Literature Circle Project Ideas & Rubric

Instructor: Tawnya Eash

Tawnya has a master's degree in early childhood education and teaches all subjects at an elementary school.

Are you coming to the end of your literature circle unit and looking for a great extension activity? Check out this lesson to see meaningful project ideas to extend students' learning as well as a great rubric for assessment.

Using a Literature Circle Project

Literature circles are a wonderful way to engage students and get them actively involved in enhancing their reading skills. What better way to end a literature circle unit than with a literature circle project or activity that envelopes the book? Most likely, students have been working for weeks breaking the book up into smaller sections/chapters to analyze each part. Now, you want a meaningful and even fun way to wrap everything up! Check out the following ideas for projects that could be used as a way to culminate a literature circle unit.

Character Project

Description

Students get to characterize a specific character in the story. They will do a 'Character Bag' and include specific items, drawings, and descriptions of the character using a paper bag. This will allow students to develop a deeper understanding of the character in the story and possibly even strengthen their understanding of who this character really is or what they represent.

Guidelines

Students completing this project will each choose one of the main characters from the story. They will focus their project on describing not just the physical characteristics of their character, but the thoughts, actions, and growth of the character in the story.

Students must include the following information in their project:

  • Drawing or picture of the character on the front of the bag along with the character's name.
    • Also include the title and author of the book.
  • Left side panel should include a typed or written description of the character's likes and dislikes.
  • Right side of the panel should include a typed or written description of what the other characters in the story think about the chosen character.
  • The back of the bag should include a detailed description of how the character has grown or changed throughout the story. Students must cite evidence from the text to support their response.
  • Inside the bag, students need to include 7-10 items that could be associated with their character or symbolize their character. There should be a short description detailing the significance of this item to the character.
    • Example: if the character is kind-hearted, students could include a drawing of a heart, a heart sticker, or some type of heart object.

Tips

  • Encourage students to be creative and really go into depth with the description of their character's growth and changes throughout the book. Make a special note if the character learned a lesson or played a major role in the story.
  • Students could use a paper lunch bag or even a smaller gift bag. They may use crayons, colored pencils, or markers to enhance the look of their project.
  • Students may hand write or type the information for the 'Character Bag'.

Diorama Project

Description

Students get to recreate one of the main events from their book. For this project, students will create a diorama of one of the most important scenes or events in their book. Students should focus on using 3-D objects or creating 3-D objects to include in the diorama.

Guidelines

Students must include the following when they are creating their diorama:

  • A clear, written/typed description of the scene or event they chose.
    • What scene/event?
    • When and where did it take place?
    • Why did they choose it? Why is it so important?
    • What happens? What's the main idea?
    • Who is involved?
    • How does this scene/event change or add to the story?
  • The diorama itself must clearly depict the scene/event in a 3-D picture. Show students some examples of dioramas such as the one pictured below.


Sample Dioramas
Dioramas


Tips

  • A diorama can be made inside a shoe box.
  • Using little figurines (toy dolls, Legos, or other plastic figures/creatures) add great depth to the project.
  • Encourage students' creativity by telling them they could create their own figures by using clay, Play-Doh, or construction paper. They could collect items from outside like sand, dirt, rocks, sticks, etc. There are so many ways to incorporate one's own touch with a diorama.

Using the Projects

Depending on how you run your classroom or the group of students you have, you have a few options for how to include a project at the end of your literature circle unit.

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