The assignment was presented in a few parts…on the day leading up to the project, I asked the students to free write (as part of a warm up journal entry) and think about what they hoped to learn from Honors English 9. For many, this is their first Honors class, and I am so pleased to see their excitement at the thought of becoming better writers, and wanting to continue onto Honors 10 next year. Not only did I get to see how motivated they were, but I also was able to see what their writing was like.
The next day, I told the students they were going to get a blank index card and had to made their paragraph into a visual. I provided paper, and random scraps I had left over from when I used to teach an elective class. They had free reign to create whatever they wanted as long as they could support how it tied back to Honors 9 and freshman year of high school. All of the vision boards are so unique and amazing. If you came to Back to School Night, you were able to see them up on the wall. As they finished their boards, many students noted that their initial paragraphs did not match up to their vision boards. This provided me the perfect opportunity to show the students what I expected from a proper one chunk paragraph, as far as a topic sentence, concrete details and commentaries. I feel that over the course of this project, they became stronger writers, almost overnight. That need to accurately turn their thoughts and their visual into words, now that they knew the structure that was expected of them, truly made a difference. I would definitely recommend a project like this as an ice breaker at the beginning of the school year. Yesterday I asked the students to reflect on the experience, and they had nothing but good things to say about it. That moment when the Vision Boards started to go up on the wall…well…you could just see how proud they were, and I was equally proud of them.