Text & Media Evaluation Lesson: The Canon Project
So often students’ evaluation efforts hover around the uncritical. We hear things like, “It’s cool. I like it.” Or, “That’s boring because I don’t like it.” This project helps students make critical thinking a commonplace thing when it comes to evaluating text or media.
In this project, students will learn about the traditional literary canon, develop their own individual criteria for labeling something canon-worthy, identity texts/media that have canon-worthy traits, and finally narrow all possibilities down to 10 – resulting in their personal canon. The best part is that students are empowered to define quality and then use their own definitions to judge various works. You’ll be pleased when students begin using elaborate, well-articulated, and evidence-based reasons in their evaluations.
This unit can easily last a couple of days to a few weeks to even the course of the school year. The flexibility that this project allows is helpful in differentiating within and across your classes.
This detailed project includes:
- Teacher notes, including purpose, ‘how to use’ guidance, introduction ideas, & tips.
- Guided notes for students on the history and role of a literary canon
- Guided notes for the teacher/Answer key for students’ notes
- An example of a traditional literary canon to accompany the guided notes
- Examples of an African American literary canon, a Women’s literary canon, and a Latinx literary canon to accompany the guided notes
- Canon Candidate Application Form for students to use over the duration of the project to nominate potential texts/media for inclusion in their canon
- Canon Candidate Tracker Form for students to use to track their Applications submitted
- The final My Canon form where students will document the 10 works that make up their canon.
- Presentation ideas for how students can present their canons once completed
Skills developed in this project:
- Close reading of a variety of text/media formats
- Developing critical thinking skills to evaluate text and media
- Using language to effectively explain judgments
- Using textual and contextual evidence to support reasoning
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Off The Beaten Path Curriculum & Instruction
Questions or comments? Please email me! Beth@teachoffthebeatenpath.com