English Project Ideas for Language Arts Project-Based Learning
Project-Based Language Arts Ideas and Lesson Plans
I used to struggle with putting together lesson plans. My first English project idea was to turn the dreaded book report into an authentic book review. My third graders published their reviews on Amazon.com (with the help of parent volunteers). It was rewarding to see the kids embrace the project and write more eloquently and thoughtfully than they would for a typical book report, but like many other first-time project plans, the whole thing required much more planning time than I had imagined.
Then I discovered these time-saving resources. These lesson plans serve as guides and ready-made formulas to help teachers bring authentic, inquiry-based learning experiences to their students. It's relatively easy to adapt quite a few of them to a broader variety of grade levels or to a homeschooling curriculum.
All of these projects are listed by grade level. If you find one that your students really embrace, please let me know in the comments section!
Language Arts Projects for Elementary School Grades
- iPopp | GlobalSchoolNet.org
For students in grades K-12. This is world-wide resource of collaborative projects designed to connect students in two or more classrooms. The number and type of projects change continually.
- iEARN Project Space | iEARN.org
For students in grades K-12. This is another world-wide collaborative project resource. Projects listed here have a global citizenship focus and range from dance and music to storytelling.
- PBLU | Buck Institute for Education
For students in grades K-12. Projects include publishing a collection of family stories about growing up. PBLU and BIE are among the best resources I have ever used for projects. This one includes a detailed description of how to assess projects.
- English Language Arts Projects | Teach 21 PBL
For students in grades 2-12. Projects focus on reading, writing, presenting, recycling, publishing a school newspaper, composing brochures for an art museum, and lobbying local government for a cause.
Middle School Language Arts Projects
- iEARN Projects Space | iEARN.org
There are 30 projects for kids in grades 6-8. They range in theme, but all involve collaborating with other classes around the world. One example is students co-writing autobiographies, a joint novel, or a piece about local environmental concerns.
- English Language Arts Projects | Teach21 PBL
For students in grades 2-12. There are 24 project ideas for students in grades 6-8. They include creating a community storybook of stories and remembrances of family and town members, designing a product, and creating a commercial to sell it.
- Resilience Cafe | PBLU.org
For 8th grade students. Based on their knowledge of African-American resilience exhibited from the Civil War era to the Civil Rights era, students write stories or spoken word poetry of their personal experience with resilience.
Shorter Activities for Middle School Students
What I love about this book is that the author offers ready and easy-to-use activities that align with Common Core. The activities can be incorporated into larger projects to help students master concepts, such as plot diagrams and character traits.
High School Language Arts Projects
- Project Work in (English) Language Teaching | CA Favier
Although designed for adults, this project is easily adaptable to students in grades 9-12 with intermediate skills in a foreign language or English as a second language. The project involves creating and presenting a short film in any language.
- Why Do Emos and Punks Write Poetry? | Bianca Hewes
Designed for students in grades 9-10, this poetry analysis project using popular music does an excellent job explaining and modeling the eight elements of project-based learning.
- George Segal Meets the One Act Play | Edutopia.org
For students in grades 10-12. This project, created by an AP government teacher and an art teacher, combines art, politics and playwriting. Watch a video about this project above.
- Children's Book Project | ReadWriteThink.org
For students in grades 9-12, ReadWriteThink's interactive project involves students in composing a children's picture book, complete with illustrations, a front cover, and back cover.
For students in grades K-12 there are 29 language arts, reading, and writing projects as well as seven foreign language/world languages projects. (Some are categorized as both.)
- Language Arts Projects | Teach21 PBL
There are 29 projects here for students in grades 9-12. Teach21 PBL, from West Virginia, offers particularly detailed projects tied to learning standards. The plans provide an excellent template for creating your own project.
- Back in the Day | PBLU.org
For students in grades 11-12 to compile a collection of family stories about how they grew up and came of age. Free registration required to download project details.
- Cyrano's Funk | PBLU.org
Students in grades 9-10 will read and analyze Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac, select a character, and create a Facebook page and soundtrack based on the characters and themes. Project culminates with a live performance, video, or written product.