Making Meaning from Texts – Writing Projects

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What does it mean? (Just giving this picture to a group and asking them to write about that might be interesting….

Yes as a species, we are on a constant search for meaning.  More to the point, (and as teachers and advisors, we have to get right to the point), we are often looking for opportunities for students to document their learning and reflection and practice and develop skills.  So, as advisors, we often help students design products to create in connection with their reading and learning.

  • Generally, the more real (to the world and the kid) the better.
  • Choose a product that explores skills students need to learn or practice.
  • Get creative!

For evidence at exhibitions, you should complete a project for each book you read.  Here are fifteen products that can help students make meaning from the texts they read that focus on the skill of writing:

1)    Book Review – Write a two page book review reporting on significant aspects of the book and outlining your ideas about what makes it worth reading or not.

2)    Character to Character Letters – Write a short series of correspondences (4-6 letters, cards, or emails) between two characters that have unfinished business, characters who have something important to talk about, but who do not talk about it during the course of the book. 

3)    Write an Epilogue / Sequel – Write a final chapter to the book that takes place 15 years after the action of the story and serves as an epilogue or sequel to the book.

4)    The Letterman – Write a fictional (but plausible) interview that the main character might have with David Letterman, Barbara Walters, or Katie Couric. Write the interview up in script format; performed the script should span 5-8 minutes.

5)    Setting Report – Write a short report that investigates the setting of the book.  Using at least three sources, research information about the geography, government, history, climate, culture, customs, dress, and unique aspects of the setting.

6)    Character Sketch – Character Profile/Bio Poem – Write a 1-2 page explanation of and description of the character.  What kind of person is this?  Use examples from the book to show what you mean.

7)    Web Page – Create a web page that outlines the plot of the book, explains the main characters, discusses a theme of the book, and gives your recommendation about the book.

8)    Reflective Essay – Write a two-page essay on how the book changed you or taught you something.

9)    Personal Narrative – Recall and write a personal narrative about an experience that you have had that was similar to a main character’s experience.

10) Outline – Write a complete and detailed outline of the plot of the book.

11) Compare/Contrast Paragraph – Write a short paper to compare and contrast two important characters in the novel or book.  (Use the Venn Diagram as prewriting).

12) Brochure – create a poster or brochure for this book to market it to more readers? Who is the audience you are targeting? What would they respond to? How can you create a brochure or poster that will persuade people to explore plot, characters and or theme of this book.  Work with a local library or bookstore to see if you can create a display for the book.

13) Editorial – take one of the main themes of the book (make sure it is a controversial one) and write an editorial to the newspaper – choose a side to the issue and argue your opinion.

14) Picture Book – synthesize the book into its main elements, and writing your own children’s book based on the text.  Draw or craft pictures to go with the text for each page.  Work with a local elementary school to read your version of the book to them.

15) Found Poem – have students go through the book and write down the 10 most important words and phrases.  Arrange these works and phrases in a poem that expresses an idea, action, or character in the text.