Not too long ago my class started something called a passion project. This slightly mimicked Google's Genius hour. My instructions started off kind of sloppy and unorganized. I felt as thought I confused my student. However, we went back to our passion project every Friday. Students would spend about 30 minutes on this project every Friday in class. The students were also instructed to spend more time on their own outside of class.
Two key points for any teacher who wants implement a passion project concept.
Develop a weekly/ biweekly check-in. - I found that when I checked in with students from week to week, they made much more progress than if I let them hand it in at the very end (I compared two years of passion projects and the second year I was much more diligent with my check-ins). The monitoring and feedback sessions we had together turned out to be really helpful for the kids.
Help them find their passion- The number one complaint of students will be, "I don't know what I am passion about. " Sit with them, talk to them, interview them, help them choose an area to focus. In the past I have assigned students a passion just to get them started, As it turns out, knowing what they don't like helps them find what they do like.
Be flexible, show your own example, show off students working hard and good luck.
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