My middle school students have been hard at work this past week writing and creating manifestos. So what's a manifesto? In simple terms, a manifesto is a public declaration of principles and intentions. Manifestos are sometimes political and sometimes personal, often addressing who someone is, what they stand for, and what they want others to know about them. (I know, big ideas for 12 year olds.)
For our manifestos we read Guyifesto by Darren Shan. This is a humorous take on who guys are, with lines like "Guys don’t get up early! Unless it’s for sports. And even then, we do so reluctantly, with much moaning and groaning." I used Author Shan's work as a basis for having my students write their own declarations. The boys in my class were itching to create similar tirades about the ins and outs of being a "guy." Meanwhile, the girls in my class were just as eager to shed some light on the mystifying world of girldom. They wanted to make sure their male classmates understood exactly what it means to be a middle school girl, and trust me they are experts!
We used our iPads as a platform to create these manifestos. I had students brainstorm ideas, use Google to find photos to illustrate their points, take photos with the camera app, and use the app Keynote to create their presentations. Students were able to add effects, customize, and personalize their personal creeds. By the end of our project, my students were experts at using Keynote and willing to share their knowledge with me and their classmates. Often times someone would shout, "Mrs. Nixon, check out this feature of Keynote that I just discovered!" and that my friends is music to any teacher's ears.
With names like Reptile Freakifesto, Technogeekifesto, and Kevinifesto there are so many fun and creative examples but I'm including just a few screen shots of some of the Middle School Manifestos created by my students.