Chambers 20 Time Passion Project - Day 1

A brief introduction to what I'll be doing here for the next two and a half months:

There is an idea growing in the world of education that curiosity and creativity need to be given their proper due. I tend to agree with this. I think of my class with Mrs. Lerner in 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade and remember the field trips, 8-square drawings, sand-box and other creative tasks that we did. I think this says something important seeing as I'm not a particularly creative person. Yet this are the moments that stick in my memory.

Will anything from my class become a memory for a student?

A 20-time project, or Genius Hour, or MakerSpace, or Teach Like a Pirate (#TLAP), or whatever variation you prefer - all of these projects aim to give students the time in class (and the infrastructure) to think and create and be curious. I decided to name my project the 20-time Passion Project.

In this project, I am committing to giving around 20% of the remainder of the year to the students to create a project of their own making. There are three questions that kids have to answer no matter what they do. If they cannot answer all of these three questions, then they'll be encouraged to revise their idea or simply move on to the next idea on their list. Those questions are:
  • How does your project relate to our Modern World History class?
  • Why is your topic of study and guiding question important to us today?
  • What real information or statistics prove the point that you are trying to make?  
 You can look at my full rubric here, although it is still in the construction phase. The cool yet oh so terrifying part of this is that I've never done this before. I've given the kids an introduction and hopefully some inspiration on where to start. I've also told the kids that I'll be learning how this all works right along with them. When I have a revelation, they'll know. It's going to be painful at times. It will probably be pretty chaotic. But I think it's going to be pretty damn special as well. When it's all done, we'll regroup, rethink and be a little more organized as we try it again next year. The first year of any project is always the scariest - and the most important.

My Project
Part of this project is the promise that I would do a project of my own with the kids. I got the idea from a student of mine who wrote a guest post on this blog (go read it if you haven't yet - it's amazing). My 20-Time Passion Project is going to be to advertise the projects of my students by creating a blog for each day of class I give the students. That will result in 12-15 posts over the next three months. When it's all done, we'll be able to compile those posts and create a story of what everyone did and learned. Like the students, I'm still fleshing out my idea, but it will come to me.

On the first day of brainstorming, there are several very cool ideas that I want to highlight here:

Sketching out what a cross-section of a road might
end up looking like.
Road Infrastructure - A student is interested in what is underneath all of our roads. He wants to talk to an engineer (I've put him in touch with a friend of mine who works in that field) about how roads are constructed. We sketched up an idea for what a cross-section might look like in his final project.

Menu of the World - One student is interested in researching more in-depth some of the cultures that we've studied by looking at their food. She wants to make a world menu. I'm trying to get her to cook something that we can eat!

Researching 3D online programs

3D City Construction - A student wants to construct a city online. He is researching programs and plans on sending out emails requesting a trial, a discounted price, or some kind of mentorship on using the 3D technology. We'll see where this one goes - I'm very interested.

The Hajj - A student of mine who is Muslim became more interested in the Hajj, the holy trip to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Her grandmother has taken the Hajj. She is going to interview her grandmother and maybe some of her grandmothers friends to tell the story of the Hajj from a different perspective from the one we learned in class.

Presidential Debate - We've talked a lot about the development of urban areas and industrialized cities. A group of three wants to plan a mock-Presidential debate focused on issues surrounding the urban core. Their plan is to write, film and edit the whole thing into a short movie.

There are many more project ideas to come in future blog posts. I hope you'll follow along the journey. Maybe you'll see a project that you think you could help with! If so, feel free to shoot me an email.