Mrs. Milligan has her students doing a home project with Don Quixote. They must complete at least one project weekly that has to do with one of the five elements of literature: character, setting, plot, conflict, and theme. Suggested activities include: drawing a map of the scene (setting), write a letter from one character to another (character), draw a cartoon (plot), etc. The students may pick what they'd like or parents may help with suggestions. Mrs. Milligan really worked some magic in the classroom. Eli came home and was excited about the home project and he was fully aware that Mrs. Milligan encouraged the students to do their best work with their best attitudes. I could tell he had fully accepted her charge.
Eli is a strong student in many areas, but writing isn't his favorite activity. He probably dislikes creative writing more than just writing. If he journals, I have to be specific about the topic and the length (i.e. write 3 sentences). Several weeks ago, he knew that he wanted to write a short story about Don Quixote dreaming that he stumbled upon a castle and thought it was an inn. He sat down with great excitement, and proceeded to write 3/4 of a page on regular binder paper, without skipping lines. A huge achievement for him! But the best part was seeing the pride reflected in his beaming smile and the care he demonstrated in writing his story. He was visibly proud of his work when showing his dad later that evening. Since then, he has proceeded to make a puppet stage, puppets and wrote a short script of Don Quixote mistaking the windmills for giants. The magic here is that these activities are outside the realm of what Eli usually gravitates towards. It's moving to see his excitement and see him take responsibility for and pride in his work. A huge thank you to Mrs. Milligan for laying out the charge in such a way that Eli would readily take it up!
Eli with his puppet stage