Joy Kirr is a middle school teacher, author, and speaker. Her 7th grade ELA (English Language Arts) classes are working to improve their lives through student-directed learning - without marks throughout the year. This is a log of their learning experiences... Want to have her speak with your staff or facilitate a workshop? Here is Joy's PORTFOLIO.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My Summer... One Big Genius Hour!

Just yesterday, I realized something, so I tweeted out my thoughts to a great teacher in my PLN - Gallit Zvi (@Gallit_Z). She had just tweeted something to her school district in Surrey, BC about Genius Hour, and there I was again, thinking!
She retweeted it, and I looked at it once more.  It's so true. Lately, I feel like my life is a CONSTANT Genius Hour!  I spend all of my free time exploring tweets, reading educator and principal blogs, and learning about new technology (the good and the bad!). This fills my day when my husband and I are not doing something together.  He used to call it work - "You're working again?" - but I think now he knows how much I enjoy learning.

This is the goal, correct? To facilitate learning so that it is a life-long passion.  Each time the school year ends, I KNOW I can do better the next year. And so, each summer, I work at learning and exploring more ideas / options / theories, etc. so that I can be "the best teacher ever!" Always a pipe dream.  I'm always reaching for it.  I'm always changing what doesn't work, and hopefully growing as a skilled teacher. I'm always questioning what to do - and evaluating it when it's finished. I hope, that some day, I will NOT feel like a first-year teacher.  This will be my 18th year (?!?!) as a teacher, but each year feels like my first in so many ways.

One of my (myriad) goals for 2012-2013 - Let the students in on how thrilling it is to be a life-long learner, and to follow your passion.  Big sigh.  It takes up most of my time this summer, but I'm ecstatic to keep learning new things and figuring out ways to implement them and let students teach themselves. To go along with this goal, I hope students will be reflective of their learning as well - I hope they see the intrinsic value, grasp it, and use it to their advantage.  May every day be filled with Genius Hour experiences! Genius Hour is no longer just 20% of my day... Can we make it "12 Hours of Genius Time" next summer?!

[Note: If you've forgotten the premise of Genius Hour, please visit the wiki that Denise Krebs (@mrsdkrebs) & Gallit created, Gallit's post describing it here, or how I started my journey with it here.]


  1. I love this post, except I don't think that feeling like a first year teacher every year is bad. I think it means that you have never let yourself get in a rut! I love beginning each year with fresh eyes and no idea what to expect.

    Great post!


    1. Oh, Laura!
      When will I EVER get to be an all-around good teacher? I guess the feeling of being a first-year teacher may be more like feeling as if I'll never be good enough. There is always something to work on. I know it's a good thing - to know you can improve, but I keep thinking I'll get better NEXT year. Another big sigh. That's okay - I've got a few more years in me!

      Thanks for reading and commenting! -Joy

  2. Joy,
    Awesome! Your passion for learning comes shining through! This is awesome. I can relate so much to what you've said, for I will enter my 18th year of teaching too! And in many ways it seems like I'm a rookie every year.

    Thanks for inspiring us all!

  3. Denise,
    You have the same passion for learning, and that must be why we found who we did on Twitter. I DO feel like a rookie, but feel, too, as if I've known people in my PLN for so long now, and I've only been on Twitter since February! That will forever amaze me, I'm sure.

    Thanks for your inspiration and ideas, too!!