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Differentiate with passion projects

September 19, 2012

Project-based instruction is one or the best ways to address diverse learning objectives in a classroom. Projects allow us to provide enrichment as we provide feedback and direction, we can help students practice IEP objectives such as reading, writing, or communication skills, and we get to see students work “outside the box” of seat work and class discussions. The featured post on Stump the Teacher, however, is not just another look at project-based instruction. This version asks students to take on ongoing “passion projects”; learners get to explore topics of choice in depth and they get to do it for long periods of time. I cannot imagine the long term benefits of this type of learning, but it is clear that it would be both memorable and meaningful for many a student.

A few years ago, I wrote a book called Just Give Him the Whale. This book is about helping students with autism learn through they interests and areas of expertise. I wish I had an opportunity to go back to the book and share the passion project idea in that book. It is the perfect way to appeal to students who often struggle with traditional ways of teaching and learning and thrive when they can connect to familiar knowledge and explore their own questions.

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