I'm trying out a lesson with my students this week. We just finished reading "The Taxpayer" (from The Martian Chronicles) and we discussed the theme of being left behind. I had the students get into groups of 2 or 3 and each group was given the following multi-step assignment:
1. Make a web/graphic organizer with brainstorming related to the theme.
2. On the computer, write an 80-100 word piece (fiction or nonfiction) utilizing the theme. Save the document.
3. Use Wordle to create a word cloud from your piece. Save a screenshot.
4. Pull out the high-frequency words and search the Creative Commons photos on flickr using those words. Create a photo collage. Save.
5. The groups are turning the project in electronically.
1.I only had 9 computers available this week (4 desktops and 5 borrowed laptops), which is why they're in groups of three. Pairs would've been better, but I didn't have the resources.
2. If we print any of the final products, it will be in black and white.
1. Get the students accustomed to composing on the computer rather than drafting by hand first.
2. Have the students see the writing as a step in creating a visual product.
3. Experiment with different ways of exploring a theme from a literary work.
I'm running a GT lesson using the same procedure but with different content simultaneously (to make my life easier and to see what the differences are). Those students are studying a bit of philosophy. Specifically, they are looking at questions about how we perceive reality. Each group was given a question from the book Philosophy for Kids, some supporting materials to read, and some URLs. I asked them to prepare a presentation (using a written piece, a Wordle piece, and images) on their question and related issues.
Today is Day 2 of this lesson. I'm hoping that the students doing the theme-based project will finish today so that I have some time over the weekend to look at their projects and see how it went.