Different is not an accident. It requires an intentional step away from the familiar. It’s taking what’s been done because it’s always what’s been done and turning it upside down–180 degrees. This was and has remained at the core of my Project 180 journey. I, above all, want to challenge convention, tackle tradition, and smite the status quo. It drove me then. It drives me now. And it will continue to drive me, propel me down my perpetual path. It’s who I am. It’s my “why.”
But different is messy. It’s risky. It’s untested. It’s untried. It’s uncomfortable. It’s unfamiliar. It has to be. It’s different. As such, I have given my kids many helpings of different this year from the perverse idea of selecting their own grades to the responsibility of choosing–or not choosing–to read the texts I put in front of them. Different is different. The latest spoonful of different has taken the form of the Passion Paper. This is a semester-long opportunity for the kids to pursue their own paths with writing. And though we are weeks into it, the kids still seem dazed and confused. And though normally this would register as a red light, it is a different signal, a sign that things are going according to plan. It is a green light on the road to different.
There is no rubric. There is no set length. There is no grade. There is no model. There is no expectation for completion.
There is choice. The kids can write anything they want. There is accountability. The kids have to “publish” their writing (see below). There is freedom. Kids have an opportunity to have an authentic experience as a writer, as a creator, unencumbered by the constraints of traditional, in-school writing experiences. There is support. The kids have the opportunity to get feedback from me. Some have conferred with me a great deal. Many have not conferred with me at all. I am most excited for the writing that I have not seen.
I want my kids to think of themselves as writers, not just writing-task finishers. To that end, we talk the talk. Everyday, we end our time together with our Mindset Mantra, which includes the line, “We are writers.” But we have to do more than talk. We have to walk. And to walk we have to have a path. That is why we are doing the Passion Paper. I want my kids to walk forward with writing, to venture into possibility, to dare the different. And for that to happen, I have to dish up different. A heaping spoonful of intention. No accident.
Along today’s trail we will…
…begin with Smiles and Frowns.
…work on Passion Papers.
…reflect in our Journey Journals.
…end with a Sappy Sy Rhyme.
Happy, Tuesday, all. Dare different.
Do. Reflect. Do Better.