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How Liberating Genius is Changing Learning and Lives
By Tammy Dunbar, featuring The Room Nine Kids
Liberating Genius is a free e-book authored
by Angela Maiers and Mark E. Moran.
It creates the conditions for a
successful launch of genius hour.
To download Liberating Genius, visit
“Liberating Genius” changes learning and lives
through self-reflection, character-building,
collaboration, and the inspiring motto,
"You are a genius and the world
needs your contribution."
After "What is my Genius," a dramatic hush came
over the room when students received their folders
and read the kind words others had written about them.
All the positivity was so uplifting.
Students asked if they could keep the folders.
When I said "Yes," they decorated them and reverently
placed them in their backpacks.
Liberating Genius Promotes Community
Liberating Genius Broadens Our Thinking
Our “KinderTechBuddies” program has blossomed.
The original mission was to teacher kindergarteners tech tools.
After Liberating Genius, my students have powerful conversations
with their buddies about their talents, passions and ambitions.
We helped our “kinders” create a poster displaying their genius, and
we’re working on more lessons to help them discover their strengths
and passions. Kinders cheer when my students enter the classroom.
The Room Nine Kids
are now far easier to convince
that their genius, ideas and passions
are worthy of the world.
My students were excited by
their Thrively passion profiles.
Liberating Genius Helps Students
Believe in Themselves
Because Liberating Genius calls for frequent
reflection, we discussed the value of silence in
honing our “inner voice” that guides us to decisions.
Students were stunned to realize they had
almost no quiet time in their lives.
We now enjoy silence during each lesson.
Liberating Genius Makes Students
Liberating Genius Creates a
"Can Do" Mindset
When I handed out flyers for the annual canned food drive,
students asked about our local food bank;
how many families it serves, and how much food it took
to feed a family of four.
The students researched the answers, both online and in person. They
then used what we had studied about advertising to design a window
display and newspaper article alerting the community to the food drive.
We more than doubled the amount
of food collected last year!
At our student/faculty basketball game, I asked my
students which team they hoped would win.
“Either way, Lincoln wins,” replied one with a smile, as
others nodded in agreement.
This is typical of the community-minded attitude
my students have embraced.
Liberating Genius Extols
Cooperation Over Competition
The Room Nine Kids understand that
together we are stronger and that no matter
who among us wins, we all win.
On our recent standardized tests,
my students' scores increased dramatically.
I’m not ready to attribute this entirely to
our new lessons, but I do know that our
students now approach testing with
more confidence and more creativity.
That, I am certain, can be directly traced
to liberating their genius.
Liberating Genius Helps Students
Approach Tests With Confidence and Creativity
Liberating Genius Engenders Compassion
Our students created “Passion Portraits” of fellow students
using their “Power Words” from Thrively. Students then
decided to create “Compassion Portraits” of KinderTechBuddies,
who then drew themselves on the same picture. Next,
my students wrote “You Matter to Me,” printed the pictures and
gave them to their buddies. The buddies put their heads on
the shoulders of their fifth-grade buddies and smiled.
My students were touched, and forever changed.
Paola told me, “I think they know now
how important they are to us.”
In the past, it has been a long process before students
chose their genius hour projects.
This year, only 1 of my 31 Room Nine Kids hadn’t
decided on a project after the first conference.
Students will explore family recipes, stop-motion
movies, origami, anti-bullying activities, professional
soccer and other passion projects.
Liberating Genius Helps Students
Find Their Passion
One student has already started
her project of creating blueprints
for and building her first (mini)
home, with a goal of being an
architect who builds affordable
homes for those who haven’t
owned homes before.
Because their collective genius has
for The Room Nine Kids and for the
worlds and lives they will change.
the future looks brilliant
Liberating Genius Changes Learning and Lives
About Tammy Dunbar
Tammy teaches fifth grade in Manteca Unified School District and
Pre-Service Technology at Teachers College of San Joaquin
in Stockton, California.
She is a popular presenter and trainer around the country. She presented
at the 2015 Microsoft Global E2 conference and earned earned two
global awards for project excellence.
Tammy is the 2006 Teacher of the Year in Manteca Unified School District
and the 2016 California Woman of the Year, Assembly District 12.
Follow her @TammyDunbar or
find her at www.teachergeekischic.com.
About Angela Maiers
Educator. Entrepreneur. Leader. Disruptor. Visionary. Angela Maiers embodies each of
these descriptors with passion, commitment and fierce determination. She has been
creating and leading change in education and enterprise for 25 years, teaching every
level of school from kindergarten to graduate school and consulting with companies
around the world.
She helps learners and leaders understand the transformative power of technology
and the Internet. Her powerful message and down-to-earth style has made her a
highly sought-after keynote speaker for education conferences, corporate events
and innovation summits.
She is the author of six books, including Classroom Habitudes and The Passion-Driven
Classroom, and her “You Matter” talk at TEDxDesMoines has been viewed several
hundred thousand times. Angela is an alumna of The University of Iowa, with a B.A. in
Education and M.A. in Educational Supervision and Reading.
About Mark Moran
Mark Moran is a seasoned entrepreneur, executive
and corporate attorney.
He is also the founder of Dulcinea Media, an education-focused publisher
of Websites and search engines. He is an expert in online research skills.
Previously, he was General Counsel of 24/7 Real Media (now Xaxis), a
corporate associate at the NYC law firm Proskauer Rose, and a controller
at The Bank of New York. He has an MBA and JD from Fordham
University, and a B.A. in Economics from The University of Virginia.