The Yoojin Project

Last week, Yoojin and I were talking about new ideas and possibilities to consider for her Passion Project. On the following Monday she came to school and everything we had talked about she had followed up with by taking action. She didn’t do what we were talking about, but our chat inspired other ideas which then lead to more ideas. Clearly, Yoojin had thought deeply about the conversation we had and then put those words into purposeful action.

This then gave me an idea and I saw an opportunity to extend this to every student in the class.

Each student had till Friday to do one thing that they have been talking about doing and never got around to it, or do something that connected to learning throughout the week. The conditions were really simple, they had to prove with evidence of how their words and actions had come together.

Students are really good at talking about ideas and most of the time don’t do anything about it. They often take action only as a result of an adult telling them to do it.

We all had a remarkable week of learning, connecting and accepting responsibility. Every student had something to show and share. Here is a list of some of the things students did as part of their Yoojin Project:

  • Two girls arranged to ride to school together;
  • Washing up the dishes;
  • Playing with their brother or sister;
  • Putting more effort and detail into their exposition writing;
  • Taking photos of graffiti in the community;
  • Spending more time with their mum and talking about their day….. and so on.

Everything that students did was timely. It was always connected to learning, knowledge and skills. Most important of all this experience was developing them as people.

Students saw the value and meaning in what they were doing and why they were doing it. They received feedback about their Yoojin Project by their peers. They felt really positive and good about themselves. This is what successful people do – they are doers.

How much time do you take away from the other ‘stuff’ jammed into your schedule and put it into something that is authentic, purposeful and meaningful naturally? Sometimes we need to teach beyond the curriculum to reach them in other ways.

We all need to carefully listen and observe our students in what they do. We also need to take it one step further and make time to take these opportunities and treat them as priorities in what we teach.

The Yoojin Project is now part of us and what we do. The students know that this term means putting their words into action. Now how special is that for Yoojin!

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8 comments

    • concentricthinking

      That is a really nice thing to say. Yes, time to get back into what I love to do, celebrate it and share with others. We can all learn so much from each other. It is being able to pull people together and draw on their ideas and experiences.

  1. Stephanie

    Wow I am so happy to see Yoojin inspiring others through her thoughts and actions. 짱! However I am wondering if these projects are in fact related to all those attitudes and the IB profile that we laminate on our walls. Perhaps the connection is there it is up to all of us to notice and name how Yoojin took a risk by trying something new, showed commitment by seeing it through and is confident in her communication?

    • concentricthinking

      You are right, it is all about the students recognizing the connections between this and the 5 Essential Elements of the PYP. It is what good teachers do – act as the connector, so that students see and feel what it means to be a true PYP student.

    • concentricthinking

      It really is so simple. Just make time for it and make sure you see it through. I guess we are not turning the Yoojin Project on ourselves now. I would be really interested in what you do with your students. Please let me know how it all goes, and what they got up to. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Angie

    Truly inspiring Chad ! It makes me so happy to hear that you are encouraging children to honour their word. As a Health & Lifestyle Coach it is a big part of what I do with adults who pay good money for me to hold then ‘accountable’ to their word. To follow through with their goals and desire in life. If children can learn this now and take this ‘skill’ with them throughout theirs lives they will be able to accomplish anything they put their minds too. Not to mention the self satisfaction and confidence this builds in a child. Everything we need to succeed in life is within us, to learn this now is very powerful. Love your way of thinking and teaching Chad – your students are very blessed to have you as their teacher.

    • concentricthinking

      Yes, I like the word accountability. That is actually the main point and purpose of the Yoojin Project. As you mentioned in your line of work it is all about getting people to see the power and benefit in putting their own words into action. Could you imagine if this approach was more widely used in schools, by the time students do ‘leave’ school, they will be in a much better position to do what they say and say what they do.

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