I took a rest from it last year for various reasons, but this year, I've rolled it out to my current seniors in HL English again. They were receptive, seemed excited, and I am hoping that they'll share something meaningful this time around, too, even better than the first time around.
It's always daunting, projects like this. I was honest with my kids: "As a final project, as a school that doesn't 'grade' you based on completion of homework or tests, I would not penalize you for not having this project. By the due date, you should have had more than sufficient opportunities to show me what your final mark should be. So, it's not the grade that should motivate you but the promise that you'll take away meaningful reflection, skills applicable in university, engagement with the world and a showcase of what you have learned as a thinker, writer, and individual."
Every single senior I taught two years ago turned his or hers in minus one. ONE. That's pretty awesome. I told that to my current seniors, and I am hoping that they'll find meaning in this assignment. I am hoping that they'll engage with me, of course, but truly with themeselves. Self-reflection isn't always easy to do, neither is caring for the world around them, but how important it is that we encourage this level of introspection and compassion.
Let's see what they do... fingers crossed!
If anyone is interested in doing this project with your students, please feel free to modify however you see fit. Happy to share; no educator should ever be an island.
See below for a few examples; click on the photos to get to their posts.
"Don’t let pieces of paper dictate your happiness and self-worth, because the worst they could be are set-backs." ~Jamison
"I am a dreamer and I am no longer going to rush to embrace the social norms that once ruled over my life." ~JJ
"I cannot say it wasn’t an amazing experience for me to join the Israeli ballet but I cannot say it did not harm me." ~Shay
"I hoped that by verbalizing our fears together, we can all come to the realization that we are not alone in this journey." ~Madyson