Driving Question: 

What's the essential element that made our family successful?

Language Arts
Grade 8

Students interviewed a family member to discover an event that has influenced their family. They explored how this event influences them presently, how it has affected their life in the past, and how it might influence their family in the future. Students wrote an essay arguing why the event was influential. They created an artistic piece which allowed students to explore the event using abstract thinking. Students then on shared their learning on student-produced websites. 

Student Reflection

I was able to understand more about my family and its history. Also, I was able to learn more about the traits my family values. Grade 8 Student

We learned how to explore a vague theme with an abstract idea. Grade 8 Student

Student Products


Process journal. 

Artistic piece.

Argumentative piece

Teacher Reflection

"The project was so personal to them, that it was hard to make the shift to more abstract thinking." - Bick McSwiney

"We felt that there needed to be an element where students can express their family elements in a different way, . Wherever they felt the essay stopped, they could add to it with the artistic. Time was something we considered. It was hard with students who did poetry to see how much they really took the time to develop this idea. The interview was very meaningful. It translated into their journal reflections and their art piece." - David Fisher


David Fisher

Bick McSwiney

Deborah Taylor