Sample Project, Notes from the Collaborative Classroom pt 4

Sample Project: Recipes

While the early posts on this topic were discussing the mechanics and workflow of group work, one of the main reasons I wanted to write about this experience, was also to highlight some of the outstanding projects produced by my students.

And so finally…!

The Recipe Project is one of my favorites because it requires really understanding the medium and genre of the documents involved. That understanding comes in the form of two different requirements of this particular project:  1) breaking down all the elements and concepts of recipe documents, and 2) choosing  a different genre and blending them together. Also, groups needed to produce two versions of this document where one focused on an older audience and the other on a younger one. As with all of the projects in the course, my goal is to get my students to see and work beyond conventional concepts of what constitutes a particular type of documents (in this case, a recipe).

Here is a copy of the Recipe Project Prompt.

Before they began the actual project planning files, they were to first decide as a group who their audience was and which recipe they were going to use as well as which type of document they were going to use as the source for the blended document. They prepared a relaxed “presentation” for the class so that we could ask questions and make sure they were all on the same page. In all, there were two areas with which they had difficulty. The first was with the idea of blending documents itself.  For example, the Penguins group decided they wanted to use a recipe for Lenga (beef tongue) since it was the favorite of a group member. However, during that initial class discussion, it was clear that they hadn’t decided on a source type of document; rather, they focused on their audience, but in a general way: for the adults, they would write it more “seriously” and for the younger people, it would be more “fun”. But they were confused when questioned about in what type of format (document) the recipes would show up. To be fair, this was typical during that first discussion. To help, I would ask them about their audience and why they might be wanting to show these people this recipe. That is, I was trying to get them to think about context.

One very clever group, the Hedgehogs, decided that they wanted to use a cake ball recipe in the form of the wedding invitation genre.  While maintaining the parameters of the writing prompt, they went one step further for the younger audience version by also converting the invitation/recipe into a puzzle.

An interesting thing that began to occur later in the semester, was that the groups began to consider their planning forms as part of their finished documents, and began tailoring them to echo the content and style of their finished projects, creating a sort of brand. Here are their Recipe Project Planning Forms they used.

And here are the electronic versions of both the adult and children invitations that they uploaded to Moodle:

Wedding Cake Balls – Adult Invitation

Wedding Cake Balls – Children Invitation

If you read through them, you will notice the group’s extreme attention to the details of their different genres. For example, the numbers were spelled out in the adult version because that is part of the invitation’s formality. Although it was a simple thing, they switch to numeric representation for the children’s version because the numbers would be easier to read, yet the tone, while fun, still helped maintain a sense of formality (as did the font usage–which also changed from adult to children audiences).

While the PDFs make the text easier to read, they do not do the documents justice; please browse through the gallery and enjoy the group’s creative use of form and details:

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The Recipe Project Report shows how their fellow classmates also responded to such details.

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