Friday, January 3, 2014


We are planning a trip out west this summer. Our son has never seen mountains, not real ones like the Rockies, anyway. So, this is the year. We're going: Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce. We've got quite the loop planned (ending at VidCon!). Though this won't be the year I get back to the ranch, we'll have quite an explore. I've always wanted to go to the Grand Canyon and ride a donkey down the trail at sunrise (or sunset or even at noon or 1:30 p.m., I'm not picky when it comes to riding). It's on the books. We are riding donkeys.

I have not picked a New Year's resolution, a one little word or even thought about revolutions for 2014, but I'm starting to do things I've always wanted to do. 

This week I made an appointment with a gallery owner near home. I make things. I draw. I paint. I craft. I play. I can't imagine not making things, but I've only rarely let myself think about selling them. I'm not much for business. I prefer free and gift to bought and sold. Truth be told there is less paperwork when you give things away. But, I know I'd enjoy doing craft shows and small festivals, so I need to learn how to sell work and market.  I mentioned my necklaces to a local gallery owner when I visited to buy Christmas presents. He was interested, so I made an appointment for the New Year.  I brought ten domino necklaces with me. He took them all and we had a great conversation about the library-card collages I've been working on. I've been trying to figure out a way to finish the backs and he gave me some good ideas.I did it, something I've always wanted to do. I have a few things at The Artistic Hand Gallery and Studio in Oviedo.  Imagine that.

That sharing of good ideas, the explore, the research and development around what works when you are creating and what does not, that to me is what Genius time is all about. I've been following how Deb Day is using Genius time in her classroom here and I've explored Joy Kir's Live Binder on the topic.  Think radical autonomy. Think passion. Think drive. We're going to talk it about it next week in class and I'm going to ask students to help me structure it or make it work.I wonder how much time we need though. Do we need it 20% of the time (like Google employees) or would 10% be a good start? At my school that would be the difference between once a week or biweekly. Ten percent does not sound radical. Anything less and  I think we'd lose momentum. We'll see what students say.

My genius time tends toward art days in my studio/office at home. I write. I paint. I create. I glue and craft and collage. It took me a year to experiment with dominos to get to the necklaces that I've been making. It was a fun year. A trial and error adventure. I saved markers along the way. I had a few artist friends who would talk epoxies with me and my husband was fantastic when it came to drills and drill bits. I love making things. I know my students do too. I'm excited about the work ahead.


  1. We started messing around with this a bit in December. That first day the kids were both surprised that I was really allowing them to do what they wanted and extremely engaged. The only downside I saw was that there were a lot who wanted to find things on the internet to help them with what they wanted to learn/do and I only had 11. Small problem. So I think we'll consider scheduling computer lab time for the next genius day. I had kids who were coming up with questions to ask experts. Kids who wanted to create blogs. Some who wanted to make videos - movies, how-to videos. Some who wanted to figure out how to do origami because they have always thought it was cool. Some others figuring out how to interview soldiers. Others are writing poetry and trying to explain how the parts of a computer all work together and how to create hunting manuals for beginners. They were spun off in all directions and I just told them that they needed to let me know what they did with the time (I still need that accountability - even if it's just a 30 second scribbled note...) and what they might need from me. AND I wanted them to showcase what they were doing in some way. So far so good. :) We did three days last month - and we talked about doing this once a week. I'm still thinking this through. Glad to see you're trying this out, too!

  2. Remember that your genius time is a large underpining of what we do at my school Lee Ann. Each student chooses an individual topic and the curriculum is built around that topic. Other 'outside' things do happen too, but the units are the largest part. If I can help in any way, I'll be glad to. Your students will be excited, and you said the one thing I was going to say, ask them their opinions as to time, etc. I bet they'll help figure it out. As for your crafting and your selling, sounds very exciting. How great to actually take this next step and connect with a gallery. Best wishes!