Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Catcher in the Rye Project

A couple of days ago I tweeted that I needed to create 90 Wallwishers for my American Lit students becuse they were getting ready to present their Catcher Projects next week. I received many responses asking about the Wallwishers, the project guidelines, etc. I promised to put together this post and share this project with all of those that are interested.

I decided that I was going to have a Project Based Assessment after concluding my 10 Weeks and No Tests experiment (Read from the bottom up). I figured I would use the same idea I used for my Great Gatsby Project, but fine tune it a bit. 

I use a Livebinder for my class lessons and projects. Here is the one that I have used for this semester. American Literature Livebinder I have the instructions for the project here, but I will break it down here for you as well.

The students will be allowed to express 2 themes and 2 symbols in any presentation form they would like. Their presentation must use technology and it must be approved by the teacher before they get started. The students also needed to use a different form of technology than they used for their Gatsby Project. I like this part of the project because it forces the students to explore other areas outside of Power Point if they chose the easy way out with Gatsby.

After selecting their project, the students had two weeks to come up with a rubric and submit it to me on a Thursday. I provide the students with a link to Rubistar to help them create a solid rubric. I collect the rubric on Thursday and pass it back with corrections and suggestions on Friday.

On Monday, the students will have a chance to work in the lab and make sure everything will work well on the school computers. They can practice their presentation and fix any minor bugs that they uncover. On Tuesday, students will be randomly selected for the rest of the week until every students has presented.

The late idea I had on Friday was to have students provide feedback on the projects. I have used Wallwisher with the students in the past and they are comfortable with it. I created around 90 Wallwishers and placed them on my school website. Students in each class can go to this website and click on the name of the student presenting and leave constructive feedback on the presentation. I'm not worried about jerky students because I have them pretty well trained on proper computer use. I also threatened them with total point loss for everyone if one person breaks the rule. Hey, it works.

After reading their walls, students will write a 2 paragraph response to the wall. One paragraph will focus on what went well and the other paragraph will focus on areas that could be improved. I think this will be more valuable than the comments I leave on their rubrics. I know that many students just look at the score on the rubric and move on to the next lesson. At least with this approach, the students will have to look at the comments and think about them as they craft a response.

I will post some of the projects the students come up with after next week. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave me a comment or tweet me @TheNerdyTeacher and I will help you however I can. Thanks for reading this long winded post. See you on the flip side.


  1. A really great idea to use students' feedback, they really do take more note of their peers than their teachers, in my opinion. It also teaches the students giving the feedback to be critical but constructive, which is a handy skill to have.

    The rubrics are also a great idea as the students know exactly what they have to do to get the best marks. Not that many teachers, in my experience, actually make assignments and assessment so transparent.

    Looking forward to the flipside!

  2. Okay, now I am with you on the 90 Wallwishers :) Very nice idea to give each student their own where they can receive feedback and then have the student that presented respond back. Sounds like another excellent project!

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