That’s a picture of me almost 20 years ago in Venice Italy.

Don’t laugh. 🤣

I was a young, idealistic 22 year old and it was my first trip abroad (besides Mexico).

You might have guessed by my outfit that I didn’t travel much.

I carried a beat up passport that barely made it through customs, a Fodor’s Travel Book (in my left  hand) thicker than a Bible, some California board shorts to keep cool, and only a vague idea of how I would spend my 4 weeks in Europe.

I was the typical American abroad; and this was my most memorable Summer Project.

And I loved it.

20 years later, because of that trip, I now live abroad as a digital nomad in Hong Kong with 30 countries and climbing under my belt.

Why do I tell this story?

Because these trips were more than just Summer Projects. They were the INSPIRATION for project-based learning experiences I would introduce to my students in successive years.

In “PASSPORT TO A NEW WORLD,” students acted as travel guides to plan 4 week itineraries for their own family trips abroad.

In “UTOPIAN CIVILIZATIONS,” they acted as city planners to design their own ideal civilizations.

I was able to bring insight, enthusiasm, passion and a ‘know how’ to each of these projects because I had done them myself.

What project will you take on this Summer?

  1. You could build an urban garden in your backyard.
  2. Publish that blog you’ve always wanted to write on secret family recipes.
  3. Turn those songs you’ve written into an album that you’ve only played for a few friends.
  4. Get started on a memoir to pass on to your children.
  5. Build the professional recording studio for your Education related Youtube channel.

The point is less about the project you take on, and more about what it will do for the re-design of learning experiences and units of study in 2021-2022.

You will learn: 

  1. How to scaffold projects: Chances are you won’t finish it in 6 weeks. 🙂
  2. How to incorporate expertise you don’t have: You probably are gonna need help learning how to re-tile that bathroom.
  3. How to manage a budget: Your significant other isn’t gonna let you get away with anything that breaks the bank. 🙂
  4. How to acquire new skills: You probably didn’t know you could drown out that background construction noise in your educational videos with a simple editing trick.
  5. How to share/exhibit projects effectively with others: At first, you were scared to share the herb rack you built with your neighbor, but now, you want the whole neighborhood to know!

Whatever you do…

Please take a BREAK from teaching.

Re-discover your passion and make it the centerpiece for your classroom or school next year.

Your kids will love you for it.