Looking for a way to keep students reading and engaged over the winter break? Take a field trip to the media center and let students choose a fictional book. Then using bookmarks from Emily's Post and post-it notes, students can do a close reading of their chosen novel. I laminated the bookmarks for my students, and I gave them each 20-30 post-it notes to use to make notations using the symbols on their bookmarks.
Then students can choose a project from the Brain Based Novel Project that matches their interests and specific intelligence (based on Howard Gardner's intelligences): Naturalist, Musical, Logical-Mathematical, Interpersonal, Spatial, Intrapersonal, Linguistic, Kinesthetic. The project explains the different intelligences to the students, so they can choose the path that interests them most. All students create a board showcasing their novel, while reviewing common core ELA standards for fiction.
I would recommend making the project due the week after returning from break to give students a chance to read their books and share their post-it note reflections with a shoulder partner or the class.
This Brain Based Novel Project from Emily's Post comes with instructions for students, a rubric for grading, and critical reading or close reading bookmarks. Students have a lot of fun with this project, while also working at the highest levels of Bloom's Taxonomy and reviewing elements of fiction. In the end, you will have some wonderful display boards for your classroom or school media center to help encourage reading! Home school students could donate their projects to the local library.
All-in-all, the perfect winter break homework activity, giving students choice in both what they read and how they present their knowledge, with little work on your end--so you are not swamped with homework upon your return. (I suggest a museum walk, where students are required to grade their own work and three others using the rubric. This gives you time to go around and grade the projects as well, while allowing students to publish and evaluate others' work. I find this project brings students closer together as well, as they learn about each others hidden talents and interests, while also reviewing plot elements and learning about some new books to add to their reading list).