Early indication of Genius Hour? (357:365)

I was reading Lilly’s Purple Purse by Kevin Henkes the other night when I came across something that piqued my curiosity (no pun intended). The book, published in 1996, is a story about Lilly, an out of the bok thinker, who goes on an adventure. When she is in the classroom, there is a section the teacher established called the Lightbulb Lab – Where Great Ideas are Born. 


Whenever the students had free time, they were permitted to go to the Lightbulb Lab in the back of the classroom. The expressed their ideas creatively thorough drawing and writing. Lilly went there often. She had a lot of ideas. ~ Keven Henkes


Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse

Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse

Sound familiar? To me it sounds like the modern day “Genius Hour” or “Makerspace” that schools and classrooms are implementing. Was this book ahead of it’s time? Or is this something that has been happening in schools for a long time and now has a name, blogs and videos to showcase?



All I know is whether it is called the Lightbulb Lab, Genius Hour or Makerspace, we need more of it… If only those state administered assessments that determine our future wouldn’t get in the way…. Who knows where we would be????

4 thoughts on “Early indication of Genius Hour? (357:365)

  1. I remember when I was in 4th and 5th grade (back in the mid-70s), we had some very creative teachers who dedicated a whole class period to something they called “Seminar.” It was very much like this Lightbulb Lab – there were opportunities to publish your own books, browse through art samples, draw, build and create. To this day, that class remains one of the strongest memories from my elementary school years.

    I believe you’re right – something like Genius Hour probably did exist in some classrooms in “the old days” but it was a rare occurrence. With the advent of social media and connected leadership, word about this novel approach is beginning to spread. Will it ever become the norm? As we continue to shine a bright spotlight on schools that are taking this approach, I believe the tide will eventually shift. There is a chapter in “Switch: How to Change Things when Change is Hard” by Chip and Dan Heath called “Find the Bright Spots” that talks about why this works. Perhaps the #FutureReady schools movement will provide the traction we need to take things to the next level. – Kimberly Goh (stretcheducation.com)

  2. Love your blog; thanks!
    You likely used “peeked” instead of *piqued,* but it piqued my proofreaders comment impulse!
    Thanks again,

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