Last month my 8th graders wrapped up their memoir book studies!  Our culminating project was two parts:

  1.  An individual assignment in which students took on analyzing one or more aspects of their memoir book.
  2.  The formation of “birds of feather” groups by book to “connect the dots” and analyze how the different literary elements in their book connected/related.
I want to congratulate my students for completing a challenging unit of study with memoir books. Not only did these students establish their own reading schedules, read their memoir books, participate in 3 book chats, and complete their choice-based reading journals between the first of the year and February 9, but they also took on the two-part challenge of a hexagonal thinking project.  Over 1/3 of them did this while juggling ACCESS testing!
Here is how we tackled these project pieces:
1. Students formed groups and divided up 10 literary analysis hexagonal thinking tasks: Characterization, Motifs (1 and 2), Theme, Internal Conflict, External Conflict, Tone, Unit Essential Questions, Memory Moments, and Aha! Moments.

2. Once students completed these individual tasks, they had two days to collaborate and decide how each of these elements connected/related in some meaningful way. They arranged their tiles as a group based on the connections they identified and then wrote out descriptions of these connections/mini- literary arguments using our “connection arrows” and modeled qualities of good writing that we had examined in our warm-up activity yesterday.


Their culminating project required critical thinking and teamwork, skills that do not always come easily to 8th graders.  I am EXTREMELY proud of my students–especially my 1st period students–who rose to the occasion and engaged with their learning tasks! Some groups struggled on Day 1 but totally rallied on Day 2to produce a product that everyone is proud of. They have worked through this entire unit with a positive attitude and not shied away from any of the challenges we’ve thrown their way. Even more impressive is that they did this while juggling their ACCESS testing! I am so very proud of our students for their efforts and achievement–I am pleased my classes who did this assignment completed the task, but I am especially proud of my Period 8-1 students for their grit and grace.

At the end, students evaluated their individual work and their group work using a Google Form:

Overall, I am extremely pleased with the outcome, and I will definitely use this as a culminating unit activity in the future.