Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Literary Projects

Students in my 8th grade French Immersion class know that they are expected to be reading at all times, in French, at a level that is appropriate to them. We call this their "toujours devoirs" (always homework). They do not fill out reading logs, they do not write book reports, they do not have to read a certain amount per day, per week, or per month.

However, every five or six weeks, they are given approximately 5 hours of class time (over five days) to create a project based on one of the books they have recently read. There are only two main requirements that I provide to students for these projects : their project must in some way encourage others to read the book, and they cannot choose the same project they have previously completed (e.g. if they have done a painting as a literary project already this year, they cannot do another painting) The learning curve on what constitutes five hours of quality work is generally steep, but I find that my students appreciate the fact that I allow them to budget their own time and encourage them to do their best possible work. Most of the time, students impress me (and each other!) with their projects.

This is our third literary project of the school year, which means that students have already done two projects. I find that the third and fourth projects are generally ones where students are thinking outside of the box. Earlier in the year, they tend to choose the project types with which they are the most comfortable. By February, they have grown accustomed to my requests that they think creatively, try new things, take risks, and persevere.

Here are some things that my students are creating for their literary project today :

Two paintings, one representing the personalities of the characters in the book, the other showing an important object from a different book. 

At the top : a menu for a theme restaurant inspired by Le Petit Prince
On the bottom : a crayon drawing

The beginnings of a board game
A watercolour background is shaping up for this student's project

This student is creating a riddle-based scavenger hunt for the class to complete.

Another board game is shaping up nicely. This student required some encouragement to create something a little more "professional" looking - sometimes grade 8 students suffer from "good-enough-itis" ;-)

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