Inspired by Genius Hour, 20% Time, and other personalized, passion-driven ventures in education and industry, DaVinci Day at Pennridge High School offers students an opportunity to allow their interests, passions, and curiosities to drive learning. When we envisioned and began this endeavor, we hoped that students would embrace an opportunity to choose an area of inquiry and learning. We hoped that students would see this as a significant shift in business-as-usual. We hoped that much of what students would invest their time in would, in many ways, be more relevant and meaningful. All that we hoped for is happening, and more.
As we told the students about a culminating TED-style presentation they would give to share their findings, the blogs they would create, the time we would devote to this, and the skills and experiences they would be garnering along the way, we, as teachers, began to shift some of our normal classroom planning in light of DaVinci Day. We began to wonder about incorporating more multi-media presentation and speaking opportunities, finding better ways to search and research by digital means, discovering the value of blogging, and harnessing the engaging power of their own passions by connecting them to existing classroom experiences and curriculum. It’s clear that this is not just a renaissance about student learning, but a challenge to us as educators to really do what’s best for kids in preparing them for their future. Creating this has become our DaVinci Day, our hour of genius. We’re learning too. Everyone learning, developing skills, engaging in something of value. The Mona Lisa of education. Priceless.
Please visit us on our DaVinci Day Site or at #PHSdavinciday. Your feedback and suggestions are welcome!
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