Assignments and Student Work
Here are a number of descriptions of assignments I have given recently in my Literature 9 and Writing 10 courses. My students become creators and sharers with tools like Explain Everything, Prezi, Thinglink, TouchCast, Wix, and more. Samples below, with additional highlights here.
Myths Resources Webpage Project
This project results in a collaborative web site with resources related to a single topic. Here, each student was assigned a god, character, or other topic relating to the Odyssey. Students then created their own web pages with their text, a custom Google map, videos, and images. Because we used Google Sites, the workflow was seamless with each student editing only his or her own page.
Example of feedback using Notability app:
The 2052 Project assingment asks you to research a technology or topic and project it 40 years into the future. How will some aspect of daily life be different when you are in your mid-fifties? Research, explore, explain, speculate. Human Enhancement student project
Profile in Passion
What is passion? Who has it? What does it look like at work in the world? To discover students' answers to these questions, we are following these steps:
1) Research passion: definitions, quotations, examples; contribute your findings to a shared Google doc for everyone to learn from and comment on.
2) After review and discussion of our findings, craft your own definition of passion. There are numerous avenues; which one is most meaningful to you?
3) Create a Profile in Passion project. Choose a person--anonymous, famous, or even infamous--and research him or her. What articles, movies, podcasts, conversations, etc. can you learn from? Then, using Explain Everything, Wix, Book Creator, iMovie, Prezzi, or some other electronic medium, craft a project in which you present your definition of passion and portray how the person you chose embodies it. Plan to share your project with friends and family. Gandhi / Leymah Gbowee / Oprah Winfrey / Rebecca Black
Fahrenheit 451 Team Activities
In this activitiy, teams of students watch short videos then find connections to themes and ideas in the novel Fahrenheit 451. They then share their findings with the class in short presentations.
As we read Lord of the Flies, create a survival website for one of these specific environments: woodlands, desert, tropical island, ice/snow. Assume you are writing for the survivor of a plane crash and there are only minimal manmade resources to help. Do research to discover what particular issues would affect someone stranded in one of these environments. Consider such questions as:
Are there insects or animals that might be a problem or a resource?
How about finding water? Food?
What sort of shelter would a person need and how would he or she build it?
What first aid would be good to know?
How can one make a fire or otherwise stay warm?
How about ways to increase one’s chances of escape or rescue?
Present your information in a professional-looking website.
Thinglink from another class
Create a Thinglink that conveys meaningful conent about some aspect of another course you are taking or activity you are participating in.
Visual exploration of a theme
Create a visual exploration of a theme in Secret Life of Bees or Lord of the Flies.
Greek myths Google maps annotation project
Create a custom Google map with annotations told from the perspective of one of the Greek mythology characters we have encountered in our reading. Include images, text, and links.
Hero's Journey project
Create a project in which you (1) explain to an audience that is unfamiliar with the hero’s journey concept what it is, and (2) apply the hero’s journey to the film you watched and analyzed (Such as WALL-E, Kung-fu Panda, Brave, etc.). Use Book Creator, Explain Everything, Prezzi, Wix, or another electronic medium to build your project. Plan to share your project with friends and family.
Kung Fu Panda Hero's Journey
Essay topics for The Odyssey
Faithfulness: Odysseus would not be judged as faithful to Penelope by our modern standards, but might he be considered faithful by the double standard of his time? Consider his relationships with Calypso, Circe, Nausicaa, and possibly others, and consider his interactions with Penelope once he is back on Ithaca.
Agency: Penelope’s assertions of agency are typically indirect, but they are assertions nonetheless; she has power and wields it. Either support or disagree with this statement, and explore evidence to support your contention. You’ll want to define concepts like agency and voice, explain how women were relegated to the domestic sphere, and you may want to compare Penelope with other characters, such as Athena, Calypso, Circe, Nausicaa, or others.
PTSD: Much of The Odyssey is the story of a soldier trying to return home from a long and brutal war. What is involved with shifting one's frame of reference from society to war and back to society? What scenes from the story can be viewed as reflecting this transition and the post-traumatic stress disorder that sometimes accompanies it? What qualities does Odysseus have that make him the only one to successfully complete the return to the home world?
Coming of age: The Odyssey begins with Telemachus needing to transition from powerless boyhood to manhood. Athena sets out specific goals for this journey. Write an essay in which you explain his situation at the outset of the story, the path Athena charts for him, and the progress he eventually makes. Does the conclusion of the story fulfil the goals and challenges we learn about in the Telemachy?
Xenia: Examine Odysseus and Polyphemus through the lens of xenia. What are the the key aspects of xenia, and do the two characters behave according to those aspects? One can argue that Odysseus is respecting xenia in his desire to stay and meet his “host,” or one can argue that he and his men are violating xenia; take one of those positions and refute the other.
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