changed or confirmed your thoughts about genius hour? Cite your page numbers. 

Session 2: Question 1

Chapter 4: Although Don says that there's no plan for an innovation class, he shares a great description of how a typical week in his classroom runs and the expectations he has for his students. After reading this chapter, do you have ideas of how you could implement an innovation project or genius hour into your classroom?  Cite your page numbers.

Session 2: Question 2

Chapter 5: This chapter is about teachers' use of social media. What is your preferred social media tool and how are you using social media professionally? Cite your page numbers. 

Session 2: Question 3

Chapter 6: Social media use by students can be a slippery slope. How are you or how is your school helping students learn how to use social media safely? Cite your page numbers.

Session 3: Question 1

Chapter 7: I bet from the comments on chapter 5 a few of you aren't using Twitter yet, but you were considering trying it. How has your view of social media changed (or not), after reading 3 weeks' worth of chapters on social media and 2 weeks' worth of comments?  

If you are on social media, whether you are using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or something else, please share your professional handle in your comment to this post so that we all can get connected.

Advanced Academics is on facebook at and Amy Ellington manages our twitter feed @alellingson - follow us! There are so many ways to be connected to gifted ed on Twitter.  

Session 3: Question 2

Chapter 8: Don shared some really great examples of finding opportunities in unexpected places. How do you seek out opportunities to get your students some out-of-the-ordinary experiences or encourage them to find those opportunities? Cite your page numbers. 

Session 3: Question 3

Chapter 9: What a powerful chapter!  I was impressed with all of the students, but especially the ones who did projects on their own, not for a class or a grade. Share any thoughts that were sparked by this chapter, ideas you might have, student experiences you know of, maybe even an experience that you had. Cite your page numbers.

Session 4: Question 1

Chapter 10: The three practices he discussed in this chapter were: giving yourself permission, transparency, and trust. How do you see any or all of these practices helping you as you move forward to more of an innovative culture in your classroom? Cite your page numbers. 

Session 4: Question 2

After reading this book, what are some small steps that you can take to add more innovation class? Please give page numbers to support your thinking.   

Session 4: Question 3

Would you recommend this book to your colleagues? Why or why not?