Personal narrative alternatives:
I offered these options.
Honestly, I didn't expect anyone to take me up on it.
But one kid wrote an astonishingly good narrative poem.
Actually, she kind of did it by accident.
She was typing on her phone and the results on the Chromebook screen included odd line breaks.
So I talked to her about the structure.
She loved the idea of creating a poem.
But she didn't really understand it.
Though she consistently puts forth excellent effort, her learning disability in written expression interferes.
Learning language concepts is a frustratingly slow process.
We tried a couple of strategies to help her place her line breaks intentionally.
They didn't work.
Having a theoretical understanding of the concept and knowing how to apply it are very different things.
The third times the trick, I guess.
I had explained line breaks and shown her some published examples.
We had read her work aloud and listened for appropriate pauses.
Then, I said, "Think about it like music. Can you hear the change in music as the words change?"
She thought about it for a minute and then her face just lit up.
"Oh, I get it, I get it now."
I smiled, "Good. Do you need anything else?"
She didn't reply.
She was already lost in the music of her own words.
The beauty of electronic writing: I get to surreptitiously watch her progress.
It is slow, but steady, and each pass improves her work.
I can't wait to see the finished product.
Three students selected the graphic novel option.
All three are genuinely talented artists.
Each has a distinct, and very different, style.
All three promised that I can create an electronic copy of their work when it is finished.
I know they will be incredible.
I know because I have been watching them draw at every opportunity all year.
I know because I've seen the first few images done in class.
I know because one looked up at me on Friday and said "I have seventy-three pictures to draw."
Wowza! Seventy-three images is going to be a huge endeavor and by definition, will include tons of details.
So, I guess offering these options was a good thing.
Certainly, it will be more than the empty gesture I anticipated.
It is a good way to end the year...and I will save these to read last.