Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Journey Begins

A while ago, a seed was planted in the back of my mind about something called "Passion Projects" or "Genius Hour."  The idea hung in my subconscious slowly taking shape.  We recently had an unplanned March break (translation "Winter Storm Thor"). This gave me time to play with the idea a little more.  I weighed options, thought about the classes I teach, and sought information from my colleagues and on Twitter.  Some of my initial resources came from Ms. Mystrena and her blog  as well as a former colleague's wife who shared her Twenty Percent Time 2014-15 Blog.

My research led me to decide to take the plunge.  The year long course I teach seemed to be the best group to try this with for two reasons:
1) I know them them best and have had them the longest.  This means I have heard some of their "passions" and what "makes them tick"
2) They have learned research and inquiry skills through the activities we already do.

I posted a link to "Passion Project - GT ED at Richmond" for my students and sought their feedback.  One response was "Life is a voyage into the unknown.  I would love to do this! OMG yes. It sounds like so much fun. I would explore new things I have never even heard of or seen in my life and take a trip by not even leaving my seat. Learn the good in life, explore. #thefutreisours we must do this" I think maybe she was inspired by this video:

After the first day of PARCC testing, I had my students enter the room and write or draw two things on a file card that excites them.  Then, I shared the above video with them, as well as "Shift Happens (below)."  As the facts scrolled for "Shift Happens" I heard "That's crazy." "Wow! I didn't know that." and a slew of other comments.  Students were realizing the pace that the world is changing.

After showing those videos, I had students add to the file card something they thought they could change in their lifetime.  It could be anything - about themselves, their school, their world, etc.  Finally, I introduced the concept of the Passion Project.  We'll see where this journey takes us, but I am excited that it is happening.

1 comment:

  1. So glad it went well. Good luck and enjoy the ride!