Most people know that education at Scarlet Oaks Career Campus involves hands-on and experiential learning when studying careers. English instructor Steve Tracy has found a way to make literature a hands-on experience, as well. An annual assignment in his classroom requires students to choose and read a book and then create an original project to demonstrate their knowledge of the book.
The projects could be related to the students’ career field; for instance, Construction students have built models representing their books. Or, the projects could be a song, written piece, or other creative interpretation. The results are as varied as the books they represent and the students who created them.
Serenah Begley, a junior from West Clermont in the Dental Assisting program, created a comic book from the book Dragon’s Song by Ann McCaffrey. The book illustrates several key scenes in the story. “I knew I wanted to do a comic, because I want to write my own,” she said.
Landon Pitcher, a Welding student, had perhaps the most unique project. He welded a model of the Furnace Penitentiary, the setting of the Escape from Furnace series by Alexander Gordon Smith. The rough texture of the walls were carefully reproduced in his welds, and other elements mimicked the book as well. “The author was very detailed,” said Pitcher, “and I liked that. I appreciate the details.”
Joselyn Neri Izalde, a Dental Assisting student from Princeton, wrote a journal from the point of view of Marcie, the main character in Love and Leftovers. The journal chronicles the story of a mother and daughter as they travel across country and start a new life.
Automotive Mechanics student Scott Rains of Norwood created a diorama depicting a Civil War battle detailed in The Civil War by Bruce Canton. The scene showed multiple Confederate regiments fighting two Ohio regiments from their hilltop position. “When I heard the battle involved Ohio soldiers, I knew I had to focus on it,” said the self-proclaimed history buff.
If the subjects of Rise of the Rocket Girls kept a scrapbook, it would likely look the one created by Elliet Tudor, a home schooled student in the Secondary Practical Nursing program. The scrapbook contains photos from the real-life mathematicians’ work at NASA, along with technical drawings and entries that Elliet created.
The book Tia Seymour read, Turtles All the Way Down, was new to her—but the author wasn’t. “John Green is one of my favorite writers,” she said. The Exercise Science student from Batavia created a timeline that detailed the events of the book and encapsulated the theme through her designs and creative add-ons.
A painting may not be the first thing that comes to mind for most people reading the suspense novel Tell No One by Harlan Coben. But Abbygail Newman, a Firefighting student from St. Bernard, knew that’s how she’d fulfill the assignment. “I did a painting for a similar project last year,” she said. The painting appeared to be a beautiful, romantic evening lakeside scene, until the sinister figure in the background is noticed.
Tracy said the assignment helps students connect to literature. “It’s all about having a choice and being able to focus on what you’re passionate about,” he asserts. “So many of our students have enormous talent that can’t always be utilized within traditional, educational assignments. This project allows them demonstrate their creativity in a variety of ways, and helps them connect those passions to literature whether that’s drawing and writing or using the skills they’ve learned in lab to create and build. Plus, it also adds another book to their repertoire.”