8th Grade Students Become the Teacher as Summer Homework

As part of their summer enrichment, eighth graders were tasked with not only asking a family member to select a novel for them to read, but then to also design a unit based on the book. Similar to the units Kendra, Westside's 7th and 8th grade Language Arts teacher, had created for them over the course of their seventh grade year, they were now tasked with taking on the role of facilitator and developing inquiries and projects to showcase their critical thinking skills as well as creativity. The units encompassed such things as analytical inquiries and responses; discussion topics for Socratic seminars; and final projects which displayed creativity and covered everything from writing a journal entry from the perspective of Atticus Finch after the trial in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird to creating a memory box filled with important objects to showcase an understanding of Sara Saedi's autobiographical journey in Americanized: Rebel without a Green Card.

To celebrate their hard work, students partnered with one another this week to share the units they created while completing evaluative rubrics for one another. The hope for the enrichment's purpose is two-fold: one, that they have learned how to develop their own inquiries and thoughts about the literature they are coming into contact with; and two, that they leave their time together with some new books they'd like to set out and read next!