When Students Get Creative with Assignments

In addition to Ancient History and AP Art History, a teach college prep U.S. History (with Juniors and Seniors). We do a lot of projects in there. Recently, I gave them an assignment related to Articles of the Constitution. I have 15 students and there are 7 Articles of the Constitution, I put them in groups of 2 (one group of 3). They were each assigned one article and given one class period to research and devise a brief presentation about their assigned article. Here were the rules:

  • Design an explanatory presentation of your Article
  • 1 PowerPoint Presentation: minimum of 5 slides, no more than 6 words per slide (to prevent students from putting their entire presentation on their PowerPoint and then reading it directly
  • Both parties must speak during the presentation

They then uploaded their Presentations to DropBox (See my article “DropBox – An Excellent and *Free* Resource for Teachers.” This way, all of the presentations are available to the rest of the class at anytime.

Well, a few of my students decided to be informative as well as creative. One group, for example decided do do their entire PowerPoint using “Twitter Speak.” As a big fan of twitter, I highly approved.

Another ended their well developed project with a bit of a butter-up to me by featuring my favorite Celebrity Dr. (Dr. Drew) with all of us in the shot:

Creativity promotes learning, makes it more fun to do and to make – and makes your teacher blush 🙂

5 thoughts on “When Students Get Creative with Assignments

  1. David

    I like the idea. I’m curious how this fits into the overall curriculum–and I mean literally fits, because I see how it fits both into a content curriculum and a skills curriculum in terms of things to learn. But I feel that excellent projects like this take a lot of time, relatively speaking–to spend an entire classtime on one section of the Articles of Confederation, per pair of students, would leave me worrying about what students didn’t learn. This isn’t a criticism, just to be clear–I like what you’ve done here, and think it’s great–but more like a request for your thoughts on the basic issue, which is balancing good meaningful assignments and student-directed work on projects, with the need or desire to make sure students have a broad exposure to history.

    Can you comment? How do you make that balance?

    1. Jennifer Lockett Post author

      The reality is that this didn’t take longer than my ‘traditional’ lesson, which would have been: lecture, reading articles, students answer question, perhaps another 10-15 minutes of homework. This assignment took one class period for the students to research/create presentations and then another 20-25 minutes for them to present in class (2-3 minutes each). They learned from one another. I also found that they retained far more information than they would have in a ‘traditional’ format.


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