This lesson plan is one of my favorites to work with over the past few years, because it allows students to actively engage with texts in the library in a new way and it showcases the abilities of some of our most creative students in a lasting way. We worked with a larger student base our second year and included students in the first-year design class as well, which provided a very diverse offering of products. Being able to show the examples from the previous year of what was done right and what needed fixing was a definite advantage our second year. We also found that proofreading was not a priority for students our first year; in the second, the teacher required students to have multiple classmates proof their work before it could be submitted.
In our second year, we also allowed students from different classes to choose the same book which meant we did end up with a few duplicates. Also, the top designs chosen by the students for each class were not necessarily the top designs chosen by the teacher and the library staff. This is why we printed out more covers than just the class winners–these designs could be called the honorable mention or staff picks category.
I have made one alteration to the lesson plan that I plan to include next year, because I think it will provide the students a better understanding of their own personal design opinions–the process of students selecting books they find appealing and unappealing and deciding why will hopefully allow them to gain the perspective of the consumer, not just the designer. At the completion of the projects, I think making a formal presentation is ideal, because students must defend their choices, which may, in turn, prompt more thoughtful designs. Next year, I also hope to involve students more in the process of nominating books for makeovers. We are very excited to begin this project again next year, and I think these few minor changes will make the process even more student centered and produce even better designs.
The design teacher said this was one of his students’ favorite assignments–mainly because they were creating a product for a real purpose that they could eventually see on display in the real worlds