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.