Secret Identity Project

Don’t you hate it when you come across a great class activity idea, but you don’t have any immediate need for it?  I tend to save those in what I think will be a related file folder on my computer and then assume I’ll get back to it when I need it.  Usually, that’s the end of it–you should see my computer files!  However, I just found one of those saved files from a couple of years ago, and I now have a use for it!

My junior English class is reading Josh Shipp’s The Teen’s Guide to World Domination: Advice on Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of AwesomenessIn it, Shipp describes seven “villains” that teens encounter in life and how to deal with them.  He does so with edgy humor, but also offers very wholesome advice, in my opinion.  And the class is really enjoying the book, which has made this a good unit so far.

The class activity I just re-found is one in which students create poster-paper character masks on which they draw or hot glue symbols representing the character’s personality.  They then submit a written description of the character and explain the symbols.  It’s perfect for the villains in the book, so that’s this week’s art project.

In addition, we’ll play a version of “What’s My Line?” from the 1950s and 60s TV game show.  Students will each draw a villain’s name and will have to portray them as a guest on our game show, “What Villain Am I?” Class members will get to ask each guest one question (it’s a small class) about their secret identity, while a student from another class shoots video.  After each has had a turn on the hot seat, students will submit their guesses of who portrayed which villain.

I have no clue how these ideas pop into my head, and for a while I debated whether to do only one of the activities, but which one?  So, as I often do, I ended up deciding to do both.  Hopefully, students will enjoy at least one of them.

The pressure is on, too.  I told students just before the bell rang on Friday that we would draw villain names on Monday and begin a project over them.  As one of my students left class, she commented that she was “actually looking forward to this project.”  Wow!  It takes very little positive encouragement to make my heart skip, and this one did the trick.

What I hadn’t told students Friday was that I had no idea yet what this week’s project would be.  Serendipity saves the day . . . again.  Wish me luck.

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