School of Rock is pretty inspirational when you think about it. (This is another situation where if you haven’t seen this movie, you really should. It is one of my favorite movies, and last night I was watching it which inspired this post. Today we are just driving back from Ohio and have been listening to Insurgent and Allegiant in the car.)
Sure Dewey/Mr.S didn’t do the most ethical thing by basically stealing the identity of his best friend to take a job as a substitute teacher, which he isn’t qualified for. However, what he did while he was a sub proved that unconventional teaching can do great things!
Since he was unqualified as a teacher, rather than teaching school material, he taught the children what he knew which is how to play rock music. He first hears the kids play during music class. Then he forms the initial band (as in those that play instruments), and then he gives jobs for everyone else: “Just because you aren’t in the band, doesn’t mean you aren’t in the band.”
Everyone has a job based on what they are good at and enjoy, but they are all working together on one big project: Rock Band. There are those that play instruments; tech people doing lights and pictures; roadies learning how to operate fog machines and the set up and take down of equipment, including sound proofing the room; a designer that makes the costumes; groupies that make merchandise and name the band; and a manager who makes sure everyone is doing their job.
There class time is broken up into different parts as well. Rather than traditional subjects, they have time for learning rock history, rock appreciation, specific skills for their jobs, and then band practice for half of the day.
Mr. S accidentally turns his class into an entirely project based class that follows student passions, but also keeps them together with a common big goal: to put on an amazing rock show! This is kind of incredible when you think about it.
What if that is the trick to projects? You have to have one really broad project that requires several mini projects that can be pursued through the lens of different passions in order to complete the project.