Each day, I begin my ELA class with Reading Time. This is a time for students to access a range of texts. I use this time to conference with students, collect data on class patterns and trends with independent reading and to provide individualized support.
In the previous lesson, students learned about the requirements for the End Of The Year Book project. In order to make sure students are starting out on the right foot and to monitor their work, it's incredibly beneficial to give them class time to begin working. Since we are winding down the school year, it's also a great way to keep them engaged by giving them an individual project to work on. When they make their own choices about what to do, they are more inclined to work. As much as I would love for students to be motivated to work outside of school, they are not always a hundred percent motivated to do so with summer around the corner. When my students are sitting in their desk, with their projects in front of them, I can get more out of them.
I tell students they will have the rest of class to work on their projects. I remind them that they need to use this time effectively and productively. One suggestion is to have students create a plan for the day. This helps students who need tasks broken down into more manageable components. They can make a plan on their own or with guidance from a teacher for what would be the best use of time.
Students all have access to the Final Book Project that they can refer back to during this process. Since they are many steps some students struggle with looking at the big picture. I tell some students to break down each step one at a time. Instead of looking at the big picture, they can look at each step individually. When they complete one step, they can move on to the second. Breaking down these steps makes it more manageable for the students and it also cuts down on the complaining when they say they don't understand the project.
During this time, I will monitor students to make sure they are working and being productive. By the end of the year, I want students to practice independence and this kind of project is a great way for them to do that. I hope that students can work on their own. It's okay to have some students discussing but I try and monitor to make sure they are still working.
This video shows one student discussing not only the list of books she will be using but her process: Student Discussing List
Here is an example of a student's sketch for the art piece of this project: Art Project Brainstorming. He is working with dystopian books in which the worlds created in each book is prominent. His sketch shows that his project will focuses on creating a model of each world and show how the books are connected.