February 24, 2015

I want to introduce you to something unique, well, unique here. Schools at all levels all across the world are practicing something that goes by several names: Passion Projects, 20% Time, Genius Hour. You choose what we call this. Basically, you can use 20% of your week in class (one class period) to pursue an interest of your own, with some guidelines so that it is a learning project.

Let’s look at a couple videos to get an idea of what I’m talking about. First, let’s get an idea of what passion is all about:

Or, if YouTube is blocked, check out the video file of Shawn Aiken on What Makes You Come Alive.


Next, here’s what the project will be like, sort of:

Or, once again, check out the video file of What is Genius Hour in the Google Drive Video folder.


As Kesler points out in his video, you should start with a driving question. What do you want to know more about? This question must be one that will involve research and end in a project.

We will use “backward planning,” deciding on what we want as an end product, then planning how to get there.

You will each write up a proposal to present to me soon. I will provide a graphic organizer to help you get the plan going. Include any preliminary research, goals, steps to the goal, potential obstacles, timeline for reaching your goal, etc. Let’s make Friday, March 6 the deadline, but since these presentations will take some class time, present earlier if you’re ready.

Failure is an option as long as you document that failure and look for another path so that you still have an end result – some learning – to present.

Your grade will be based on presentation of proposal, weekly updates on your blog (call it Passion Project Update #) so I’ll recognize it easily from other assignments) and the presentation of learning at the end, TED style.

This will utilize approximately 20% of your weekly class time and as much of your outside class time as you desire. You may also revert to your passion project when you are caught up on other work. Passion Project is subject to tweaking as I see what works and what doesn’t.

Take a look at a few videos of other high schoolers and their presentations that impressed me:

Provenzano’s TEDx Event

Learning to fail | Connor Mallegg

Happiness from Reading | Jackie Kosmas

Road to Kilamanjaro | Kitty McKay

All of these are files in the Google Drive Video folder.

For a snapshot of several students and their variety of projects check out this one:

Or in the Google Drive Video file as Sophomore English 20% Project Talks

What is your passion, and what will you do with your 20% Time?


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