"A Swisstastic Journey of Me and My Students"

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Passion Hour with 6th graders

     For two years the Media Specialists at Forest Hills have been working with our Educational Digital Specialist to create a program that will allow 6th graders to explore their passions. We decided, along with district approval, that the Media Center was the perfect place to implement this program since we don't give grades and have more flexibility in what we teach. We decided to put the concept of Genius/Passion Hour into place. We start planning for these projects in January and they will be the focus of our time until the end of the year. For about 4 weeks we really get 6th graders to think about what their passion is, as this- is the hardest part of the project for many of them.
        I show them lots of inspirational videos to get them thinking about expanding their ideas....thinking about what they are truly capable of. We watch videos of other young students who have created or accomplished amazing things. Genius Hour should be an organic process.
      The only expectations are:
1.) You must have a driving question (we talk about how to form inquiry questions)
2.) Your project must involve research
3.) You must share your project with the class (or even better the world) Some students will choose to complete one big project while other may create others.
      I tell them this is their playground...for the next 3 months they will get 50 minutes a week to explore their passions.

 Here are some of the videos I show at the start of the unit to get them thinking.  

 We also read picture books that show us how others made a difference: 

Miss. Rumphius

 I Have A Plan

Students start by writing their DREAM on a sheet and getting their picture taken.  I post these in the hall for others to see.  It helps them stay on task while planning for the project!  With that being said they can change their project topic once they start.  The final project may or may not reflect their initial DREAM.
Now that we have a dreams on paper we will start creating our 2 driving (Inquiry) questions that will guide our path for our first Genius Hour Project.  I must approve one of the questions.  I showed this Famous Failures video and then kids had reflection time to come up with two questions, meet with me, and get one question approved.  One thing I want my students to understand during these projects is that Failure is an option but you pick yourself up and move on to something better.

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