The English and TOK Source Books are intended to be a source of students’ own thinking. In addition to the contents and entries I assign, students should be exploring the Texts we study in new, personal and unique ways. I am using Text with a capital “T,” meaning a novel, poem, film, commercial, advertisement, short story, play, and on and on. “Why 53?,” you might ask. I’m not sure. I bragged to my 9th grade class that I could think of 50 creative entries, and I ended up with three more, I suppose. But to reemphasize, these are merely suggestions. Students own creative approaches will almost certainly be better and more beneficial.
53. Write a letter from a character to another character, or write a letter from you to the author.
52. Brainstorm or make notes for a pitch of a movie adaptation of a text.
51. Write a poem from the point of view of a character of a Text you are studying.
50. Compare and contrast TV character to one we are studying.
49. Synthesize class notes by asking, “So What?” and then trying to answer it.
48. Print a piece of artwork that you think relates to what we are studying, and write a justification.
47. Notes and quotes: find an interesting quote, then write about why you find it interesting.
46. Empathize: Create your own empathic response.
45. Classroom connections: connect the English text a history text, or psychology topic, or Norwegian text, or math problem.
44. TOK it: apply your Ways and Areas of Knowing to a text.
43. Cornell it: Apply the Cornell notetaking method to a reading, chapter, passage.
42. Photocopy a key passage and analyze the language of the passage through annotation, then journal about what you think this means.
41. Play the devil’s advocate and write a journal response from the opposite of what you think.
40. Write a scene of a screenplay based on part of a Text.
39. Create a visual image that is symbolic of a theme, motif, character, etc., and then justify why.
38. Create a timeline of a chapter, story, novel, play, with key points, character developments, decisions, actions.
37. Write director’s notes for a production of a play you are studying.
36. Write a mini-review of one chapter, poem, etc.
35. Draw the setting, then argue why the author created what he or she did.
34. Write a Bad First Draft of a creative writing assignment that you were never assigned, then highlight potential starting points for a second draft.
33. Storyboard a scene from a Text, and then give filming notes (shots, angles, lighting) and justifications for them.
32. Copy a page from your Art Sketchbook that connects with something we are studying in English class. Write some connections in a journal, or annotate it.
31. Take the most important words, phrases, sentences from an assigned reading and piece them together into a fragment or poem.
30. Pretend you are the teacher: Make notes or discussion questions for you classmates.
29. Find key words in a Text and analyze the denotation and connotations.
28. Connect a small part of a Text to your Essential Question or Thematic Focus.
27. Find a spectrum: Real to false, honest to distrustful, aloof to self-aware, etc. Then place characters on the spectrum.
26. Convert a piece of a Text into a page from a Graphic Novel.
25. Interview an author for a newspaper. Make up their answers, as best you can.
24. Map it: Chart the journey of someone or something on a map that you create, including important landmarks.
23. Convert a poem to a song, then describe the genre, sounds, and purpose behind singing it.
22. Stage It: Plan out stage design of a Text, and provide director’s notes for key movements, lighting, objects.
21. Make some predictions for what will happen next, and then explain them.
20. Reflect on your predictions later in the unit, how they have changed, and why.
19. Found Art: Collect a few pages of recycled paper with writing on it. Cut our key words, phrases, and create a poem that relates to what we are studying.
18. Write the advertizement campaign for a Text. Give it a slogan, a visual, an some words of praise.
17. Interview someone (student, teacher, parent) who has interacted with the Text you are studying.
16. Write a reflective journal on the interview responses, and whether or not your agree with them.
15. Take a series of photographs that relate to a text. Print a paste a couple, and then write a justification as to how they relate.
14. Compare a Text this year with a text you studied last year.
13. Design a new dustjacket for a text, and justify your choices.
12. Reflect on a piece of writing you were graded on. What worked? What areas do you want to work on?
11. Convert a prose text into a poem, or play, or screenplay.
10. Write down a plan for an activity that plays to your learning strengths (kinestetic, auditory, visual). Then do it.
9. Reflect on what you learned through your activity.
8. Reflect on a small-group discussion from class. What conclusions did you make? What questions do you still have?
7. Reflect on a whole-class discussion from class. What conclusions did you make? What questions do you still have?
6. Start a reading log: Write reactions, conclusions, questions, confusions as you read or view a Text.
5. Find a quotation from a song, friend, film, and connect it to a Text in meaningful ways.
4. Write a speech from the point of view of a character for a specific audience. Use rhetorical techniques to get your point across.
3. Write / draw a travel brochure for a destination in the Text you are reading.
2. Journal. Sustained writing leads to sustained thinking. Then go back and underline your new ideas.
1. Ignore the above 52 and create your own (most likely better) ideas for your Source Book that help you to develop a personal response to our Texts, and help me to see critical thinking, originality, and creativity.