Sunday, October 28, 2012

The One In The Bag

If you are like me, you dread grading those long book reports that students dread writing.  

Surely there are better ways to assess a student's comprehension and understanding of a novel.  

I have come across several alternatives to the old school book report, but one of my favorites is the Bag Report.

My students just finished reading Jerry Spinelli's Loser.  The main character in this story is a little boy affectionately known as Zinkoff.  

I gave each of my students a plain brown lunch bag.

We called them their Zinkoff Bags.  I gave the students the option of decorating the outside of their  bags.  Some did.  Some didn't.  You could easily make that part of the assignment though.

Students were required to place six items in the bag that represented Zinkoff.  At least two of these items had to be    3-D objects.  The other four could be printed pictures, student art work, or anything else they could find.

Students also had to present their bags and items to the class explaining why they chose those items.

I also required them to turn a written explanation of each item.

I created an incredibly simple rubric.  I gave two points for each of the six required items.  Three points for each of the  3-D items and two points for each written explanation. 

Grand total of 25 points.

There were some items that every single student had in their bag and that was okay.

But there were also some very creative and unique items.  It is really neat to see how different students interpreted different parts of the book.

As a teacher, I could really see how much of the book they comprehended and understood.

It was such a fun way to wrap up a book.  Definitely better than listening to countless summaries of the book.    Quicker too. 

What are some creative ways you have your students do "book reports"? 

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