Seven years ago my colleagues and I were challenged to come up with an innovative course that would fit into the new 21st century high school the town had recently approved. We got some ‘basement time’ in the Superintendent’s office and thus the Senior Humanities course was born! If only it was that easy….
Over the last six years Senior Humanities, a course that all seniors must take for English credits, has grown and flourished under our auspice. In short the course works like this:
Seniors rotate through three teachers, having each of us for one term. During that term the teacher teaches whatever he/she wants to teach. Pretty great, huh? For the last three years I’ve taught the psychology of success. My colleagues have taught everything from Death of A Salesman to Media and Journalism literacy. It’s been challenging and thrilling! During the fourth term students work on the Senior Project – a project in which they really engage Dan Pink’s ideas of autonomy, mastery and purpose. Ideas come from students and they have almost total control over their space, time and product. Each of us guides a section of students through this process.
The Senior Project is upon us as of this week…Students are struggling with ideas and proposal requirements. They are working towards that sense of purpose while getting used to autonomy they’ve never had before. Did I mention they get to leave school to work on their project? A pretty good cure for that dreaded senioritis!
Innovation in schools is sweeping the nation right now. Twenty percent time, genius hour, autonomy, mastery and purpose – All advocate for students to explore passions and interests beyond the traditional high school curriculum. I’m proud of my colleagues and I to have been apart of such a cutting edge course. If you’re interested in the Senior Project or creating something like it click here to view or download an excerpt from Six Steps to Senior Project Greatness. Or if you’re interested I’ll be launching a course on Inspiring Innovation this spring. Click here to pre -enroll!