Beginning of our 20 Hour Project

 

MELISSA

We, myself and Terri (who teaches grade 4 and 5), have decided to embark on collaborative 20 hour project. We have paired up our learners up with someone of similar personality.  Together, they will come up with something they would like to learn about or learn how to do in approximately 20 hours.  They are to share and highlight their interests and find a common area in which they would like to focus on for their 20 hour project.

This idea came up from our #viclead presentation when George Couros came to Victoria. He shared about following learners’ passions and highlighted his wife’s, Paige Couros, 20 hour project that she had done to model her learning and persistence during the summer. George shared about the importance of building on learners’ strengths and allowing them to follow their passions when learning at school. We were inspired by his presentation to implement something similar to this as a collaborative learning project.

We started Friday morning with a bonding and getting to know you time with our two classes. We ventured up to the library. Terri and I had previously set up the partnerships, and were excited to see how the children would work together. After introducing the partnerships, we had them work together on getting to know each other with a few prompts and leading questions. Together, they were to share their interests, what they enjoyed learning and doing after school and one thing they WISH their teacher would teach them how to do. As I was observing, two boys rolling around on the carpet whilst discussing their interests, another two sitting together in the same chair, three boys looking at Lego books, two girls cozy in a quiet corner, I realized that we had been bang on with matching personality types. I also realized that what were doing here, letting the children bond, was an invaluable experience.

During my eves dropping observation time I was inspired by many situations, here a couple: 

One of my learners (4 years old) was apprehensive about working with his two older partners, until one of them pulled out a small Lego man from his pocket, and simply asked him if he liked Lego.  Two minutes later, all three boys had pulled Lego books and comics off the shelves and were sitting in a trio reading through them. How empowering to watch! 

Another duo, who were sharing a big comfy chair, were discussing what they wish they could do. My younger learner was openly sharing about he would like to learn how to read. The older learner immediately jumped in and said that he would love to learn how to teach someone to read. Amazing! 

Within this thirty minute session, I was already hearing about creating Lego movies, learning how to cook a special dish, researching about becoming a doctor and a nurse, comparing two different video games, working on learning to bead and create projects, teaching someone to read,  I am so excited to see where this 20 hour project takes us. I love hearing children speak about their interests because they are extremely knowledgeable, more than we give them credit for, and PASSIONATE without fear. Some of these learners would have been able to go on forever talking about how they created different Lego characters who all have different personalities, or how they would like to learn more about science because they are interested in biology and medical science! These learners are all under the age of 10 and are incredible!

I would love to hear and chat about the implementation of a passion project with young learners.
I would like to learn more about what others are doing to empower learners to follow their interests whilst learning at school.

If you are interested in beginning a 20 hour project in your life or implementing a passion project that will be for about twenty hours in the classroom, I recommend you read Paige Couros’ blog. 

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Modeling Passion & Enthusiasm

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I do have to admit, that sometimes I feel more excited about our learning and forecast inquiry directions than my kindergarten learners do. At times, I get so passionate and enthusiastic about a question or a topic, that I just want activities, trials, errors, research, play to all start rolling quicker than ever. I have to remind myself to step back and wait for their questions to take us on a learning path, so that they feel just as excited as I do.

Currently, I am in full blown implementation of the new BC curriculum. Last year, I began using it in some areas…. so this year I am feeling more confident in fully implementing it into our learning in Kindergarten. Yes, the new curriculum has some minor flaws and yes, the new curriculum brings change and has switched topic areas around. Putting the challenges aside,  I am so looking forward to working with a curriculum that is more flexible, focuses on the development of skills rather than solely content and enjoy new topics and ways of learning. I am excited about being able to feel confident in teaching through more hands-on approaches that follow student lead and questions and allow us to take our time in really deepening our learning throughout the year.

I am passionate about hearing  four and five year old learners share their questions, ideas and plans. They enjoy coming to school, they enjoy sharing and asking questions, they enjoy learning and researching, and so do I. The other day at parent teacher conferences, a lovely Mum stated/asked: “Rebecca, you really do love teaching don’t you?” At first, I wasn’t sure what to say… of course I love teaching that is why I am a teacher, but I then realized she recognizes that teaching is not only a job to me, it is my passion. I must have had the biggest smile on my face when she realized this, because it means that others can see how passionate and enthusiastic I am about teaching.  I was so excited to know that someone else had noticed my enthusiasm for teaching and learning. I thanked her for sharing her observation and I told her why I love teaching, especially Kindergarten…

I love working with young learners who are passionate about themselves, learning and discovering. I love how in Kindergarten learners are curious, share their wonders and view life in a magical way. I love seeing their creativity grow and their passion for learning unravel. I love working in a school that supports their staff by collaboration time, meaningful tools for learning. I love working in a school district that supports their teachers, build up each other and provide many learning opportunities within our community. I love scrolling through our school district hashtag #sd61learn and learning about what others are doing in our community. I love reading other educators blogs, opinions, and work. I love celebrating, and I feel that celebrating is a big part of our jobs as educators. We celebrate our learners, we celebrate each other, we celebrate our families, we celebrate our schools, we celebrate our districts. We celebrate our work and our spirit, we celebrate even hearing a kindergarten friend answer or ask a question in French in our classroom. We are so proud of each other and so proud of our learners. Teaching, is really one big celebration!

Right now, I am reading The Innovator’s Mindset, by George Couros and I am blown away. I am blown away by George’s passion for education, his passion for building up his colleagues and his passion for celebrating each other. I had the pleasure of hearing George share multiple times in Victoria this fall, and he is nothing less than inspiring. One of my highlights that I took from him is building up the people around you. He is so passionate about other educators, he is so passionate about sharing success stories whether it be his father’s, his colleagues, his niece, his wife, his students. His book is filled of positive stories of educators trying new things, being leaders and sharing their expertise. George’s talks and book has inspired me to begin a leadership group with our 4/5s to learn and inquire more about leaders, and what a difference leaders can make. Our group seems passionate about student interests and I am excited about our journey together. Overall, I highly recommend the read The Innovator’s Mindset, to fellow educators, parents and learners.

How do you model passion?
How do you build on enthusiasm?
​How do you celebrate each other, learners and colleagues?