I have this tendency to want something incredibly creative from students as we end the study of a unit. I want something bright, colorful, thoughtful, artistic. I want to be blown away. I forget the following: I’m no artist and most of them aren’t either. Drawing always ends badly in my class. Even though we long for something “creative” that spans multiple disciplines we still have a responsibility to have students consider motivation and purpose.
The New York Times ran an article about a high school student who curated a city-wide art show for teens. The story was remarkable. It reminded me that often we do our students a disservice when we don’t make them reach. They are capable. This article reminded me of a synthesis question the AP Language and Composition exam used in 2007. The premise of the prompt was that every single exhibition depends upon a series of “decisions” made by a curator. It is in this that we have the basis of an alternative project. This project itself asks that students identify themes. It’s particularly good for weightier works like The Grapes of Wrath, The Odyssey, All the King’s Men, MacBeth, The Poisonwood Bible, etc. The basic premise is that you want the novel or the characters or the unit to serve as the exhibition itself. You will have students become “curators” for their own exhibition using the microblogging platform Tumblr.