Show up and Show off: Student-Generated Poster Talks

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SWBAT identify key elements of their independent novels (character, key scenes, ideas and themes) by creating a book poster and poster talk.

Big Idea

I get to ask my students follow-up questions about the books that they have been reading for several weeks! It's a great day because students can elaborate on their insights, and we can build meaning and understanding together.

Poster Talk Groups

35 minutes

Timing.  To begin, please don't misunderstand the sequence of lessons here.  A month may have elapsed between the first lesson and this one!  It's important to get the books into the students hands and get them reading challenging texts (RL.9-10.10) independently. In these lessons, the students compare interpretations with one another by first creating a book poster talk, then by creating a larger creative response to the content of the book. These efforts will assess the students' mastery of a range of reading skills that we have been addressing all year because much more of the ideation, analysis and application will come from them in a creative and novel project, a digital story (W.9-10.6).  Further, each lesson will now incorporate informal communication as an assessment technique, and I will need to be recursively checking with teach student to see how the reading has gone and to expect evidence and insight in each of these interactions (SL.9-10.1). 

Today's lesson guides students to work together to create a poster to set down the basic ideas of the book (RL.9-10.2), the character developments (RL.9-10.3) and the key scenes which they will use in their digital storytelling project (RL.9-10.7).  The next few lessons will focus on creating a script of the key scene, selecting images that complement the scene, and finally integrating these into a spoken-word production of the novel. 

Book Posters.  In introduce the following activity by drawing on the board a pie chart of equally divided sections: themes and ideas, character developments, and key scenes.  The idea is that the students themselves should understand the book that they have read independently, and they should each be able to explain in depth their poster notes.  I plan to assess the posters individually (SL.9-10.1) while the rest of the class works on the next stage of this project, which is the script writing (W.9-10.10) and image curating (W.9-10.6).  

Poster Talks as Informal Assessment

60 minutes

Poster Interviews.  I will call the students up to the posters which I have hanging in a corner of the room.  I call them up in groups of 2-4 students, looking to interview each of them in depth, to see just how deeply they have comprehended the book that they have read.  Most are already finished with their books, but some need a few more days to finish, but ALL should be able to explain in depth what key points about character, theme, and scenes they have put onto the poster.  

In these talks, I am also trying to lay the seeds for a discussion of representation.  As the students have read the books, they are ready to consider what the film makers have altered, left out, added, etc., in the film version (RL.9-10.7).  Some students have already gone ahead and viewed the entire film, and others are kicking it into gear to simply finish the book.  However, as I respond to each student or group of students, I will make sure that the basics of interpretation are mastered before moving onto the topic of representation, as in the last question (#14) below. 


Prompts: I typically build the prompts that I ask each student from their stated understandings, but here are a few  prompts that represent some directions that  you can go:

  1. What is your first impression of the main character(s)?  Who is he/she?  What are his or her friends and family like?  What does your character desire, and what is in the way? (RL.9-10.3)
  2. What circumstances seem to be out of place as your book begins?  How  would you deal with these circumstances?
  3. What do you think will happen next and why? (RL.9-10.1)
  4. What types of problems is the main character facing?  To what extent do you think he or she is doing a good job at this? 
  5. How does the author continue to build suspense and excitement? (RL.9-10.5) Is it through description or through the character’s thoughts and actions?  What makes the story intriguing?  Find two or three passages to support your view.
  6. What are some clues that the author uses in order to show you that the character(s) is progressing towards finding a solution or resolution to his or her problems?  Do you think that things will work out for the character or not?
  7. Describe the settings.  Show how the settings affect the events of the story.  Would the setting have affected you in the same way?  Explain?
  8. Think about how your main character (protagonist) has reacted to setbacks and situations that he or she is facing.   Find two or three examples from the book in which the character’s personality is revealed, and explain what you think about this person.  Would he or she make a good friend?   Someone you would trust? (RL.9-10.3)
  9. What seems stronger, your character or his/her circumstances?  How do you know?  Back up your response with two or three passages from the story.
  10. Create a profile or facebook-type page for your character, including hometown, favorite interests, status, etc. 
  11. What problems do you think that you and the main character have in common?  Compare how you both have dealt with problems.
  12. What do you think has made your book memorable for so many people?  Do you think that the characters and scenes are memorable in the same way?
  13. What problems and conflicts in this book are realistic?  Explain your view.  
  14. What part of the book was the most suspenseful?  Share it and tell why.  How would you convey that suspense in a film?  If you saw the film, what alterations, additions, or subtractions did they make?  (RL.9-10.7).


As Assessment of Reading.  My biggest concern is that the students are showing an incrementally  more complex understanding of character, theme, and story than they have been showing all year.  For each student, it's a bit of a sliding scale, but above all, I am looking to remediate situations in which I find that a student has not begun to access the storyworld. 




Wrap up

5 minutes

At the close of class, I remind students that the semester project that they are doing is a digital story in which they can produce a scene from the book that they have read.  It can be a lost scene, an alternate ending, or a key scene from the storyline. 

I will say:

1.) If you are indeed done reading, begin to write your script, about a 1/2 page rendition of your scene of choice.  

2.) If you have extra time (and some of you will) begin searching out images from that you can use in your production.  You will need to cite these, so keep track!