Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E.

“How do you shine?” is too often a question left unanswered, and a question that’s too important not to ask.  For even our youngest students, we can blend learning to empower and when third graders walk into “Superhero Headquarters for Empower Hour” it’s what they expect.

Elmwood students started a journey last year to discover their “superpowers.”  This year, five classrooms have taken on the challenge of activating their superpowers and passions through a series of lessons on Thrively called Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E.®

What is Thrively?

Thrively is a personalized learning platform enhancing Genius Hour all over the country.  From receiving a strength profile to learning through videos and collaborative projects, Thrively opens the doors to strength and passion-based learning in a way we haven’t seen before.   Students as young as third grade become engaged in their strengths, interests, and even career paths using a variety of features catered to who they are and wish to become!

What is Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E.®?

Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E. is a cutting edge approach to learning focused on asking students to discover what makes them special and what they are passionate about.   Students learn that by unleashing both, they can make an impact on themselves and others.  In fact, one third grade class at Elmwood School refers to themselves as “The Illuminators.”  They are very proud as LaVonna Roth, creator of Ignite Your S.H.IN.E, assigned them this powerful name.

Within a unique set of lessons on Thrively, LaVonna reaches students through videos that ask them to dig deep into who they are (Self), what they love (Heart), and who and what inspires them (Inspire), especially when life gets hard.  She challenges students to begin thinking about their path in life (Navigate), and the importance of putting each letter together so they can be Exceptional human beings.

Students love how LaVonna becomes a part of their lives within seconds.  She is able to connect with them by providing interaction as well as by asking thought provoking questions.  In the first lesson, she asks students to use sign language so they can participate with her when trying to grasp what each letter of S.H.I.N.E. represents.  They are given the opportunity to choose their favorite letter, helping them personalize not only the acronym of S.H.I.N.E. but the process.

Throughout the lessons, students are able to capture their thinking in journal entries, which teachers can then view and offer feedback for.  In addition, they are asked to create a Thrively avatar and reflect on who they are externally, and most importantly, internally.  

Students’ favorite activity so far is in Lesson 4, when they are given the following prompt:  Interview three people in order to find out what makes them light up with excitement.  This is when teachers begin to see the hype for passion and connection that students so deeply crave truly come to life.  It’s this excitement that makes the leap to Genius Hour not such a leap after all.


What are third graders saying?

Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E…

-teaches you about yourself and it brings out the S.H.I.N.E. in you and teaches you about things you like and new things about yourself. It’s just happy.

-tells me I can be who I want to be. I won’t worry that people won’t let me fit in. I just don’t worry about it.

-lets us express our feelings and find our passions.

-makes you explore your passions and you can see who you are. It makes you a better person.

-makes me happy, because my friends and I can help each other.

-helps me feel good, because it helps me help others feel like they’re included and equal to everybody, because we all S.H.I.N.E.

-makes me passionate about myself and feel good inside!

-helps me find my passions! It also helps me understand the passions of my friends and others. I felt like now that I interviewed a couple people in my class, it makes me want to interview more people so I can find their passions!

-helped me find my passions and learn more about me since I never really knew about me until I tried it and it made me feel good that I know about myself! The lesson where you interview someone let me know what my friends like so I can be more comfortable with them and hang out with them.   Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E. has brought me closer to my friends!

-taught me my passions and superpowers and now I can use them to change the world!

-helped me to know what goals I want to reach and how to reach them and that I can change the world and help others!

-helps me S.H.I.N.E. and helps me feel confident!

-helps you know what you enjoy about the world!

-tells you your personality and it’s who you are and it helps you succeed in your goals in life!

-challenges you to tell about your goal in life and how it challenges you to tell how you are special!

Students have only completed the first four lessons and “The Illuminators” are launching Genius Hour next week for the first time at Elmwood School as both Thrively and Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E. have prepared them.  I can’t wait to write again soon about Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E. as students continue with each lesson and am thrilled to add a Genius Hour journey to the next post!

To become more familiar with Genius Hour, please check out the video below!  Third graders recently found it incredibly helpful.


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