I need to be more creative

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Linguist92021, Aug 25, 2015.

  1. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Aug 25, 2015

    Our P assigns goals to us in the beginning of the year to work on and then we go over them at the end of the year. One of my goals is to be more creative with lesson planning. (I teach high school English in alternative ed)

    She generally loves my lessons, has always praised me for the plans, for the long term continuity, how the themes flow, the actual themes I choose, the high level of rigor and books we read and how I implement them.
    But she is also challenging me and encouraging me to be more creative. I have always had this as a weakness.
    I've had several very creative plans (one she had me share at our district meeting, in front of the superintendent), but most of the time these just sort of happened. I can't always be creative.

    So I need some help.
    This year's plans are roughly these:
    - read Night by Elie Wiesel starting next week
    - the following quarter read his next book, Dawn
    -in the spring read the last one, Day.
    I have the teacher guide with excellent Common Core aligned plans. - In between the books we will be reading some short stories, autobiographies and biographies of people who overcame extreme obstacles
    - also have a few essays they will write.

    How do I get creative? What can I do with a novel that would be actually different, more engaging and creative? My students are always into the books we read, but I want to find different ways. What kind of projects can I do? How can I change my instruction so that it is creative?
     
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  3. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Aug 25, 2015

    Have you tried a multi-genre project? My students enjoy it.
    Here is a good description: http://writing.colostate.edu/gallery/multigenre/introduction.htm

    I assign different point values to the various genres and let students choose the number of genres they submit for the points they want to earn.

    Night is one of the favorite books I've used with the MG Project.
     
  4. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Aug 25, 2015

    Maybe something more of an end game? What I mean is I know we had a medieval dinner at the end of our Shakespeare unit ( pretty much our last semester). We had to dress, act as we read about. So much fun & we couldn't wait. Is there something you could do like that?
     
  5. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Sep 8, 2015

    Ok, I need some specific help :)

    I need to include a project. We're starting to read the book Night, we had just covered all the background info.
    Honestly, the only project I can imagine is a poster, because we have so many limitations.
    - students will not do anything at home (maybe a couple motivated ones, but I can't have them do a poster or anything at home, they don't have supplies and just won't do it). So it has to be done during class time, which is fine
    - they don't have computer and internet access at home for research, or to make a Powerpoint or to type something up.
    - they can't use computers at school because most websites are blocked (for a reason)
    - we actually have Chromebooks on a cart, but if I was to use them and have them make Powerpoints, it would be great but it'd take an additional 2-3 days for them to learn how to do it.
    - they could still not search for pictures, so its's just difficult

    So the only thing I can imagine is a poster. I usually print images for them give them ideas and let them choose. We give very specific guidelines, for example they myst use at least 3 colors, and if they use blue, they must use just as much red, and vice versa, in additinal to all the other guidelines we give out.

    So my questions are:
    - if I have them do posters, do you have any ideas? I could have them use quotes, explore themes, do a story line, etc. Anything else?
    - other than posters, what could I do?

    We can't have them dress up (extreme poverty, they just wouldn't have anything). And this book is very serious and sensitive, so I would want to be cautious .
     
  6. miatorres

    miatorres Comrade

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    Sep 8, 2015

    Would it be possible for the students to imagine that they are going to produce a major Hollywood movie for "Night" and to create an enticing movie poster to advertise it? Poster guidelines can include a tagline of a major quote from the book, "Night" as well as names of well-known actors and actresses who will play major roles in this movie.

    Would a storyboard be another viable option? The students would create a six frame storyboard of six major events that they would include if they were producing a movie version of "Night."
     
  7. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Sep 8, 2015

    These ideas sound great!!
     
  8. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Sep 8, 2015

    I once did a Facebook project and an iPhone project, and it was really good, everyone put in 100 % effort, but I think it's too light hearted for a story like this.
     
  9. miatorres

    miatorres Comrade

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    Sep 8, 2015

    "These ideas sound great!! I once did a Facebook project and an iPhone project, and it was really good, everyone put in 100% effort, but I think it's too light hearted for a story like this."

    Thank you, Linguist92021. I completely agree that Facebook and iPhone projects are probably too light hearted for a sensitive story like "Night." I think that you're on the right track.

