One of my students’ favorite projects is the Shoebox Literacy Autobiography Project. They collect at least five artifacts related to their personal literacy story and describe the artifacts via a short oral presentation in a small group setting. They follow up with a short written reflection on what they learned and how they felt. For children’s lit, students include at least one children’s book. For CRE101, they include at least one book.
I model the process by sharing my own story of literacy and explain how literacy in our family has been passed down through modeling from the older siblings to the younger ones. This photo is of my father’s family. He’s the one in the short pants. The older ones helped the younger ones be successful and go to college. It was a group effort to help the members of this farm family rise out of poverty and achieve success.
By sharing a bit about ourselves early in the semester (usually by week 4 or 5), students tell me they feel closer to their classmates and have a deeper understanding of literacy in their day-to-day lives. Here are a few comments that came in this week: