Making Curriculum Pop

QUESTION: How can I make Independent Reading Projects cool for high school freshmen?

I am trying to create differentiated Individualized Reading Project choices that are high interest  for students in Freshman English classes to complete independently after reading a novel of their choice. Any groovy ideas out there? Thanks!

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I've had really good luck with mock facebook pages. My kids have to create a profile picture, set up the info, provide a certain number of status updates and have wall posts which all relate to a character or the plot of a story. Some have modified their own profiles and taken a screen shot which they print out and send to me. Others have found imitation sites out there, create it and send to me. Hope this helps!

Great idea! I want to adapt it to plants/animals when my kids need to do a project in Biology.
Thanks Kelley! The Facebook page option is a great choice (and from what I understand can be quite time-consuming), especially for a summer read project!

I think this project idea is fantastic.  Especially the status updates.


I'm guessing you had them create this in a word document or did you use some type of program that resembles facebook?

I've seen this idea before....but I've never used it. I think it is a great idea, I just think it would be difficult to implement because facebook is blocked at school and I hate to assign computer-related assignments when not all my students have the internet at home.

Perhaps I could have the kids create a facebook page on a "story board." I could create a handout that looks like a facebook page and the kids could fill in the blanks and find images from magazines, etc. that they could glue on the handout. (For example, profile pic.)

I found this! This site isn't blocked!

One thing that seems to work well and is a fun activity is to have students rewrite the ending of the book. Have students write a brief summary of how the book ends, then write their own ending. 

Another idea is to have students do a presentation on their book and make a visual aid of some sort. The visual aid can be anything from a poster board to a PowerPoint presentation. Have criteria of what has to be included in the presentation. Tie the independent reading project to the unit that students are currently studying in class. For example: if the unit is on plot elements, have the students diagram the plot elements of their book and present it to the class.

Hi Kim, check out these related past discussions - Question: Summer Reading? and LESSON PLAN: Differentiated Freshman Summer Reading Project and QUESTION: Summer Reading Requirements? They might give you some ideas to build on.

I recommend having them do a Web 2.0 component once they've read the story. They could choose between doing a Wordle, an XtraNormal video, a Blabber (from from the point of view of the character, a museum box ( ), a glog (from Glogster ), a web comic from any of a bunch of providers, or any other awesome Web 2.0 tool you enjoy.

Great ideas! I had not seen the museumbox before and thought that was awesome--especially for our students with special needs. We tried a Glogster project with our freshman students and that was very successful.

Thanks for sharing! 

An idea taken from the facebook page idea would be using iWeb on mac computers and having students create a website from a character's point of view. The main thing I like about using iWeb is depending on the character, they can choose the focus and theme of the web page. The students don't actually have to publish the page either.



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