Independent Reading Projects

Novels, Plays, Podcasts, Short Stories, Poetry

The Whens and Whys

In between the major reads of our course, students will be challenged to choose an independent novel, play, or non-fiction work, a podcast to listen to, or an author of short stories and poetry to study.  They should choose something that can reasonably be completed by the due date offered.

Projects completed on these independent readings can satisfy several different Standards for the course, as described below. Completing the projects–as always–is optional, but to level the workload for the course, any Standards-reaching Project below can replace any single Moodle chapter project, using the same due dates.  However, students can always complete any of these projects at any time in addition to other work, if they choose. Do note, however, that there are “Final Due Dates” for marking periods in order to allow the project to be assessed in time for report cards.

Changing Project Directions

  • Some Project directions (length and due dates) can sometimes be altered by using equipment earned in the Nomads game.
  • Some Project directions (formats, approaches, media, etc.) can always be discussed ahead of time with Mr. Chisnell for approval.

 

Quality of the Novel:

To qualify as an independent reading, novels should be of a Lexile level appropriate to your skill (the more challenging, the better!), 150+ pages, and a book you have not previously read. Novels of exceptional length (over 500 pages) could be extended as choices across two projects.

Standards Met:

Successfully completing the novel projects here will meet the Novel Standard in addition to the rubric noted below.  

Project Options:

Each of these can be modified with teacher approval prior to starting them.

Projects are created to replace any Moodle chapter project (to keep workload reasonable!), but students are always able to do an Independent Reading Project in addition to the Moodle chapter project, as well.

In all cases except the Review for the Project, assume that the reader has already read the novel.  No plot summaries! For the Review, avoid spoilers.

MYP RubricDirectionsOther Form Options
Group Options
Analytical RubricWrite a 500-750 word literary analysis that examines either a single character’s internal conflict or a single theme of the work. Support your analysis with direct quotations from the book which address language, structure, or style as techniques used to reveal your conflict or theme.Solo podcast, class presentation, blog entry, “teaching” video

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Group projects add 50% to length for each additional member

Write a 400-600 words literary analysis that examines the writing techniques of the author in terms of their effect on a reader. You might discuss imagery, detail, sentence structure, pacing, or any other devices. Effects on readers should be how techniques impact meaning, not merely “keep interest.”Prezi or similar program online, class presentation, blog entry, or teaching video.

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Group projects add 50% to length for each additional member

Organization RubricWrite a paper of 500-750 words that argues whether or not one or more aspects of the novel are accurately portrayed, using at least three credible outside sources to demonstrate your point. Cite sources using MLA format. You might consider history, technology, psychology of characters, science, etc. Choose a method of organization that is most clear and compelling for readers.Class presentation, blog entry, “teaching” video, or visual project more sophisticated than a poster

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Group projects add 50% to length for each additional member

Write a paper of 400-600 words that links author background to the plot or theme of the novel. You might use author interviews, biography, or other sources (3+) to make your connections. Cite sources with MLA format and choose an effective organization for your essay.Solo podcast, class presentation, blog entry, “teaching” video, or visual project more sophisticated than a poster

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Group projects add 50% to length for each additional member

Producing Text RubricWrite a single 400-600 word fictional scene that imitates the writing style of the author. Focus on imagery, sentence structure, detailing and dialogue techniques, etc. The scene can be of anything, but it should be plausibly written by the author. Afterwards, add 1-2 paragraphs that explain your approach and successes, adding a sample paragraph from the novel for comparison.Audio performance, class performance, blog entry, or video that replicates style.

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Group projects add 50% to length for each additional member

Write a 400-600 word review of the novel (including 5 star rating). Your review should offer a discussion of the theme or importance of the novel, use appropriate quotations to justify your points, and offer personal impressions of the book’s significance for you.Solo podcast, class presentation, blog entry, or  video

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Group projects add 50% to length for each additional member

Using Language RubricUsing any of the above project ideas, add a comment that you would like to use this rubric instead of one of the above rubrics. Note the rubric language: high scoring papers make especially effective choices in language!Conditions are the same here, but for group projects, all participants must agree to use this same rubric for the project.

Quality of the Podcast:

To qualify for this project, podcasts must be professionally produced, available to the general public, appropriate in content to our school climate, and publish episodes every 2 weeks or more often.

Standards Met:

Successfully completing the podcast project here will meet the Media Standard in addition to the rubric noted below.  

