Professional Passion Project

downloadAfter seeing the success of Genius Hour in my classroom, I wondered, “What if we had Genius Hour for teachers?”  All teachers have “what if” questions…like “What if I could empower my students with real-world authentic projects?” or “What if I tried flexible seating?” or “What if we didn’t have grades?”

Shouldn’t teachers have time to explore these big questions and share their findings with their PLN, both locally and globally?  This led to the Professional Passion Project!

The Professional Passion Project is an opportunity for you to pursue your educational passions, along with the support of a global PLN of dedicated educators, sharing resources and ideas each week on Twitter (#PassionProjectPL).  Sign up today!

Here’s the timeline:

  • Oct. 2 – Oct. 8: Sign up here and begin brainstorming your “what if” question you are excited to pursue; post it to Twitter using #PassionProjectPL and/or share a video to Flipgrid; Join me Saturday Oct. 7 for a Twitter Slow Chat using #PassionProjectPL; Blog prompt: What is your “What if?” What is your passion project and why?
  • Oct. 9 – Oct. 15: Being planning what resources you will need and who you will collaborate with; refer to this list of Education Hashtags and this Padlet to find educators pursuing passions similar to you; add your name and passion to the Padlet; Don’t miss the Oct. 14 Saturday Slow Chat – #PassionProjectPL – to make connections and share resources; Blog Prompt: What is the importance of staying connected as an educator? How do you build your global PLN?
  • Oct. 16 – Nov. 10: Take action! Create a timeline that works for you, and will allow you to share out your findings at the end of the project; Mark your calendars for the Saturday Slow Chats to check-in with each other and offer support and inspiration (#PassionProjectPL) On Oct. 21, join us for a special Slow Chat with #EdChatMENA and #PassionProjectPL; Blog prompt: How’s it going? Keep us updated on your progress!
  • Nov. 11 at 2:00pm EST: The Professional Passion Project Share-Out will be our culmination to the project and an opportunity for you to share all that you have learned, how it has impacted your own teaching, and the implications for the global educational community. This will be a live video event – probably on Zoom – more details to come soon! Blog prompt: You did it! Celebrate your published project and share it with the world!
  • November 13 – November 17: Reflect on the project and everything you learned by posting to your blog, recording a Flipgrid, or video reflection; What were your successes? What were your struggles? What will your next passion project be?

The Professional Passion Project can also be launched at your school. It begins with a question or wondering – something you always think about, but never seem to have the time to explore in depth.  Begin by brainstorming questions and decide on the one that will have the most impact on your professional growth, as well as the most positive impact on student learning.  This leads to a plan of action, taking into account materials needed, resources to research, a timeline for the project, and people to collaborate with.  The project concludes with a share-out to the community.  Invite parents and stakeholders to share in a celebration of teachers who are passionate about education.  This is a great opportunity for teachers to model lifelong learning!  Encourage faculty to submit their findings to educational publications, too.

Here is a template to guide the process:

Last, but not least, teachers reflect on the project, considering both their success and failures.   This will hopefully spark ideas for another passion project and the process begins anew.

The Professional Passion Project provides meaningful, relevant, and personalized professional development.  Teachers are engaged and motivated because the project directly impacts their own learning and that of their students, too!

Check out these teachers sharing their Professional Passion Projects:

How can I use movement as a behavior incentive? (Grade 4)

How can I create global connections? (Grade 5)

How can I use Genius Hour to help students make a difference? (Grade 2)

Other ideas:

  • How can I use Class Dojo to improve classroom management?
  • How does a morning meeting have a positive impact on building classroom community?
  • How would a flexible learning space improve student learning?
  • What apps support collaborative learning?
  • How could a digital PLN impact my teaching?
  • How can I design authentic assessments?
  • How can I use technology to increase student motivation and engagement?
  • How can I use Kaizena to give meaningful feedback to students?
  • How would Genius Hour improve students’ ability to problem solve?
  • How can I collect data through Google Forms and use it to inform my instruction?
  • How can using Twitter improve my teaching?
  • How do online math tutorials aid in the comprehension of math concepts?
  • What apps better support English language learners? 
  • How can art/music/movement be incorporated into the classroom?
  • Does student work improve when they are given choice of how to share their learning?
  • Reflect on educational videos. How can they inspire your teaching?
  • How can flipped learning increase student engagement and deepen understanding?

What will your Professional Passion Project be?