Friday, December 17, 2010

Visualizing Themes in Literature

This year, I really wanted to focus more on project based learning. I felt that I was getting the best from more students when we did projects. I would still have students wrtie essays, but I always want them to do something a little different afterwards. I want to give the students to express their knowledge in different ways.

My Freshmen students have been working in Lit Circles this year with students from Van Meter, Iowa. This past unit, students have been reading Richard Wright's Black Boy. This a great book to use with students as they learn more about theme. We discuss the different themes in the story and discuss the events in the story that support those themes in great detail. After writing an essay (which I get to check over "break"), I decided I wanted the kids to do a visual representation of the the themes we discussed in class and share them with the students of Van Meter on the KidBlog.

Below you will find links to the various KidBlogs we have been using this school year. Some of the students have not posted their final project yet, but they should all be up and running by Friday. The students were given a choice of different web tools to use for this project. Many used Glogster, Prezi and Pixton.Some are more detailed than others, but I'm very happy with what I have seen so far.


Here is the assignment sheet I gave to the students. Feel free to use it or alter it in any way.

Visualizing Themes in Richard Wright’s Black Boy

Having read Black Boy and written an essay on the book’s themes, we are going to create visual representations of the important themes discussed in this unit. Using different web tools, you are going to express the various themes in a visual format and share them within your Literature Circle. Van Meter students have been reading the same story and I want you to show them what you have learned this unit. You will have three days in the computer lab to create a visual representation of your theme and post on your lit circle blog. Below you will find some options you can use to create your visual representations of theme.

This assignment is due _________________.

Web tools: – This is a graphic blog that allows a user to upload sound, pictures and video. – This is a free site that allows people to create their own comics. – This site allows you to record your voice over uploaded pictures. – This site is cool because you can upload a picture and record your comments. It also allows others to upload a comment of their own. It can even be a video comment. Very cool! – This is a cool tool because it is like a power point, but it is all web based. You can add video and pictures and share it with anyone you want.

If you have another tool you want to use, just ask and we will see what we can do.

Lastly, the students seemed to really like the project and worked hard during their time in the computer lab. It's a great way for students to show their knowledge and understanding outside of an essay or a multiple choice test.


  1. This is a great idea. I like KidBlog too and use it with my students in 7th grade. I looked at a few of the links and it looks like most students chose Glogster. How did you go about grading them?

    What have you done (by way of projects) in poetry? I am coming up on my poetry unit and really want to do a couple of projects to teach the unit.


  2. So neat that your students were able to collaborate with the kids at VanMeter, wonder if they realize what a HUGE deal that is! Lucky to have you as their Mr. Teacher.

  3. You will have three days in the computer lab to create a visual representation of your theme and post on your lit circle blog.
    thesis titles


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