Students analyzed numerous short stories with attention to tone, mood, structure and other literary elements. Each student chose one author whose work they examined closely. They then wrote a short story emulating at least three specific literary elements characteristic of their author. They also created an original art piece inspired by a particular fictional work of that author. Students exhibited their artwork, along with nameplates that explained the connection of their visual to the work of fiction on which it was based. Their stories were professionally published in a student-edited class anthology.
This is one of my favorite projects because it provides students with the opportunity to express themselves creatively and allows for student choice, which I find motivates students to do their best. Past students often tell me that they really enjoyed the project and that they now look at literature with a different perspective. They tell me they notice particular authors’ characteristics and recognize “bad” writing. This project teaches them how to be thoughtful critics and good writers, but also how to enjoy literature at a deeper level.
Doing this project made me realize how different styles of writing are, and that each author has a unique style. I chose to emulate Bryce Courtenay’s style of writing in The Power of One and this helped me understand why someone would write a dialogue-based story. Like Courtenay, I used a lot of dialogue and inspiring lines, but I added my own touch to it. That’s how I learned to make my own writing distinctive and unique.
—Faith Bentley, 10th grade
My artwork was inspired by the short story “Who’s Irish?” by Gish Jen. In the story, a grandmother from China comes to visit her daughter in America and discovers that some things are done differently in America. I tried to capture the underlining theme of unity despite difference in Jen’s story by uniting 130 smaller pictures into an overall picture using a program called AndreaMosaic. Seen from a distance, my piece has the appearance of two hands shaking in agreement and wearing the Chinese and American flags. The multiple smaller pictures represent specific aspects of Chinese or American culture that set the cultures apart from each other and make them each unique.
—Katie Ho, 10th grade