Last weekend, I shared a post about my experience with Genius Hour or “JUST QLICC” and was humbled by the response. Clearly, this cutting edge approach is hot and whether you are a teacher eager to try it or a veteran who’s leading the way, passion based learning is “in” and the support is immeasurable. In writing this new post, my hope is to connect with any educator who embraces the idea of Genius Hour and is open to discovering a new player on the team, Thrively.
What I remember the most in learning about Thrively was my mouth dropping, unable to say a word. I had never seen anything like it. The point being that children can truly thrive if they discover their unique strengths and passions, I couldn’t help but think: “What can possibly be better than this?” It was probably past 9:00 pm, but my adrenaline was pumping so I rushed to sign myself up and take the strength assessment. I figured that if it was pretty accurate, I would sign my whole class up. Anyone who knows me would agree that it was pretty spot on especially when it was revealed that I have a gift for gabbing.
After completing the assessment alone, it was certainly one of those precious moments where students were stunned. They were only able to motion me to come over as they couldn’t believe they were handed a professional strength profile starring them! No scores, no areas of improvement, just a few paragraphs explaining how awesome they are. As if that wasn’t enough, their eyes followed the screen to a list of additional attributes most students didn’t even know they had nor did I!
When students then scrolled down to view their interests and passions, the first question I asked went something like this; “How many of you wish you had taken this assessment before you started JUST QLICC?” They slowly nodded their heads trying to simply comprehend what they were seeing in front of their eyes. My students knew it all too well, the feeling of not really knowing what they’re passionate about, spending hours during the early phase of JUST QLICC desperately trying to figure it out. For ten year olds to know what they care deeply about in terms of the world around them is a huge victory, one that’s quite difficult to accomplish without any help.
Continuing with Thrively to watch videos about potential career paths and journal about a particular activity or game highlighting one of their interests became the preferred learning adventure for the rest of the year. Until the last day of school, students were completely engaged. How could they not be? Having started the SuperYou Curriculum, they had begun to believe in themselves as they were finding their own superpowers and through one website alone, the door to self-discovery opened wider. Students were getting affirmations for the superpowers they knew they had, finding additional strengths, and learning what would potentially drive them in life. They were able to answer questions most students (AND teachers!) typically struggle with; “What are you good at?” and “What are you passionate about?” They were gaining confidence, opening up, and couldn’t wait to get back to it.
After seeing cutting edge approaches in education come to life, I am convinced that knowing one’s strengths and passions, and using both to make a difference will change the experience of going to school and ultimately change the world. In my new role of technology integration specialist, I am committed to strength and passion based learning so that students can do just as Thrively has intended, thrive. I encourage educators everywhere not to waste any time. Go to thrively.com/classroom, take the strength assessment yourself, and get your kids going. Last year we only scratched the surface, so I can’t wait to connect with you as we discover the potential for our students. On a personal level, one of my greatest discoveries was my love for writing and I’m thrilled to continue posting Thrively experiences throughout the year.