Help students understand and internalize the idea of a text's "central idea" by having them first analyze the central idea of their own life! This project is especially helpful to prepare students for Part 3 of the NYS ELA Regents Examination, in which they need to connect a central idea to a literary device. This self-paced learning menu project guides students through an "appetizer", "main course", and "dessert" and takes about a week to complete. In my classroom I used it with the text Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, though it would pair well with other texts.
Within the learning menu there are both choice and required activities, but all require a teacher signature to move forward so the teacher can monitor student progress throughout the project. Almost all work can be completed on loose leaf or blank paper, except for two of the "appetizer" options - the graphic organizers for those options are included after the Learning Menu in the same document. This resource is in a Word document so it can be easily modified to meet your classroom's needs.