As students enter the classroom, I greet them at the door, welcome them, and hand a copy of the directions for the board game project. After the bell, I let students know it's Walt Disney's birthday and ask them what their favorite Disney "production" is (I deliberately do not say "movie"). After a few brief responses, without comment or judgement, I share the quote from Disney that is the big idea for this lesson, "You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality." I inform students that today, we will be begin the design process, and a look at board game design--it will be their jobs to make the game a playable reality. But first, I ask if they have any questions about the literature circle assignments.
Before explaining the directions for the board game project, I provide ten minutes for students to ask clarification questions regarding the directions and what is due for the literature circle assignments (see "Catching on to Holden: Student SSR & Role Assignments"). I know already that I will again go over how to format these assignments, as that continually becomes a difficulty for students. An open forum like this provides students a chance to ask any questions that may come to mind, but it also allows students to get answers that they may be unwilling to ask, embarrassed by, or just not realize they have yet. Going over this information will also ensure students approach tomorrow's discussion prepared, having completed their assignments in order to hold a well-reasoned exchange of ideas (SL.9-10.1a).
A brief introduction to our look at Boardgame Design summative project for "The Catcher in the Rye":
Rather than a unit test or essay on “The Catcher in the Rye,” this project calls for students to work collaboratively, communicating within their groups for group norms and individual roles (SL.9-10.1b). In these groups, students must be prepared to exchange ideas (SL.9-10.1a). Students share these ideas, discussing the games and the concepts from the novel, and propel the project forward by responding to each other's contributions to discussion of the game and novel (SL.9-10.1c). In the end, students synthesize what each has created for their individual tasks into a board game, working together, justify their own contributions and respond to and include each others' perspectives (SL.9-10.1d).
Identifying specific details from the novel (RL.9-10.1) allows students to craft the game questions that address the motifs and themes in “The Catcher in the Rye”: identity and the journey; adulthood/growing up, prejudice, and trust (RL.9-10.2), and to review the development of Holden Caulfield as a character, and how his journey and interactions with others reveals and comments on these themes (RL.9-10.3).
In addition to crafting their components of the game, groups will make any necessary revisions based on players' feedback on the critiques: develop and strengthen the game's rules, questions, and review of the novel by revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most needed based on the feedback and critique they receive from peers (W.9-10.5). The feedback write-up itself calling on students to critique others' work and write reflectively (W.9-10.10).
Plus, it's challenging, different, and fun.
In order to review the goals of identifying specific details from the novel (RL.9-10.1), to craft the game questions that address the motifs and themes in “The Catcher in the Rye” identity and the journey; adulthood/growing up, prejudice, and trust (RL.9-10.2), and to review the development of Holden Caulfield as a character, and how his journey and interactions with others reveals and comments on these themes (RL.9-10.3), I ask students to follow along as I read through the board game project directions with them.
As with "Explaining Literature Circle Directions," I ask students to read along--in order to engage the visual learners--and listen--in order to engage the auditory learners--as I explain the directions and the five roles for this project. As before, I am reading through the directions with and to the students, as past experience has taught me that despite the clarity of the directions, there will be ideas misinterpreted. This allows me to address questions immediately, as well as provide multiple modes of presenting the information to the students. If students are disengaged, or if they need energy channeled, I ask students to read aloud as well.
A project such as this one requires students to exhibit both knowledge and higher-level thinking skills, calls on them to truly work collaboratively, and provides an opportunity for students ownership in what they do. Additionally, students can chose a role they feel comfortable, so in addition to challenging themselves, they have a known strength to fall back upon.
A major component of these directions is the formal engineering design process, which students read on their own/with their groups, in order to understand the series of events in this process and how they develop and relate to each other (RI.9-10.3). Additionally, this allows me to tap into the strengths of the engineering-minded students, and provide some cross-curricular experiences (see below).
Students get together with their groups in order to read the design process description, establish who will be best suited for which individual role of the board game design, understand the hierarchy of the decision making process and communicate within their groups for group norms and individual roles (SL.9-10.1b).
As noted above, in these groups, students must be prepared to exchange ideas (SL.9-10.1a). Board Students share these ideas, discussing the games and the concepts from the novel, and propel the project forward by responding to each other's contributions to discussion of the game and novel (SL.9-10.1c). In the end, students synthesize what each has created for their individual tasks into a board game, working together, justify their own contributions and respond to and include each others' perspectives (SL.9-10.1d).
Students are given this time in order discuss the parts together, as well as ask me any questions that may arise as they begin their design brief. As the process and product will evolve over the next few weeks, giving them time to set roles will strengthen their out-of-class planning, and give them the opportunity to build trust in each other to complete their portion. As always, as students work, I circulate the room, provide clarification, and refocus students as needed.
With two minutes remaining in class, I call students back to their seats, remind them the literature circle role assignments are due tomorrow--if they will be out/absent, please give them to a responsible student to turn in, there will be a reading check quiz after the literature circle discussion tomorrow, and we will also return to planning for the board game following the quiz, and before they have some time to get started on the next literature circle assignment.