Passion Projects

Passion projects are also called custom learning plans. After meeting with a child, a plan like the one below developed at HeartLight schools is outlined and then further developed with the child.

Dear Jasmine,

We had a fun time showing you around HeartLight School and getting to know you a bit. We've been thinking about the interests you have and possible projects that you could do. Please know that you get to create the projects you do with input from staff and your parents. With that in mind, here are a few ideas of what is possible:

Create and Perform Your Own Fairy Tale!

Read some wonderful books such as "The Fairy Ring" and "Little People."

Put on fairy costumes and play out imagination creation stories. (Example: forest fairies in search of a lost unicorn who will restore the rainbow over their village.)

Create a story for a play performance and write it utilizing skills like introduction, climax and conclusion. (This is a great way to understand writing skills through the process.) Create fairy dolls to be used as puppets in the performance.

Create a stage for the story to be told using props that the school already has available and creating original images drawn and painted on large pieces of cardboard for the back drop.

Rehearse play and practice with puppets. Have fun playing with others and communicating while completing the project.

Present at a family gathering or Parent Open House
An Exploration of Horses, One of Your Favorite Subjects!

Drawing - Exploring Light Values (sun, shade, and shadow) - Using a horse sculpture and a spotlight, look at how varying the angle and brightness of the light affects lighting values. Learn tools of the trade to capture the different values using a pencil or charcoal. Invite a local wildlife artist to visit school, share his work and how he approaches drawing wildlife.

Theater - Create a play about a horse or horses. Enroll other schoolmates to be in the performance. Create the backdrops, rehearse play, and learn how to direct and/or take direction. Perform play.

Dance - Invite a local choreographer to visit. Learn how to create a dance about wild horses. Create a theme, select music that conveys the moods to be animated, practice the dance. Perform the dance. A follow-up could be to attend a play or dance production to observe the use of music and lighting in portraying the mood or story line.

Language - Read books such as Black Beauty. Write stories or poetry on horses. Wild horses, race horses, work horses, etc...

Life Skills - Write letters to local stables/liveries to find out what you would need to learn in order to work there when you are older. Inquire about visiting to learn more.

History - Explore the history of horses. Where did they originally come from? How did they end up in the Americas? How did we get to have herds of wild horses? What has been the use of horses? What is the history of horse racing? Why is the Kentucky Derby so important?

Science - Create a poster of the different types of horses and the qualities of each. Inquire into the herd and community structure of wild horses, the open space requirements. What is being done to help preserve the wild herds? What is equine therapy and how are horses used to help people feel better?

Study what makes a race horse. How is speed important? What muscles are used? Why is the linage of a horse important? Study the horse bones.

Math - What does it take to raise a horse? How much food does s/he need? How much are all the medicines, shoes, stable costs? How much does it cost for a horse riding trainer or attending a riding camp? How does horse racing work? What are speed records? What are the costs in owning a race horse against the profitability? 

Field Trip - Visit a local stable/livery/horse farm to learn more about whatever avenue you have chosen.

Photography - Photograph horses in natural light; learn about background issues, framing, depth of field, composition. Take photos to use as reference for future art drawings and sculpture.

Clay - What are the different ways to work with clay? Where did the different techniques come from?

Design and create a piece of jewelry, like a pin. We could fire this then place the fired pin in vulcanizing rubber to make a mould. After the mould is made, learn how to cut vents and metal channels and learn how to cast pewter pins. Just think, you could make pins for your aunts for the holidays or family celebrations.

Jasmine, these are just a few ideas we came up with after we talked this morning. Again, you are in charge of creating each passion project with our teachers and other students. Our job is to support you and help you follow and develop your interests. We thank you for your consideration of our learning community for your educational needs. As you can see the possibilities for activities and learning are virtually infinite. The plan above would be fleshed out in discussion with the learner and a timeline for completion created