Special projects can grow naturally from your high schooler’s studies and interests. When they invest in a such a project, it can benefit them by:
- Providing the opportunity for delight-directed learning;
- Opening doors to more deeply explore a topic;
- Appealing to their unique interests;
- Allowing them to use their individual skills and abilities;
- Helping them experience greater success with writing.
When kids are inventive, artistic, or crafty, look for ways to incorporate those interests into other subjects. They’ll be more eager to embrace a history, science, or other assignment when they can use their gifts and talents alongside the writing.
Here are a few ways imaginative students can combine creativity with writing. I think they’ll love these art-inspired writing projects.
1. Alphabet Book
Create an illustrated alphabet book or scrapbook. Let it represent a historical era, single historical subject, civilization, country, or science topic.
- First, make an alphabetical list from A to Z. Brainstorm and write down several words, phrases, or terms for each letter of the alphabet. These should directly relate to your overall topic. Narrow your choices and make your final selections before creating pages.
- Make one page for each letter. Choose a word or phrase that relates to your book’s theme. Example: xylem (Plant theme, letter X)
- Write a sentence that offers a brief explanation. Example: Xylem are plant tissues that transport water and minerals from the roots to other parts of a plant.
- Draw pictures or cut photos from a magazine or online source. Use them to illustrate the sentence and embellish pages.
Possible Themes: Japan, Incas, the Renaissance, the Civil War, nutrition and health, plants, rocks and minerals, weather
2. State Birds or Flowers Book
Research the birds or flowers for each of the 50 states, and make an illustrated booklet.
Include the name of the bird or flower. In your own words, write a few sentences telling interesting facts about each.
This activity will take time. Spread it out over several months, perhaps drawing and coloring two birds or flowers each week. This would also make a great family or group project!
What period of time are you studying? Design and make a collage about a certain decade, historical era, invention, or historical figure. Collect pictures from online sources or old magazines such as National Geographic. You can often pick up these up at library sales or thrift stores for pennies.
Alternatively, create a college that reflects the popular cultureof a particular time period. Your collage could include painters/artists, books/authors, sports figures, entertainers, musicians/music titles, and clothing for a certain decade or era.
Either way, prepare a written guide that explains the symbols, people, and other images you chose. Tell the importance of each.
4. Coloring Book
Do you draw or sketch? This would be a great way to use your skills to create art-inspired writing projects!
- Create 12-15 outline drawings. These can illustrate leaves or flowers from a plant study, the historic events of a particular era, the life of a famous historical figure, sea creatures from an oceanography study, or other subject-specific area you’re learning about.
- Add a caption to each page.
- Include an appendix for the back of the coloring book. It should feature a brief paragraph about each of the coloring pages.
- Design and color a cover.
- Assemble the pages into a book. Have it bound at an office-supply or copy store.
When you’re done, photocopy the originals to create several coloring books to share with others.
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WriteShop I and II are great programs for teaching and reinforcing the steps of the writing process to your junior high and high schoolers.
Step-by-step instructions and self-editing checklists help them grow in their independence, and parent rubrics ensure that you’re assessing their writing objectively!