Following on from my discovery of Google’s 80:20 and from all the fantastic posts about passion projects that I have read over recent months, my year 7 French class and I have put together a passion project which we will be working on over the next 5 weeks.
Students are working in groups of 2 or as individuals in a area that inspires and excites them. Together we have negotiated the success criteria for the task which is also linked to one of the curriculum outcomes, required by VCAA (Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority), which related to knowledge of a cultural aspect of France.
Together, we decided that the students would create:
1. A proposal for their project which answers these questions: What is the subject of your project? What will your product be?. In the proposal, each group/student can submit their contribution to the success criteria of the task.
2. A written project with a word count that has been negotiated by the whole class. They can use project books, iPads or computers to create this written aspect of the task. Many of them will be publishing their written work on the class wiki.
3. A product – something original that they have created which they could not have done before completing the written aspect of the project. When we discussed this, students came up with many ideas: trailers, movies, posters, models, leaflets, interviews, podcasts, even a dance.
So far, we have spent two lesson creating, and approving, proposals and beginning our research. We will be spending 15 minutes, approximately 20%, of each lesson over the coming 5 weeks on our projects. The students can also spend as much time working on the project outside of school as they wish.
So far, subjects have been incredibly diverse, including movies set in occupied France, Rugby, Animals, Restaurants and regional specialities, Actors, Composers, Films, Architecture, Tour de France 2012 ……
Students are really excited about their project and have completed an unprecedented amount of work. Discussion about what constitutes a ‘product’ is greatly enhancing our understanding of the purpose of research. Discussion about where to start is improving our knowledge of time and resource management. Negotiating with peers over who will completing the different elements of the task has helped develop a shared understanding of what constitutes effective group work.
Two students told me today that they “could work on the project all day” and were really proud to show the work that they had completed.
My hope is that 80% of our lesson will be infected with the passion that 20% will be driven by. We’re also going to be reinforcing the link between home and school. I have no student work to post at the moment, but the minute that I do …