Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Engage Students' Inner Critic with the Academic Awards for Literature

Academic Awards for Literature Student Directions
People love to play critic, no matter the entertainment venue. From Broadway to live concerts, or from the TV screen to the Silver Screen, everyone loves to chime in the conversation with their personal Rants and Raves. The 2014 Golden Globes are history and the Gammy's are primed for airing on January 26th. With the Academy Awards nominations announced, movie lovers now have until March 2nd to make a case for their favorite thespians and movies.

On that note, who are some of teachers most ardent critics?  Adolescents. True, they rant about books they designate as, "Boring," but they also rave about a story or a character that they love. This is the perfect time for students to channel their Inner Critics so they can complete the Academic Awards for Literature. In this lesson, their mission is to choose the best literature, from both fiction and narrative non-fiction that they have read as the recipients for this year’s honors.

The categories for the awards are based on the elements of literature: Characters, Settings, Plots/Conflicts, Symbols, Themes and Point of View). Students may consider only books-fiction or nonfiction- that they have read for academic study or for individual reading since the beginning the current school year. 

NOTE: If teachers want to add a Selected Short Subject category for essays and other short non-fiction such as journalism pieces, this will address a school district's non-fiction requirements in regard to Common Core criteria. For this award, students will need to evaluate the piece for how well it meets the criteria for a particular type of writing, i.e. Descriptive, Informative, Cause and Effect, Persuasive.

Here is a condensed form of the directions. More detailed guidelines are presented on the Teacher Notes and with the Student Directions included in this 5-page activity. 

Student Directions:

  1. Write the Category title and your Choice for the Best in that category in the given spaces on the certificate.
  2. Under that information on the awards certificate, explain and support your choice in a short paragraph while following the points under Writing Criteria. 
  3. Make sure that your writing specifically details the criteria for each category. 
  4. After the writing segment is finished, you will defend one or more of your selections during a class discussion.
The criteria for Fiction and Narrative Non-fiction offers students points to ponder about each element of literature as they consider how to explain the who, what, where, when and why behind their choices. Example: Characters (Types of characters are in the parentheses): Does the character grow and change (dynamic), show different sides to his/her personality (round), stay one-dimensional in his/her personality (flat) or show no mental/emotional and/or spiritual growth (static)? Is the character: major, minor, the protagonist or the antagonist? Are the characters believable and or sympathetic? Do you care what happens to them?
Academic Awards for Literature certificate

After they choose their recipients for each award, students are to fill in the certificates. Here are six of the twenty categories
  • Best Fictional Female Character
  • Best Fictional Male Character
  • Best Supporting Fictional Female Character
  • Best Supporting Fictional Male Character
  • Best Non- Fictional Female Character
  • Best Non-Fictional Male Character

For their explanation paragraphs, students must state the award recipient as well as the title and author of the text. To defend their choices, each of their explanations must include three examples along with supporting details that justify the choice and that add clarity to the student's reasoning.

The Teacher Notes page lists the Common Core Standards that pertain to this activity as well as the Bloom's Taxonomy terms students will utilize.

Download this offering: Presenting the Academic Awards for Literature, from http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Activity-Presenting-the-Academic-Awards-for-Literature-523512. Although it costs $2.00, this activity will engage students for as long as teachers give them to complete the assignment. As another benefit, students must show what they remember as well as how to analyze, evaluate and apply their knowledge to an original creation. Their comprehension, writing and reasoning skills will enjoy a win-win-win situation.

Trivia Question: What was the origination for the term, Grammy?  Include it in your comment. I had no idea until I looked it up this morning.

Happy Teaching,

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