Innovation Reflection Pond: Gazing At Past Student Projects

finnpondLooking at my past student projects reminds me of a Koi pond. Letting my students look at past student projects is like bringing your nephew to visit a favorite Koi pond: you can just see them thinking and reflecting and you find yourself both visiting the past and gazing into the future. I’ve always wanted to have a calm spot where my students can gaze at past innovation projects. I’m going to use this post as a “project pond” and continually update it with pictures and links to past student’s projects. Thanks for stopping by.

Project #1 2014: Park and Ponder

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The Need: our parking lot at FVHS was uninspiring, a group of students wanted to make sure that the beginning of every day started off on the right foot.

The Feed: after quite a bit of back and forth with admin and the district (the admin and district were more than helpful in the process) they finished the project over spring break and it looked great.

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Find out more at the Park and Ponder Twitter account. 

Project #2 2014: The Giving Tree

The Need: Two 10th grade students wanted to bring wonder, whimsy, love and community to our city.

The Feed: This took a while to complete. They actually did it twice, once AFTER they had already earned their final grade. They had to figure out how to promote, how to get the envelopes in the tree. What to write, and what to do with the writing.

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Check out the Giving Tree Twitter account. 

Project #3: Krimi Sweets 2014

The Need: Students NEED love in the form of baked goods and two young ladies NEEDED to learn if their dream of opening a bakery was something to follow.

The Feed: O dear GOSH did these two girls ROCK it. Their project was the talk of the town. You can read the inside story of the Krimi Sweets business, or just look at what Krimi Sweets created in a typical weekend (PICS), and finally you can read their reflection on the Idea Farming project and this approach to learning.

Krimi Sweets

View more of the Krimi Sweets Project on Twitter or find their Facebook page. 

PROJECT #4: H20 Polo Clinic for Middle School Kids 2014

The Need: The girls’ water polo team at FVHS had gotten so small they were only going to be able to run a varsity team. A group of girls got together and said “What IF we put on a free clinic so middle school girls could see how much fun it is?”

The Feed: I was SO proud of this project. This made a much needed impact in FVHS girls sports and in the culture of our school. The girls in the project learned about CIF regulations, talked to numerous administrators, district staff, and our athletic director. They contacted local middle schools, handed out permission forms, the works. They were working in a grown-up world and it was awesome.


PROJECT #5: The Green Guardians: Cell Phone Charger 2014

The Need: Three young athletes were riding on some excercise bikes when one of their cell phones died. They asked “What IF we could charge our cell phone with an exercise bike for cheap?” I remember them also watching a video about using a bike to supply power after an earthquake.

The Feed: They DID it. You can read more about their adventure on the Green Guardians’ WordPress Blog.

Green Guardians 2

Green Guardians

PROJECT #6 The Niktor Project On YouTube 2014

The Need: Helicopter parents, as much as teachers dread them, students FEAR them. One senior student decided that perhaps parents would calm down with a little education by other parents.

The Feed: The wonderful student created six, that’s right SIX nicely filmed and edited short videos on topics like: cell phones, accepting a community college in their child’s future, letting your kids take risks, and even how to handle your child’s dating life. You can watch one below, or click the link to see all of them.

PROJECT #7: Breakfast With Champions 2014

The Need: There was a local businessman who was taking Veterans out to breakfast, but no one knew about it and no one was telling the Veteran’s story to the outside world.

The Feed: These two young ladies (with the help of a talented student at FVHS) created two great videos. One of them caught the attention of the Orange County Register. You can read more at their blog Breakfast With Champions and watch one of the videos below.


PROJECT #8 “Struggle” 2013

The Need: Studies have shown that if you have just ONE good friend in your life during middle and high school you can drastically reduce your risk of drugs, poor grades, depression etc… The other need was that life is hard and how do we survive it?

The Feed: Two senior boys and a friend created one of the most moody pieces of cinema I’ve had the pleasure of watching. Stick around for the whole video. I cry EVERY dang time I watch this. The music is perfect and the closing quote strikes hard and stays with you.



The Need: Elementary schools rarely have a theatre program.

The Feed: 10th grade students at FVHS decided to bring theatre to a local elementary school. They ran into trouble getting a school to agree to have them on campus so they decided to work with a local tutoring company. They had a blast.

Think It Theatre

Project #10 DIY Tutorials

The Need: People like cute stuff. People like cheap stuff. People like making stuff. People don’t know that they want THIS stuff.

The Feed: A group of students created cool craft tutorials online. This was a fun project. For our #ideaFM Innovation Symposium this group raised money by letting people make crafts right at their table and then donating the money to charity. Good times.


check out the DIY Tutorial Project’s Facebook page for more info

Other ideas that students have done or that I hope students do one year:

  1. Weekly online comic strip
  2. Weekly or bi-weekly online podcast
  3. Online magazine (like how Tavi Gevinson started an online empire with her fashion website Rookie Style at the age of 12.)
  4. Create an app
  5. Create and submit for publication a children’s book.
  6. Create a vibrant YT channel
  7. Create a cooking show/online magazine
  8. Create a movie or documentary or stop-motion movie.
  9. Create a publishing house by taking blog posts from your peers and creating a book or magazine of the best or most interesting posts.
  10. Go through the process of creating and then getting a patent, or trademark.
  11. Create an Instagram of their daily or weekly artwork/photography like: @cintascotch aka Javier Perez or
  12. Create an interesting daily reflection like Seena Rich
  13. Create a “how-to” YouTube channel.
  14. Create and/or sing several songs or a short album.
  15. Perform at an open-mic night: poetry, songs, or stand-up comedy and film it.
  16. Create an ice cream social for a senior center.
  17. Create an Etsy or Deviant Art store.

Here are some more ideas

Here is a Google Slide Share of Idea Farming innovation projects that took 30 days or less.

Here is a wonderful observation on a project combining art and raising money for vaccines.


Operation Sock Monkey was a project to raise funds for surgeries for children in third world countries with cleft palate lips, we thought it would be a good idea to combine my love for sewing, our love for sock monkeys, and our passion toward the great cause, and make it into something that can not only help those children, but also bring back that sense of childhood for others–making them smile through the wonderful, cute gift of a sock monkey just as it did for us in third grade.” (Cathy)


A great project reflection with a blog post and video on some students making blankets for neglected animals.


Project Kind: “I learned a lot about running a mini business and time management by doing this project. I think that it’s extremely important to be on task and not slack off at all because we almost missed our deadline by not getting enough orders in. I think that if we tried to advertise more, we wouldn’t have had such a hard time with selling our shirts. I also learned that running a business is not as easy as it looks, especially when you’re a high school student on a budget. Sometimes you will mess up and things won’t go the way you planned but that’s okay because in the end, everything will work out (usually). Despite running into quite a few complications, my team and I were able to get everything in order and our project turned out to be extremely successful, something that I couldn’t be more proud of.”



I’ll be adding more ASAP… bookmark this and stop back in a bit. 

Bonus Pics: Our backyard “Koi” pond. (That’s my nephew, not my son, although our son has enjoyed our backyard pond for a long while.)


You can also use these hashtags to find more projects on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook: #ideaFM #apeltree #areteNOW #zapFV

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