Passion Based Learning, Week 4: Do One Thing Really Well

In this most recent installment on the Powerful Learning Practice Blog, our focus turns to helping our students dig more deeply into one tool (screencasts). Because our students are engaged, we have found they are more likely to persist with a task that doesn’t come easily at first. Add a strong, supportive learning community via Edmodo, and we are starting to see success!



Teaching and guiding students to use this one tool has helped in other ways, too.

While the two of us were becoming more learners than teachers, we also wanted to move our students to become teachers for each other. Our learning environment needed more balance.

Any time when we can put students in the role of teacher can be a benefit to everyone. I wouldn’t say passion-based, student-driven learning is any less work than a more traditional model of instruction, but in this context, I could not image a better way to teach.

Author: Matt Renwick

Matt Renwick is an 18-year public educator who began as a 5th and 6th-grade teacher in Rudolph, WI. He now serves as an elementary principal for the Mineral Point Unified School District ( Matt also teaches online graduate courses in curriculum design and instructional leadership for the University of Wisconsin-Superior. He tweets @ReadByExample and writes for ASCD ( and Lead Literacy (

3 thoughts on “Passion Based Learning, Week 4: Do One Thing Really Well”

  1. I just start Book Group Blogs with my freshmen Accelerated English students using Google Blogger. Although the Blogger format isn’t my favorite, it works well because all of my students have a gmail account through school to make access easier.
    I completely agree with you that it isn’t any less work (in fact, this first time trying the book group blogs has been FAR more work); however, I have enjoyed reading the incredible insight the students have when they post. I also love seeing what a great job they do taking leadership roles and taking risks sharing their thoughts and ideas.
    My students are not only discussing a book, but learning valuable lessons about creating and meeting their own deadlines, netiquette and proper communication with each other, and using technology to post more than a tweet or a Facebook status.


    1. It sounds like you have students engaged in some powerful reading, writing and thinking, Cara. School seems more like real life when we smartly incorporate digital tools such as blogging into our learning. I am surprised I didn’t hear about your project yet, considering you all are only a couple blocks away! 🙂

      If your students are ever interested in commenting on our 4th and 5th graders’ book blogs, let me know.


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