How 20% of the School Day Got Me 100% Success

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Presenting Their ProjectsThe leaders at Google believe that people are happier and more productive when they spend 20% of their time at work on a personal project, something that interests them, gets them fired up and invites the creative juices to flow. So, for part of Winter Camp 2015, I gave my students the opportunity to do just that! For two weeks they worked one hour each day on an independent project of their choice, and finished by presenting to their classmates. The only catch was that they had to use English in SOME WAY. From creative music videos to a detailed analysis of different educational systems arond the world, they produced some amazing work! Click on the files and links below to see more:

  1. Mixing Food (PDF) – Curious what happens when you create unusual mixtures of tasty Korean snacks? Find out by downloading this file!
  2. Our Hobbies (PDF) – Learn what a few of my students like to do in their free time.
  3. Student Interviews (PDF) – Two students get up close and personal with their classmates, asking a combination of thoughtful and goofy questions.
  4. Creative Cooking – Two students successfully created a pasta dish with tangerine sauce. They made a video of the cooking process and translated the recipe into English!
  5. Tourist Attractions Around the World (PDF) – This group of students took the class around the world with a PowerPoint presentation of international attractions!
  6. Educational Systems of the World (PDF) – An interesting and detailed review of the way different countries around the world view and carry out education. In English. By high school students. #onlyinKorea #mindblown
  7. Sports at USSS (video link) – A comedic introduction to a few of the many sports students practice at my school.
  8. “Never Give Up” Music Video (video link) – An inspirational and entertaining music video about never giving up on your dreams (complete with English subtitles).
  9. LUV to Dance (video link) – A step by step video tutorial to one one of the most popular songs on the k-pop charts today!
  10. “Come Here” – English Lyrics – A detailed translation for one of Korea’s most popular wrap songs by Masta Wu (feat. Dok2, Bobby).

Awesome, right? On the day of the final presentations I just stood their like a proud papa. I couldn’t have been more pleased with the results and I encourage all teachers to try something like this with their classes! It’s amazing how 20% of a school day can yield 100% success.

P.S. Here is the schedule and handout I put together to guide students through the process if you’re interested: Passion Project Schedule & Handout.

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