Project Description

As sophomores in the 10th Grade Academy read the Vietnam War novel The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, they reflected inwards on the physical and intangible items they carry that shape their identity. Students created a one-pager, utilizing a combination of art, colors, and words, that displayed their connections to specific quotes in the book and the “things” they carry. They ultimately presented their one pagers with a “rucksack” of items symbolizing their own intangible items they carry as a part of their identity. Students presented everything from musical instruments and sports equipment to family heirlooms and artwork that have shaped who they are.


The goal of this project is for students to make personal connections to the book, increasing their engagement, and also to explore their identity and who they want to become in life.

"The best thing about this project was that it allowed students to get a better insight into each other's lives. It really helped students connect socially and emotionally and also helped them realize they are not the only ones experiencing hardship in their lives. A few critical pieces of implementation that I'd suggest for other teachers: begin by modeling your own example. Students really enjoyed hearing my story and they appreciated my willingness to share with them. I'd also suggest offering students templates to use-- it can serve as a guide for less artistic/creative students. Finally, prior to presentations, develop a list of norms with students to create a safe space for students to share."
""The soldiers carried flak jackets for protection. I think if we could all wear a jacket to protect us from all the things that hurt us emotionally, we would too."- Christian "
""It was so cool to look at all these items and see how I've grown in the last year."- K"

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