The College Board will release Advanced Placement exam scores later this week. I could sugar coat my anxiety about how my students may have performed or how their scores might reflect on me, but I won’t. Instead, I’d like to share one of my favorite projects from our #APLit class this year.
I had the privilege and advantage of a small, close knit class this year (7 students), and I always enjoy using something creative for the final exam. In the past, I’ve used caricature videos, documentaries, and movie translations, but this year we performed a “book tasting”. A quick search generates almost 150 million results for book tasting, and I’m certain that each teacher’s take is a little different. For our class, it meant combining our love of reading with the never-ending teenage love of food!
Leading up to the #APLit exam, our final independent reading project was a read-a-thon where students selected “AP worthy” texts. During the read-a-thon, students wrote blogs about their thinking on various aspects of different texts, similar to Brian Sztabnik’s flipped lesson. For the final exam, they chose one of these read-a-thon books to use for the tasting.
We focused on works published since 2000. While I appreciate and use several “classic” texts, I think it’s important to recognize the merits of good writing, no matter the publication date. The student choices covered a variety of genres, too:
- Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
- Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
- Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
- Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
- The Martian by Andy Weir
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
For our project, students created original menus based around their novel. Each menu had to have a unique restaurant name and menu options. The minimum requirements were one appetizer, two entrees, one dessert, and one beverage. The items had to capture the author’s style and convey knowledge of the text without giving away spoilers.
In addition to the professionally designed menu, each student provided one of the dishes for our book tasting. They presented their menus and dishes to each other and other guests (e.g. admin and teachers).
As always, I’m amazed at my students’ creativity. Their menu designs and dishes were great. We had a variety of genres and food, and I surprised them with guest judges (their parents) to enjoy our final class day together. I’ll know I’ll fondly remember this day and our final project.