As the end of the year approaches, everyone is thinking about what to do for final exams. If you’re like me, you feel a strong distaste for matching, multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank (though wouldn’t it be SO MUCH EASIER to grade?!).
In today’s episode, I’m going to share five ways to abandon the three hours of silent pencil scratching in favor of a creative closing event. Give your students something memorable that helps them take what they’ve learned from your class forwards in their lives!
#1 The Graduation Speech
I did this with my sophomores and loved it. I had them look back at our texts and write a speech featuring evidence from our texts and other books they had read if they wanted. They had to address three of the following four ideas:
literature helps people understand their
literature helps people understand the
lives of others and empathize with other people.
literature makes it easier to understand history.
literature illuminates issues of morality.
#2 The Springboard Movie
#3 Curate the Year
#4 The Video Game
Gaming seems to be taking over the world. One walk through a boys’ dorm at my boarding school can attest to this. Give students the opportunity to turn your course into a video game for their final exam. Perhaps each text is a level they create. Perhaps the major conflicts from the works you have studied become the challenges faced by the hero. Perhaps each game world is about emulating the narrative style of each work studied. Give students a lot of examples and then give them a lot of freedom. Just be sure to set out specific guidelines for connecting their games to their studies, so they know they must use their games to show their thorough knowledge of the work you have done together. I would definitely create the rubric in advance so they have it as they work.
#5 The Netflix Series
Netflix impressively brought history to life with “The Crown” this year. Why not move on to a literature series next? Have students create a pitch for a Netflix series that would feature the stories you have studied in your course. The pitch must center around a theme or two that could capture the hearts of the world and then show how each text could be brought to dramatic life to highlight that theme. Students can imagine the settings, main characters, directors, etc. to the extent that you think is interesting and helpful. Some will love including details like these, others may wish to focus solely on the textual explication. Give them some room to maneuver, as long as they prove their understanding of the coursework.
Whenever I have the option, I abandon traditional final exams in favor of a creative option. I’ve never regretted it yet!
Have you joined my e-mail community yet? Sign up below for insider freebies, fun classroom ideas, and podcast and blog post highlights delivered to your inbox, and you’ll also get four free one-pager templates with complete instructions!