The first thing you will notice about the Summer Reading Project: Create a Book Jacket worksheet is it begins by setting a purpose. Students are engaged when there is a real world connection to their assignments. In this case they are asked to “advertise a book that you enjoyed during summer.
For many students the explicit instructions on the worksheet are enough for them to produce a well-organized final product. However, some students require more structure to ensure success, so I created a set of graphic organizers with one for each section. They are made available to everyone. I also save exemplars year to year for students to view.
Many students enjoy using technology to create digital presentations. For that purpose, a set of directions for a Keynote presentation is attached. This year, about 50% of the students choose the electronic option. Some insight on this work appears here:
Typically I give students two class periods to complete the project on one of the books they read during the summer, but you can easily do it with less in-class time and more at-home time. The in-class work focuses on the writing sections. We discuss what makes good writing: How should a paragraph be organized? How do I add descriptive details? Using my own experience with a summer reading book, we produce a well-organized paragraph. This guided modeling readies students to work independently.
The night’s homework is to complete rough drafts for sections 3 and 4. These are revised and edited in class the next day. At that point, students have a chance to get input from peers. Those with weak writing skills are encouraged through interaction with stronger role models. The remainder of work on this project is completed as homework. I usually assign the due date as at least 3-5 days ahead and preferably over a weekend.
This is one of the only projects of the year that is graded according to a point system. Most include standard-based rubrics. The reason for not doing so on this one is it reflects learning from previous grades and its most important purpose is to provide a baseline from which to build the instruction that follows.
This assignment also provides students with a chance to evaluate their summer reading experience and to consider what, if anything, to do differently next year. I collect these assignments to pass back on the last day of school. Students get a kick out of reading their own advice and are more likely to follow it than mine – even if they are the very same thing!