War Literature: Final Projects

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Constructing assignments that don’t diminish the importance of war-focused texts is key in engaging students and creating meaningful learning.   Today’s posts will include two different types of activities to use as you cap off the end of a unit about war in the English classroom.

Every Day Carry
A classroom activity, posted about earlier in the fall, could include using the photoblog  Every Day Carry as a discussion about how we determine necessity in The Things They Carried.

Single Sentence Animation
Electric Literature has a series of what they call “single sentence” animations on their website.  The catch?  They are constructed to represent one sentence in a text.  The following exercise is meant to play off of the same idea but exemplify the big picture argument of war.  Consider using this final assignment with All Quiet on the Western Front, The Things They Carried, Catch 22, or Slaughterhouse Five.

Have students view one or two examples to give themselves an idea of what can be done.  Some favorites:

“Three” by Marc Basch animation by Jason Mitcham



“Hibachi”  by J. Robert Lennon animation by Benk

Ask that students follow these directions:

  1. Choose the best sentence from the text.   It must be something that is both moving and exemplifies a big picture argument about the effect of war.
  2. Using iMovie or Moviemaker, create your own animation highlight the meaning of the sentence itself.
  3. You must include appropriate instrumental music.
  4. Consider using Stop Motion or Automatoon as a way to create your own animations.
  5. Your job is to convey the meaning of the sentence.  Consider the emotional impact as well as the rhetoric/language.
  6. Your video can not be longer than one minute in length.
  7. Innovation and creativity will be rewarded.  Violence for the sake of violence will not.

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