Friday, March 24, 2017

Passion Projects 2017 - Reflection #1

This year, I have decided to introduce my grade 8 students to Passion Projects. I have been wanting to do this for a while, but I wasn't sure I was "ready". And then I realized that doing Passion Projects could be my own learning experience. It doesn't need to be perfect, or ready, or complete. I just have to dive in and get started. This is terrifying, but necessary!

Over the past month, I have spent time putting together a website for my students, reading blogs by other teachers, and gearing up to begin this endeavour. I chose to get going just after March Break, so that there would be a clear starting point.

One of the things that is most important to me in doing Passion Projects with my students is to really give them an opportunity to explore what they are passionate about. So often, students are told exactly what to do, exactly how to do it, and exactly what they should take away from the experience. In preparing students for the future, I think it is so important for them to learn to navigate new experiences, tap into their interests, and deal with obstacles on their own (with support as they deem necessary)

The idea of "failing" is so engrained in our students these days that, many times, they are afraid to even try. I hope that this project will allow them to see that they can try something, modify it, retry, re-modify and eventually get something out of the experience. I also hope that students will come away from this project feeling that their passions and interests are just as valid (if not more so) than what is taught in a traditional classroom.

So far, my students have been working on choosing the topic for their Passion Project. Some of them had ideas right away, while others are having a difficult time thinking of something they want to explore. I think that students are so often told what to do, they aren't sure if their ideas are valid. I'm hopeful that they will come to class next Friday (our official "Passion Project Work Period" each week) with an idea that they are passionate about. I want to avoid choosing ideas for my students, or steering them too much - this should be an opportunity for them to open themselves up to new learning experiences.

Along the way, I plan to complete a Passion Project with my students. I don't want to ask them to take on anything that I don't value myself. I have decided to learn Spanish as my primary Passion Project this year. I will also be blogging about the experience of integrating Passion Projects into my classroom, and updating/creating materials as I go - I'm calling this my "mini" Passion Project.

I have obtained a lot of resources from various sources, and plan to share what I create as well.
Notable sources include :

If you are/have been integrating this kind of learning experience into your teaching, I'd love to connect with you! Drop me a comment below!