One of my go-to projects is for my students to make a collage reflecting what they learned during a given unit. I probably assign them twice a semester. I love assigning collages for the following 3 main reasons.
1. Students practice research skills. This includes learning about reliable and accurate internet based sources. See the collage below on the right? That student lost some points because they used an image from a google search without validating it. On the right “Dan” included a political cartoon from the late 1930s. It is about America being happy that the problems Europe faced with the rise of Mussolini and Hitler were an ocean away. Here’s the problem with that: the assignment was for the 1920s!
2. Students get to express creativity! I don’t restrict how they arrange the front of their collage (one student hand drew EVERY image she included, that collage was amazing!) and as long as they have at least 20 topics represented they can make it as big or as small as they want. They do have specific academic requirements to the collages though and those are fulfilled on the back.
3. Students teach each other! I ALWAYS assign a collage for the 1920s because SO much happened before the Depression hit and we just don’t have time to get to all of it in class. On the assignment handout they have a starter list of topics to choose from (usually about 30), and they HAVE to pick at least 10 topics we learned about and at least 10 topics we did not get to as a class. In making their collages they review old information and learn new information. When each individual student has researched and put together their collages I break them into groups or pairs (depending on the kids) and they each present 2-4 of the new topics to the rest of the class. This way by the end of the week all the kids have been given a bit of information on every topic possible during the 1920s.
From start to finish this is about a 4-5 day project, depending on the kids and how long their presentations are. They get 3-4 days to both research and put their collages together and 1 or 2 days for presentations. Lastly, since collages are super flexible and customizable you can assign them just a bit differently with each group of kids you have which makes it an easy assignment to modify at the last minute.
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