Wednesday, April 16, 2008


First block has started posting their Odyssey projects to the class blog. I want SO BADLY to brag on them to EVERYBODY, but after wikispaces and pbwiki were blocked after we tried to use them last semester I'm kind of afraid to... at least until all the projects are uploaded! ^.^

Now here's my request. I've had to DRAG this work out of some of them - and not because they're unwilling to work (well, not entirely). A number of students have been honestly struggling with this. The handout I gave them is included below.

Odyssey Project – Create a class Wiki

A wiki is a “mini-internet” of web pages that are linked to each other. One of the best known wikis is Wikipedia. Your project work will help complete a class wiki about The Odyssey, by Homer.

Each of you will focus on a different book or a different character. You will need to create content for your page BEFORE we go to the computer lab, because we will have a limited amount of time in the lab. At the end of the day in the computer lab, you should print out your page and hand it in so that Mrs. Cole can see how much progress you have made.

Your wiki project will need a title and the following sections:

Section 1 – “About the author.”
Introduce yourself to the reader. What are some things you’re good at? What do you like to do in your free time? What careers interest you? What makes you unique? 50-75 words (only 4+ letters count).
No last names (last initials are acceptable) or town names.

Section 2 – Your project work
Include all the information necessary, according to the project category you were assigned.
Check to make sure that links work and pictures are visible.

Section 3 – What you learned from reading The Odyssey and working on the project
Go back to your “Need to Learn” notes (or the “Georgia Performance Standards” handout) to review a list of skills and information.
Explain what you learned and how you learned it.
40-60 words (only 4+ letters count).

*Each section should be labeled with a heading (Section 1, Section 2, or Section 3) and separated from the others by a horizontal line.

Project Categories:
A. A summary (250 words+) of the book you are assigned. Be specific. Use your own words, but give examples from the story. Answer the following questions:
1. Where did Odysseus go?
2. What did he find there?
3. What problems did he face?
4. What did he do about it?
5. What was the outcome?
B. A character page. - 5 characters from the story, as assigned. Each character should have a brief (50-word+) biography.
- What type of personality does this character have, and how do you know?
- What does this character do that affects the events of the story?
- Working links to different web pages for each character. Include a brief description of what is on each page (total of 20 links – you don’t have to have the same number of links for each character).
C. A comparison (250 words+) between the fictional character you are assigned and real-life history. This will require research on your part. What would life really have been like for a person like your character?
- What was life like for a person of that age?
- What was life like for a person of that gender?
- What was life like for a person of that class?
- What was life like for a person of that occupation?
D. A story, drama, or interview (250 words+) involving the character you are assigned confronting the author about how his/her portrayal was handled in the story.
- Was the character portrayed favorably?
- Why or why not?
- Which character provides the point of view in that part of the story?
- Why might Homer have chosen to show things as he did?
- What motivation might the character have had for his/her actions?
E. A book review (250+ words) in which you judge the story as entertainment and historical reference.
- Is The Odyssey a fun story? Why or why not? Give specific examples from the story that support your answer, and explain how they support your point.
- Is The Odyssey historically accurate? Why or why not? What can we learn about the way people lived in ancient times?

All projects completed: +3
All projects completed on time: +10


Dana Huff said...

Well, since you asked for my feedback, here's my $.02. You have a lot of great project ideas. On the other hand, this is a lot of work. I am not suggesting dumbing things down, but keep in mind the time of year affects student focus. I might not have them do all of this. Think about what you can do and still meet the objectives. If my students did this project, I honestly think it would take a month (between schedule interruptions, holidays, and other myriad issues).

Clix said...

In looking at what I copy-pasted in, it doesn't clearly state part of what I had them do: choose three of the project categories they're most interested in. From the lists they gave me, I then assigned them a single project category. Do you think each of the project categories provides students with a way to show their understanding of the story?

As of Friday, we will have spent three weeks on The Odyssey, which equates to about twice that amount of time on a year-long schedule (our class meets on 90-minute blocks for a semester). This includes time to read, study, and discuss the story and thematic elements, do the project, complete an in-class essay test, and watch the movie.

Dana Huff said...

In that case, I think it should work. What are they struggling with? The technology? Or understanding The Odyssey? My students have trouble understanding The Odyssey, I know.

Clix said...

It varied widely. Most of those who had the interview project had no idea how to format dialogue, which I hadn't anticipated. I didn't really assess them on the technological part; that was more of a walk-through. That was a struggle, but I expected it. A number of them didn't recall who certain characters were - at least not enough to discuss them in any detail. I guess what that leaves me wondering is whether or not I should've done a typical multiple-choice exam in addition to the project, which seems (to me) to be more focused.

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