My Personal Inspiration Project

Purpose | Goals | Objectives | Assessment | Needs | MACUL Article | Other Lessons

Lesson Listings | Overview | Part One - Two - Three - Four | Student samples of Final Projects

Why This Project is Worthwhile Doing
Student learning was impacted tremendously by this project because students studied what was relevant in their personal lives. This in-depth personal exploration allowed students entry points to analyze and evaluate their experiences, then synthesize what they learned into a PowerPoint presentation file. They were encouraged to use the file as personal inspiration when they made post-high school graduation plans. Students improved their skill of writing with depth as they described experiences and reflections during each part of the project.

Students reflect about decision making in their lives and explore their feelings about these life events.  They will find what is their internal motivation that brings them happiness.  They will have this information as a guide while they make post-high school graduation plans.  Within Michigan, this project is great for preparing students for the intensive analysis and reflection that goes into the essays for the High School Proficiency Test. 

My role is as a facilitator.  After showing examples, I work with students individually, or in small groups as they search for information, reflect about personal experiences, and develop their projects.  Much of my time is spent answering questions, reassure students that their experiences are interesting and important, and being a cheerleader as I persuade them to be brave and delve into the parts of their lives that they may not normally inspect.

This five week project works on:

Learning Focus and Objectives

MI HSCE - 9-12

  • Standard I.I Understand and practice writing as a recursive process.
    • CE 1.1.4 Compose drafts that convey an impression, express an opinion, raise a question, argue a position, explore a topic, tell a story, or serv another purpose, while simultaneously considering the constraints and possibilities of the selected form or genre
  • Standard I.2 Use writing, speaking, and visual expression for personal understanding and growth.
    • CE 1.2.2 Write, speak, and visually represent to develop self-awareness and insight (e.g., diary, journal writing, portfolio self-assessment).
    • CE 1.2.3 Write, speak, and create artistic representations to express personal experience and perspective (e.g., personal narrative, poetry, imaginative writing, slam poetry, blogs, webpages).
  • Standard I.3 Communicate in speech, writing, and multimedia using content, form, voice, and style appropriate to the audience and purpose (e.g., to reflect, persuade, inform, analyze, entertain, inspire).
    • CE 1.3.1 Compose written, spoken, and/or multimedia compositions in a range of genres (e.g., personal narrative, biography, poem, fiction, drama, creative nonfiction, summary, literary analysis essay, research report, or work-related text): pieces that serve a variety of purposes (e.g., expressive, informative, creative, and persuasive) and that use a variety of organizational patterns (e.g., expressive, informative, creative, and persuasive) and that use a variety of organizational patterns (e.g., autobiography, free verse, dialogue, comparison/contrast, definition, or cause and effect).
  • Standard I.5 Produce a variety of written, spoken, multigenre, and multimedia works, making conscious choices about language, form, style, and/or visual representation for each work (e.g., poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction stories, academic and literary essays, proposals, memos, manifestos, business letters, advertisements, prepared speeches, group and dramatic performances, poetry slams, and digital stories).
    • CE 1.5.5 Use writing, speaking, and visual expression to develop powerful, creative and critical messages.
  • Standard 2.2 Use a variety of reading, listening, and viewing strategies to construct meaning beyond the literal level (e.g., drawing inferences; confirming and correcting; making comparisons, connections, and generalizations; and drawing conclusions).
    • CE 2.2.1 Recognize literary and persuasive strategies as ways by which authors convey ideas and readers make meaning (e.g., imagery, irony, satire, parody, propaganda, overstatement/understatement, omission, and multiple points of view).
    • CE 2.2.2 Examine the ways in which prior knowledge and personal experience affect the understanding of written, spoken, or multimedia text.

MI GLCE - Grade 8:

  • R.CM.08.01 Connect personal knowledge, experience, and understanding of the world to themes and perspectives in the text.
  • R.CM.08.03 State global themes, universal truths, and principles within and across texts to create a deeper understanding.
  • R.CS.08.01 Evaluate the appropriateness of shared, individual, and expert standards based on purpose, context, and audience in order to assess their own work and work of others.
  • W.GN.08.02 Write an historical expository piece (e.g., journal, biography, simulated memoir) that includes appropriate organization, illustrations, marginal notes, and/or annotations.
  • W.PR.08.01 Set a purpose, consider audience, and replicate authors’ styles and patterns when writing narrative or informational text.
  • W.PS.08.01 Exhibit individual style to enhance the written message (e.g., in narrative text: personification, humor, element of surprise; in informational text: emotional appeal, strong opinion, credible support).

Arts Edge National Standards

  • Music: Content Standard #8: Understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts
    Achievement Standard:
    Grade 8
    Students compare in two or more arts how the characteristic materials of each art (that is, sound in music, visual stimuli in visual arts, movement in dance, human interrelationships in theatre) can be used to transform similar events, scenes, emotions, or ideas into works of art.
    Grades 9-12
    Students explain ways in which the principles and subject matter of various disciplines outside the arts are interrelated with those of music (e.g., language arts: compare the ability of music and literature to convey images, feelings, and meanings; physics: describe the physical basis of tone production in string, wind, percussion, and electronic instruments and the human voice and of the transformation and perception of sound)
  • Art: Content Standard #3: Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas
    Achievement Standard:
    Grade 8
    Students integrate visual, spatial, and temporal concepts with content to communicate intended meaning in their artworks Students use subjects, themes, and symbols that demonstrate knowledge of contexts, values, and aesthetics that communicate intended meaning in artworks
    Grades 9-12
    Students apply subjects, symbols, and ideas in their artworks and use the skills gained to solve problems in daily life

Big Understanding
Understand that...

  • text of different forms helps us clarify our values.
  • we receive joy in work that encourages the values we cherish.

Driving Questions

  • How are our values clarified by text?
  • What values inspires what I do?

Students will:

  1.  Reflect on their experiences by writing several personal narratives.
  2. Analyze and evaluate decisions and events in terms of impact on their lives.
  3. Analyze their strongest personality traits through literature and music that best reflected themselves.
  4. Analyze and evaluate what drive inside them led to happiness, based on decision-making influenced by personality.
  5. Synthesize all the reflective activities into a PowerPoint presentation file that depicts analysis of their internal drive.

The first three parts of the project were graded on process. Besides research during these parts, students wrote reflective narratives describing their learning during each part. Content of these reflections and creative application demonstrated students understanding of skills. Because the PowerPoint presentation file was a student synthesis of the previous parts, it was graded one third on process and two thirds on product (See rubric below). They were required to complete ten components for the presentation. The underpinnings were quotes by themselves or others that showed a connection between the components and the students' internal motivation.  These quotes can also be recorded on to the slides instead of printed.

Suggested Rubric to use for Part IV: Ideas section from the 6+1 Traits Rubric by NWREL. The Ideas section can be used to help students compose their reflections for Parts I and III, but it's recommended as a guide, not scoring purposes.

You may customize a rubric for any part of this project at Rubistar.

Prerequisites for Students


Lesson Listings | Overview | Part One - Two - Three - Four | Student samples of Final Projects