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Book Projects for High School Students

Instructor: Jason Lineberger

Jason has 20 years of education experience including 14 years of teaching college literature.

If you're tired of the traditional book report, here's a list of alternatives. These book projects for high school students cover a variety of thinking levels, learning styles, and range from low to high tech.

Book Projects

The traditional book report is not a particularly engaging assignment for today's students. 21st century learners need projects that push their higher order thinking, their ability to contribute to an effective team, and their problem-solving skills. The projects listed below will do that, and many incorporate opportunities to bring in an audience to make the experience more meaningful.

Virtual Worlds

Programs that allow users to design virtual worlds are powerful tools for expression, and many are inexpensive. Some emphasize building, while others let users design simulated experiences. Students with access can develop online walkthroughs for their novels or simulations that mimic crucial scenes or themes from their books. Rather than reading a report about the struggles of a group of schoolboys trapped on a deserted island, why not allow your audience to explore the island themselves and experience the ideas of the book first hand, virtually? Teachers can even use these projects with future classes as a way to hook them on reading those books.

Role-Playing

An option that works well for verbal or kinesthetic learners is role-playing. Students can take the role of characters from the book, the author, even a salesperson attempting to influence book buyers. These role-played presentations can be done live for the class, on video, or on location through the use of green screen technology. A more in-depth project might require students to edit their films to address multiple characters, or a group assignment could role-play the characters appearing on a talk show after the conclusion of the novel. Allow class members to play the audience and pose questions.

PechaKucha

If you want a more traditional report, one option is to allow for students to present to the class. The PechaKucha format allows for 20 slides that are shown for 20 seconds each. Presenters don't use notes, and since the presentations move quickly, they can't rely on large amounts of text on the slides. This forces students to adopt some of the habits of effective presenters while keeping the talks focused and concise.

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