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.