Hi, friends! I have been trying to wrap my mind around how to implement passion projects in my classroom all year long, and I finally wrapped it up. I am so excited to share the fruits of our labor just as soon as state testing is O-V-E-R. (Soon! Soon! Soon! Can you tell I am a tad excited?!) We are currently in the thick of our Test Prep Blitz... and at the very beginning stages of our Passion Projects. I am already completely in awe of what my students are coming up with... and I can't wait to share it all with you. In the meantime, I thought I'd go ahead and share how I'm approaching our newest project.
I LOVE the idea behind allowing my students to research topics that interest them, but I also wanted to create some guidelines and parameters to help them along while still allowing student choice and creativity. I also knew I wasn't going to be able to pull of a true Genius Hour on a weekly basis without sacrificing things that I am currently not willing to sacrifice. Approaching the passion project as a distinct project makes me happy and makes me feel like I reached a happy medium. I also really tried to consider how to make this work for my population...with my age groups... to provide guidance without stifling creativity and ingenuity. As you will see, I am approaching passion projects through the incorporation of choice boards. I am slightly obsessed with choice boards... if you haven't already gathered that from my current creations. Ha! The boards can be copied back to back to give students eleven suggestions, but technically the twelfth option allows them to create a “pupil proposal”, thus allowing students to negotiate another option with the teacher. I have already discussed how I will need to be thoroughly convinced for the twelfth option to be approved though. This project will require some one-on-one teacher conferencing in the beginning, but I am super excited to see how it all pans out. My students never cease to amaze me... especially when it comes to projects... so I am already excited!
Essentially, the project was created to allow students to independently research an area of interest, create a way to share their learning with the class, and foster life-long authentic learning. I LOVE passion projects… and I LOVE the idea of using it as an independent study project for individual students as much as I love it for a whole group. The possibilities are truly endless. Happy Teaching!