Choice Novel Unit: Show Off Your Project!

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SWBAT describe literary events that demonstrate how characters change as the plot unfolds in creative ways.

Big Idea

Time to serve up the first project from the menu!

Project Display

20 minutes

At the 7-day mark for this novel unit, the first project that the students have been working on is due.

The project menu has nine options and each student chooses three to complete. Some students work together on projects and some submit ideas not found on the menu, such as videos or poems. The purpose of these projects is help students identify the elements from the story that show how the characters change and grow as the plot unfolds.

They arrive to class eager to display their work and show it off to their peers. Some students work together on to create short videos of scenes from the stories that depict major events in the character’s lives and cannot wait for their film debuts! Some project samples are available for the stuffed character, a comparison poster (including a graphic organizer), a report card, a set of Who Am I? cards, a shape analysis poster and a still photo of students filming a scene for a video.


Group Discussion

20 minutes

With Project 1 under their belts, there is no time to waste getting on with Project 2. However, a class discussion reveals that not everything went according to plan for everyone. So before moving on we take some time to reflect on what went well and what were the trouble spots.

Many students determine that for the next project they will allot more time and not wait until the last minute. “It’s better to spend 20-minutes two or three days in a row, than 2 hours the night before!” Making sure they have the necessary materials on hand is another common comment. One student describes his concerns here.

By far the biggest problem that I see is that the students do not go back and read over the directions and/or rubric to be sure that they have completed all parts. For example, the Who Am I? cards should have clues listed in order of difficulty and the Character Profile project includes a list of likes and dislikes that many students skip. These errors result in the deduction of points from their scores. Also, since the real purpose of these projects is to analyze characterization, students must include accurate details (in the form of quotes or page numbers) to support their thinking in order to earn full credit.

Time to Read

20 minutes

To let students know that a high value is placed on reading, I try to allow at least 20 minutes of class time for the purpose of reading and taking notes. During this time I check in with one or two groups each day. Sometimes we read together and sometimes I sit with just one or two students to be sure they are keeping up and to check in on comprehension. Some students like to read with a partner, which is a good way to build fluency and I get to listen in from a distance.