Enjoying the opportunity to work with students to catch up on their portfolio tasks; the class of 2017 is the last class who'll have this duty as we go standards-based after this! I will miss the chance to revisit senior students and the tasks they found too hard as ninth or tenth graders. Many times they say, "Why didn't I finish this then?" in tones of wonder as they crank through literary analysis or a personal narrative. Growth, my dears, growth. You aren't who you were then.
But also, I saw this blog post about "Unboxing videos"--they're a thing! People watch them! (This again makes me weep for the ridiculous ways we humans spend our short lives on this planet.) People make money from them! And/but. . . . could we make them into an option for a literary analysis task? Stacy Burt raises the question in her blog (linked above), and my students (as a break from their portfolio task revisions) helped shape the idea. We could have a book to "unbox," and the video could be a discussion of key aspects of the book in terms of its cover art, the blurb on the back, its length, even its font and heft. It could be a "before we read" unboxing as an intro, or a post-read summary/review. Another unboxing activity we thought of (this one my non-digital fan thought would be even more fun) would be to challenge students to create a book box that is inspired by the book, and features items that relate to the book in some way: for Of Mice and Men (anchor text/9th grade), a student might include a toy gun, some denim, some red cloth, a "work ticket," a stuffed mouse or dog. . . . ; another option might be to have students after an independent reading assignment make enticing unboxing videos that hint at the book's content, style, or topic as an advertisement. I am wondering if my students might be able to make some of these and post them on their blogs!