My oldest son, Davis, loves football! Not just playing the game, or watching it on TV, but everything about the sport! He’s a walking encyclopedia of football history, player stats, and current team news.
Last weekend, while we were watching the NFL Pro Bowl, he pointed out key players before the commentators could say anything. I found it humorous how he would share information with our family about the player’s previous college experience, draft pick, and every team he had ever played for, only to hear the commentators repeat the same information soon after. At one point, the commentator and my son called a player by different names. The sportscaster quickly corrected his error! Mind blown!
Where did he learn that? I can tell you, without a doubt, it wasn’t from me! I enjoy watching football, but I know very little about the history of the game, specific stats about players and teams, or current information about specific teams. To be honest, I can’t even throw a spiral!
I believe he learned so much about football because he has developed a deep interest in it. He reads blogs and online news reports, watches ESPN, and pays close attention to the details of the sport. He writes his own blog on NFLRush.com, and follows players and teams on Twitter.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could help kids find that same drive and passion for learning in school? I think we can!
Last week I was sitting in on a parent/teacher conference. At one point, the parents explained to the teachers that their child had spent three hours on a powerpoint for class. The teachers were confused, because they had not assigned a powerpoint, and certainly wouldn’t have expected the students to spend three hours on an assignment! After a little more conversation, the teachers discovered that the “assignment” was a “Genius Hour” project that was optional for the students. Students who wished to participate would present their project to the class at the end of the week. From what I gathered during the meeting, the students could research anything that interested them. This particular student spent three hours that evening on an optional project about snakes! How cool is that?
Kids have the potential to blow our minds with their learning! We just have to give them opportunities to find their passion and to develop it! As educators, we have to find ways to make math relevant, writing meaningful, and science exciting!
By the way, if you haven’t read it yet, Teach Like a Pirate, by Dave Burgess is an amazing book about helping students find their passion!