The Slice of Life March Writing Challenge @ Two Writing Teachers – 31 days of a writing community.
DigiLit Sunday is hosted by Margaret Simon @ Reflections on the Teche
I had fun coming up with a list of possible historical fiction book club project ideas a couple of weeks ago, ideas which (I thought) they would enjoy working with. We passed this list around, went over the options, asked questions to clarify and then got into our groups for decision making. As students worked, I made the rounds to listen in and see if I could be of help in any way as they chose their project and mapped out planning sheets.
I guess I should not have been surprised to find that although my students were sweetly appreciative of the “creative” list of options I had provided, most of them chose the last option: “Got an idea of you own? Do it!”
Here’s what Lila and Amelia planned to create:
They walked me through their plans patiently, explaining how they had figured out what to do, why they wanted this particular format, and how they hoped to get it all done. And then they were off to the races: each project day would find them working in their particular corner of the room, talking and referring to the text. To tell the truth, I wasn’t exactly sure what this project would turn out to be like, but Lila and Amelia knew, and they were happily confident as they worked together day after day, all the way to project presentation day:
And this was pretty much true for most of the book groups as well, they chose to come up with their own ideas and find ways to execute them. Project day was so much fun for me, their teacher, as group after group came forward to show off their inventiveness:
We had everything from comic books to stop motion movies to movies filled with all sorts of technical flourishes I couldn’t even imagine how to do. None of these, of course, had been on the original list. It was another example of a teaching truism I have come to believe in with all my heart: if you give kids a little bit of scaffolding and a whole lot of choice, they will create amazing things…they will innovate.