Too often, I find myself trying to come up with intensively specific projects for students. Massive amounts of two-sided, collated and stapled assignments consisting of multiple steps and checkpoints. This intense need to plan for every single aspect is probably rooted in the very real understanding that students procrastinate. They need guidelines. However, the level of intense project creation that then falls upon me is crushing. Constantly tweaking, changing and revising the steps only helps to further sour me on the actual assignment itself.
What I want is a creative assignment to end a novel or a unit of study. One that easily proves students can think critically and problem solve. One that has them implement technology. One that has them actually create something related to my class, that practices skill sets learned in my class and that proves them thoughtful and creative. Did I mention that I would like it to be of their own design?
This is a lot to ask of teens. They need guidance to think outside of the test prep bubble in which they’ve existed since elementary school. So think of this project like an assignment in creativity, problem solving, big picture thinking, writing OR like a James Bond style mission, that is of course if you choose to accept it.
Novel/Unit Project with QR Focus Basic
1. The goal of a project like this is to give students a list of tools and a general overview of rules. Their job then becomes creating the project guidelines and the final product. Think Fed-ex Day but with some determined parameters/tools. Focused on novel or unit but on any aspect the students choose.
2. Set expectations and tools for the assignment. If you’re going for the element of surprise, split students into groups. Hand each group a paper bag filled with the tools they’re allowed to use. Example:
- Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close QR lesson (This gives you that 007 feel.)
- Images of tools they can use (This gives you that MacGyver feel.)
- Cell Phones
- QR Codes
- Any other tool you want to throw in for good measure
3. Ask that they construct an “official” assignment that could be used in a “real” course. They should pick an idea, issue or part of the book to highlight. Examples might include a QR Map of Holden Caulfield’s adventures in NYC or an assignment that asks students to use QR codes in
4. Ask that they set achievable and challenging goals for each week.
5. Provide class time for achieving these goals.
6. Ask that they present their final project and product.