Joy Kirr's Story

Joy Kirr
Genius Hour

There was a parent that had been angry with me throughout the first half of the school year - for various reasons. On my 40th birthday, she wanted to meet with me and the principal so she could explain her concerns more. In front of the principal, I heard the criticism, "Genius Hour is crazy. All the parents think so. You should do more PR for it." I woke the next day and wrote this blog post about the changes I'd be making. And then I acted. Out of suffering. I endured. Quitting was not an option. She wanted PR for parents? OKAY! I took the notes I'd been keeping to myself in an Evernote folder, and I put them into an online binder - for all to see.

The LiveBinder was created out of pain. It started because Genius Hour had become something I MUST do with my students. I needed to defend it. I needed to find the stories that motivated others to try it. I needed to let parents know just WHY I was using this time in class on a weekly basis.

It grew. During the #GeniusHour chat once a month, teachers had always been asking - How do I start? How do your hold your students accountable? How does this prepare them for standardized tests? What can I use to inspire my students? What do you do about students who have a hard time with this type of learning? I started making the LiveBinder helpful to teachers, as well. I began collecting, every day, posts and ideas that people were tweeting out about their own trials and tribulations, creativity, innovation, engagement, passion...

There are now OVER 400 teachers who have made the Genius Hour LiveBinder what it is today.

Read Joy's entire blog post on her journey with Genius Hour.

-- Joy Kirr, Teacher, Elk Grove, IL