Passion-Based Learning: An 8 Part Blog Series via @PLPNetwork

Today, the final post about our computer club was published at Powerful Learning Practice’s blog. I attempt to culminate our learning experience by sharing our students’ and my co-teacher’s reflections regarding this after school enrichment offering.


Here are the links to all eight passion-based learning posts, in chronological order:

Week 1: Probing Minecraft’s Appeal

Week 2: Hello, Passion! Meet Frustration…

Week 3: Creativity Loves Constraints

Week 4: How to Do One Thing Really Well

Week 5: Can Minecraft Foster a Growth Mindset?

Week 6: Minecraft, Lego, and Makerspaces

Week 7: Audience is Everything

Week 8: The End of the Beginning

Within each post, I referenced a resource that provided the foundation for our learning together. Here is a list of the titles that were influential in our explorations of passion-based learning:

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us (Riverhead, 2011) by Daniel Pink

 “The Science of Passion-Based Learning” (Powerful Learning Practice, 2013) by Peter Skillen

Out of Our Minds (Capstone, 2011) by Sir Ken Robinson

Teaching in High Gear (Powerful Learning Practice, 2013) by Marsha Ratzel

Mindset (Ballantine, 2006) by Dr. Carol Dweck

Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom (Constructing Modern Knowledge Press, 2013) by Sylvia Libow Martinez & Gary Stager

Digital Student Portfolios: A Whole School Approach to Connected Learning and Continuous Assessment (Powerful Learning Practice, 2014) by Matt Renwick

I list these resources, humbly including my own, as a good place to start building background knowledge on how a teacher or school can tap into students’ passions. Finding learners’ entry points can create the necessary pathways to key curriculum targets and understanding. Engagement often starts with what sparks a person’s interest. Once we have them interested, asking learners to take on bigger challenges is a much easier and rewarding endeavor.



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 (

One thought on “Passion-Based Learning: An 8 Part Blog Series via @PLPNetwork”

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