Project Options:

Each of these can be modified with teacher approval prior to starting them.

Projects are created to replace any Moodle chapter project (to keep workload reasonable!), but students are always able to do an Independent Reading Project in addition to the Moodle chapter project, as well.

In all cases except the Review for the Project, assume that the reader has already listened to the podcast.  No lengthy episode summaries! For the Review, avoid spoilers.

In media projects, the quality of production (sound for audio podcasts; lighting, camera, and sound for video) are important to success. Informal iPhone videos with poor and improvised sound quality are not acceptable.

MYP RubricDirectionsOther Form Options
Group Options
Analytical RubricProduce a 4-8 minute video or podcast examines the podcast techniques of the producers in terms of their effect on listeners. You should reference at least 3 different episodes in your project. You might discuss music, sound, speaking quality, personalities of hosts, writing, pacing, quality of research, interest level, etc.  Effects on listeners should be how techniques impact meaning, not merely “keep interest.”Written essay, class presentation, or blog entry– – –Group projects add 50% to length for each additional member
Organization RubricProduce a 4-8 minute video or podcast  that argues whether or not one or more points or arguments in the podcast are accurately portrayed, using at least three credible outside sources to demonstrate your point. Cite sources in program notes using MLA format. You might consider history, technology, politics, science, etc. Choose a method of organization that is most clear and compelling for readers.Written essay, class presentation, blog entry,  visual project more sophisticated than a poster– – –Group projects add 50% to length for each additional member
Producing Text RubricProduce a new 4-8 minute episode that imitates the production style of your podcast. Focus on sound, style, content and writing, etc. The scene can be of anything, but it should be plausibly written by the author. Afterwards, add 1 minute post-show commentary or written show notes that explain your approach and successes, adding a sample excerpt from the podcast for comparison.“Live” class performance– – –Group projects add 50% to length for each additional member
Produce a 4-8 minute podcast or video review of your show (including 5 star rating). Your review should offer a discussion of the importance of the podcast and techniques (using at least 3 episodes), use appropriate sound excerpts to justify your points, and offer personal impressions of the podcast’s significance for you.Written essay, class presentation, blog entry– – –Group projects add 50% to length for each additional member
Using Language RubricThis rubric is not currently useable for podcast and video projects.

Quality of the Podcast:

To qualify for this project, poetry and short stories must be written by a professional writer published in traditional press (not merely online or in personal chapbooks). Projects revolve around a study of at least 2 stories or 5 poems by the same author.

Standards Met:

Successfully completing the podcast project here will meet the Poetry or Short Story Standard in addition to the rubric noted below.  

Project Options:

Each of these can be modified with teacher approval prior to starting them.

These Projects are brief and not meant to be substituted for Moodle chapter projects. But they do replace or supplement any other short story or poetry work students may not have achieved success with.

In all cases except the Review for the Project, assume that the reader has already read the works.  No lengthy episode summaries! For the Review, avoid spoilers.

MYP Rubric
Directions
Other Form Options
No additional rubricWrite a 250-400 word literary analysis that examines either similar conflicts or challenges of a speaker/character or a similar theme across two works. Support your analysis with direct quotations from  each work which address language, structure, or style as techniques used to reveal your conflict or theme. Alternatively, your analysis can focus on writing techniques of the author, writing of imagery, detail, sentence structure, pacing, or any other devices.“Teaching” video
Analytical RubricExpand either of the above to 400-600 words, writing of two short stories or three or more poems.
No additional rubricWrite a paper of 250-400 words that inks author background to the plot or theme of the readings. You might use author interviews, biography, or other sources (1+) to make your connections. Cite sources with MLA format and choose an effective organization for your answer.Blog entry
Organization RubricExpand the paper to 400-600 words and use at least 3 additional sources.
No additional rubricWrite a single 250+ word scene or 30+ line poem that imitates the writing style of the author. Focus on imagery, sentence structure, detailing and dialogue techniques, etc. The scene can be of anything, but it should be plausibly written by the author. Afterwards, add one  paragraph that explains your approach and successes.Class performance
Producing Text RubricWrite a 400-750 word scene or 2 30+line poems.  Add 1-2 paragraphs that explain your approach.  
Using Language RubricUsing any of the above extended project ideas, add a comment that you would like to use this rubric instead of one of the above rubrics. Note the rubric language: high scoring papers make especially effective choices in language!