Passion Projects, or the shortened similar project based learning task known as ‘Genius Hour” are a brilliant opportunity to let your students develop their own personalised learning styles. These tasks offer students the chance to take ownership of their learning and work within a timeline to meet deadlines all the while spending a term doing something they have a real passion about.
I would have to say that when I run my Passion Projects annually my students continually amaze me in terms of what they can achieve when they are motivated about learning. Regardless of whether they are high achievers or struggle academically I have seen students totally transform their attitude to learning once they realise what they can achieve through this project.
What is a passion project you may ask?
Here is the complete outline for you to hand out to your students explaining the expectations of this project but in a nutshell here is how it works.
Students select a task or skill in which they want to learn something new. (some examples my students have done in the past are dressmaking, making a video game, learning an instrument, cooking a 3 course meal for their family or building a cubby house.)
Students research and complete the task within the time frame outlined.
Students keep an online diary of their learning journey outlining their successes and failures.
Students then teach a family member or friend their task or skill to show them what they have learnt.
Students put together a presentation outlining their learning journey including videos, photos and feedback from family members or friends. They are peer assessed in accordance with the assessment rubric.
Please note it is unimportant whether a student succeeds or fails in completing their task they are attempting. What is important is that they record and learn from those successes and failures and can share that knowledge with others. This is outlined in full in the assessment rubric which is handed to students and explained to them at the beginning of the project.
Passion Projects are aimed at students from grades 3 – 9 but can definitely be modified to suit any year level.
Be sure to invite parents to attend the final presentation as it is a huge moment for some students. I have included a covering letter for this also that I have used in the past.
From a teachers perspective this is a brilliant task. You simply give your students all of the information provided and contribute your own input along the time line (about 3 times in total) to ensure students are staying on task and offer guidance where necessary. All of the assessment is understood before students begin and I have recently let peers assess them using the assessment rubric. It runs for a term and is very easy in terms of your input but offers massive rewards when you see the finished product.
I wish you well.
You may need to alter these resources to suit your own needs obviously and if you have any queries please don’t hesitate to comment below and I’ll address them.