I love my career path. I love being a Gifted Intervention Specialist (GIS) just for the fact that I structure my class so much differently now than when I was a Regular Education teacher. One of the biggest differences is that I do more projects that are based on the things that my students are interested.
Most of the time, I give my students a list of about 5-8 different projects to choose from. Each project is based on State Standards, but they also vary in topic and discipline. Some of the projects focus on one subject, while others focus on multiple subjects. My students choose which project they would like to do and who they want to work with. Sometimes students work in groups and sometimes a few work by themselves.
Sometimes, I let them decide what they want to learn. We do some interests inventories, and try to narrow down what they want to cover. We then try to match up the State Standards they will cover. Then they are on their way. Most of the time, the project they do is something that have an interest in, or passionate about. Sometimes what they choose is something that affects them like a social or moral issue. When we do these type of projects, I encourage them do something they want to do. I want them to love what they are doing. I also want them to be more passionate about what they studied after the project is over.
I read an article by E. Paul Torrance, and help said that if he could give young people some advice he would say this:
Don’t be afraid to fall in love with something and pursue it with intensity and depth.
Know, understand, take pride in, practice, develop, use, exploit, and enjoy your greatest
Teachers need to create classroom environments, and lessons and activities, to help students fall in love with something they are interested in and passionate about. We need to show our students their strengths, and how to develop those strengths. When we do that our students will be more engaged in the learning process. They will be more critical of own learning, and not bow down to pressures from others to follow paths that may not excite them.
What are doing in your classroom to help students fall in love with learning? Are you fostering their passions?