What if today’s students could learn based on their passions? What if we gave them opportunities to begin to explore their future while still learning the standards? Passion projects are a way to begin to make this happen, and it’s becoming a reality in many of today’s classrooms. I believe that if our teaching isn’t meaningful to our students, it’s a waste of our time and theirs. It’s so important that we take risks and creatively engage and empower our learners. Whether you call it Genius Hour or passion projects, we have the potential to transform learning for our students.
In my classroom, Genius Hour was a priority for a couple of years before I realized that we needed a process to make the experience manageable and meaningful for my students. It wasn’t long before we developed the 6 P’s of Passion Projects and began using them as a roadmap for my students as they navigated their way through designing, creating, and sharing a Genius Hour projects. The projects represented their passions, and even ideas that they believed would change the world in some way.
The 6 P’s are Passion, Plan, Pitch, Project, Product, and Presentation. As students work through this process, they practice real skills like collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking, and reflection. I like to refer to these as the 4C’s + 1R, and they are very important as we give today’s learners opportunities to engage in learning that they can take beyond the classroom. Each one of the 6 P’s is designed to provide students a clear understanding of what needs to happen as they move forward in creating something that represents their learning. While they have the freedom to use different tools and ideas within each of the 6 P’s, they don’t have wonder and ask questions like, “What do I do next?” or “Am I doing this right?”. They simply follow the process, making it their own as they experience learning by doing.
To learn more about the 6 P’s and why passion projects have the potential to change education, check out my book, Genius Hour: Passion Projects that Ignite Innovation and Student Inquiry.
Check out the module “Apply the Genius Hour in your Classroom” for more ideas to get your students started with passion projects. These resources and more can be found in our modules and learning pathways to support ongoing learning.