    Another project that may be appropriate for this story is for students to imagine what the front page of a newspaper would have looked like during the time "Night" took place and to create this page. This page must include an article about an event in the book, a photo with a caption, and a review of a book or movie that was popular during that month/year.
     
  10. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Sep 9, 2015

    I think I will go with the movie poster, and possibly with the story board idea when we read the book Dawn.

    This is what I have for the project of the movie poster
    Make a movie Poster
    Must include:
    - 3 colors minimum. Equal red / blue if used.
    -Title of book
    - Subtitle (for example: Chilling accounts of the Holocaust, or We shall never forget!, etc
    - Graphics related to the book (chimney, barbed wire, fire, train, etc)
    - Names of at least 4 characters as if they were characters in the movie (Elie, Father, Dr. Mengele, etc) with roles
    - At least 3 written details related to the story (Auschwitz, dates, Elie Wiesel's tattoed number, etc.)
    - a rating of the movie: MA or R

    I think this is simple enough but they can get creative and really show their understanding of the book and its purpose.

    How does this sound?
     
  11. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Sep 9, 2015

    Perhaps have them right a "movie review" on the back analyzing the movie like a critic?
     
  12. miatorres

    miatorres Comrade

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    Sep 10, 2015

    I think that this project would be perfect for your students. Brendan also had a great idea for students to write a movie review and place it on the back of the poster. This will be a wonderful way for students to learn persuasive writing.
     
  13. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Sep 10, 2015

    I ve done movie posters but gave the students an option of doing a book jacket as well. Picture, title and author on the cover, synopsis on the flaps, and info about the author on the back.
     
  14. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Sep 10, 2015

    I like the book jacket ideas as well. I think I will have them do that with the next book, Dawn. It is similar but slightly different (must include a short biography, etc)

    I don't think my students are creative and imaginative enough to actually imagine a movie and write a review about it :( They might surprise me, but I think a lot of them would struggle with it.
     
  15. creativemonster

    creativemonster Comrade

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    Sep 10, 2015

    Another idea might be "found" chapters or journal entries from a character. ...I don't know that imovies are necessarily light. The students might actually discover that creating a film version of a scene might be a powerful way to digest such heavy material.
    Poetry might be another option. Limit their review to x amount of words or lines, so that they have to choose their words very carefully.
     
  16. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Sep 10, 2015

    The iphone project I was talking about is not creating an imovie. It's basically a picture of what an iPhone looks like, and the students create it based on what the character would have had, if they had an iphone. For example, write 2 text messages received, a picture received, 3 apps they would have on their phones, etc. There are specific requirements and they all must relate to the characters. I don't think this would be appropriate because obviously no Holocaust victim had any personal belongings, due to no fault of their own. I think it would sort of poke fun at that or at least it would be very insensitive.

    I did this with Crime and Punishment and it worked out great. But I don't think it would work out with this topic.
     
  17. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Sep 10, 2015

    Not super creative, but I do a modern genocide research project at the end of Night. So many of my kids think the Holocaust is it, that nothing like it has ever occurred since. We look at countries like Rwanda and Cambodia among others. It's one of my favorite units because I get to include so much world studies in it.
     
  18. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I definitely want to explore other aspects. For example I saw some educational websites just now that were talking about the non-Jewish Holocaust victims. There were 5 million of them, and they're often not mentioned (Gypsies, homosexuals, etc, or those non-Jewish who helped the victims).

    I also just saw the Butterfly Project from a museum in Texas. They're collecting 1.5 million butterflies to honor the 1.5 million children that lost their lives in the Holocaust. It started in the last 90s, but I don't think they have reach 1.5 million yet. It would be nice for my students to be part of something like that.
     
  19. msmac21

    msmac21 Companion

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    Sep 24, 2015

    Little late to this convo but as end of the book projects, how about a brochure? Comic strip with a scene from the book? Or a treasure box filled with objects that represent the book in some way (they can make them at school or find objects in the classroom), they present the objects and explain how they're related to the novel
     
  20. GeetGeet

    GeetGeet Companion

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    Sep 26, 2015

    Also a little late to this convo, but I have a suggestion about the poster design. I'd recommend giving the kids a little more freedom with color. Color is such a powerful expressive force, and it seems like it could be something to have the kids think about. You might want to ask an art teacher to pop in and teach about color theory and expressive color, and then have students use color to create an intentional effect. Font is also great for creating mood. You wouldn't use comic sans for a serious drama film poster, for example. You could photocopy alphabets of different fonts and have them trace the letters onto their poster. You would just need carbon paper , which is reusable, and it's easy! Since you're aligning literature with art, it seems like it would be most authentic and interesting to really have them think about how visual design can support the theme of book. Hope this helps!
     
