Thursday, February 18, 2010

Passion Project

Have you read Sir Ken Robinson's book, The Element, yet? The subtitle is "How finding your passion changes everything."
For me it was a total mind-opener on many levels. It is everything you already know on a deep level. But I suggest you read it anyway.

For me it was that very satisfying experience of having a very articulate person with a whole lot of credibility do a very good job of saying all the things I have wanted to say and tried to say for many years of working with kids.
We're all "gifted". It's a question of finding one's passion.

I decided to implement a "passion project" with 5th grade. I've done something similar before and was pleased with the results. It's taps into the user-generated education idea.
The "task" I have set forth to the students is to create a multimedia project about whatever they want to explore or share in a creative way.

I introduced the project today. First I showed them this video from the Imagine It Project:

video platform
video management
video solutions
free video player

Then I showed them student work samples from the last time I did a similar project a few years ago. I challenged them to take it up a notch, citing the fact that they have more tech skills than their older siblings and friends who did the earlier projects. They should be able to use multimedia authoring tools to create work that would show the results of their explorations and allow them to share their passions with others.
I also allowed them to work with partners of their own choosing.

I gave them this short survey to complete:

Before I even had a chance to go over the survey results, they were ready to get started. Although I know my students and have worked with them for 4 years now, it is always a revelation to me to learn more about them. What makes them tick? What do they want to create, to learn, to do? A few of the topics I could have guessed, but some were a surprise.
I threw in the last survey question, about what motivates you to do your best work, for my own edification, but also to get them thinking more about motivation. The answers were varied and interesting. One student chose "other" and wrote: "having fun and doing what I like."
Sir Ken would approve.


TJ Shay said...


I love this project! I feel one of the biggest problems with kids today is a lack of passion. Perhaps as teachers we haven't brought it out enough. I have seen that spark in many kids, but would love to see it more! Thanks for sharing this!

Andrea said...

Hi Terry,
thanks for your comment. Did you happen to watch the video? I think you would really like the imagine it project. Inspiring videos by creative and passionate people, which I know you are!