  21. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Sep 26, 2015

    Actually it's not too late at all! I'm still teaching this unit and haven't done any projects yet.

    As far as the colors: they must use 3 colors minimum, so they have freedom there. We have to limit the red/blue usage because all these kids think about is representing their gang, so if they could, they would make a poster entirely red or blue just to show their gang colors. Can't have that.
    It is a good idea though to give them examples of different fonts, so i will print some out. However, some is gang related, like Old English is used for that, so i have to be careful with that. I can't have our art teacher come in, because she teaches 3 periods, and then goes to another school, so she has not time :(
     
  22. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Sep 26, 2015

    I do want to have them do something simple now, we're halfway done with the book, so I can't have them do a movie poster or book cover just yet, but I also don't want to pile on a bunch of projects at the end.
    I think I will have them do a simple project, have it done in one class period: depict a scene from the book. They must draw a scene, with labels of relevant information and a quote or an explanation. This can be used as an assessment, as they can show their understanding of the material.
     
  23. miatorres

    miatorres Comrade

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    Sep 26, 2015

    Depicting a scene from the book is a fantastic idea! Another possibility for a mid-book assessment and project is for students to select a theme, concept, or event from the book as the subject of a collage. Maybe the local library can donate magazines that you can bring in for this project.

    A timeline of the book's events might be another option. Students can make illustrated timelines of major book events that represent what they have read about so far.
     
  24. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Sep 27, 2015

    Thank you!! Great ideas! I really like the collage idea, I wish we had magazines and picture about the Holocaust.
     
  25. miatorres

    miatorres Comrade

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    Sep 27, 2015

    You're very welcome, Linguist92021. I'm glad that these ideas were helpful. For the collage project, I can see how most magazines won't have pictures about the Holocaust. For that reason, students have the option to create a collage about a theme or concept that "Night" expresses. For example, this book seems to express the theme that people should be sensitive toward others, including those who have different religions, ethnicities, etc. than their own. Once students have this theme in mind, they can choose pictures from magazines that represent people being accepting toward each other, such as children playing together and people helping others.
     
  26. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Sep 30, 2015

    1st project down. I think this was a very good formative assessment. It required:
    - depict one scene from the book (pages we've read, 3-65)
    - must include at least 3 colors, if you use blue or read, they both must be used equally and in that case 3 additional colors. ( I don't want students making gang-statements with their posters, but I also don't want look at a bunch of pictures with mostly red and blue)
    - include a quote with a page number or an explanation of the scene
    - 3 relevant facts labeled on the picture (names, location, date, etc)
    - 15 points. My quizzes have been 17 points, so I think this is very fair

    It went well. Every one finished, there were a few who started too late or took too long, some of them came in during lunch to finish it.
    I told them they were not graded on artistic ability, they were graded on the assignment (and had a rubric) but will be given extra credit for extra effort/creativity

    I also told them that I was looking for the following:
    - their understanding of the material (for example, not showing concentration camp prisoners with happy faces, or fully clothed with hair, etc)
    - they're understanding of the tragedies that occurred. So if they want to draw the picture when they hanged people, it has to show the sadness and horror and not make fun of it and draw goofy faces, etc.

    Overall it went well. Saw some very creative pictures (sadly not too many) and a lot of extra effort, and a lot of students who couldn't really draw well, but tried and 100 % fulfilled the assignment. I saw some who completely missed the point, for example 2 students sat together and each drew an overall description, including 3-4 scenes from the book. Will give some credit because obviously they've been paying attention and understand what happened but didn't follow directions. The effort was great though.

    So overall I've found this small project very easy, (they had 30-35 minutes) it works with any book, and it is a good way of assessing student understanding.
     
  27. miatorres

    miatorres Comrade

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    Oct 1, 2015

    Hi Linguist92021, Based on what you have described to us, I think that you have done an excellent job and that your students responded wonderfully to your lessons and projects. Kudos to you and your students!
     

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