One-Pager Assignment: How to Effectively Use It - EB Academics

One-Pager Assignment: How to Effectively Use It

The one-pager assignment has been around the teacher blogosphere for a while now. It seems like everyone uses them all the time! And I won’t lie, I’ve definitely used the one-pager with my students. In my most recent teaching years, I used it as the culminating assignment for quite a few of my novels studies – including The Outsiders and The House on Mango Street.

And don’t get me wrong. I love them! They are a great opportunity for students to demonstrate their knowledge in a more creative format. The final products my students submitted always turned out visually pleasing and made for a great gallery walk.

But … there was one big *problem* I ran into with one-pagers when I first used them with my middle school students …

After grading the finished products, I was incredibly underwhelmed by the level of analysis from my students. They really weren’t looking at the text critically or making deeper connections like I wanted them to.

AND it was difficult to figure out what questions were being answered from the assignment page. I was constantly having to go back and check the rubric to see if I could match the question posed to one of their answers.

UGH! Clearly, I could improve upon this situation. (Maybe you’ve even felt the same way!)

After reflecting for a bit and mulling it over with Jessica, we came up with a list of ways we could make the one-pager more effective in my classroom:

  1. I needed to have clearer expectations on the required elements for the one-pager.
  2. I needed to provide my students with more analytical and in-depth choices to include on their one-pager.
  3. Some students needed just a bit more structure.
  4. I needed an easy method for checking which prompts students were including on their final draft

So, Jessica and I worked together to revamp my one-pager assignment and came up with a format that had my students immediately producing the *quality* work they were more than capable of. (Plus, they appreciated how much clearer the expectations were!)

One pager assignment for middle school

Here’s what we did to create a stronger one-pager assignment:

First, we decided to make the one-pager a student choice board. We created eleven Common Core-aligned literature analysis activities and arranged them on a choice board. (I set this up so that students chose a set number of activities to complete. For example, I might require my students to choose 5 activities.) I love the choice board concept because it allows for student buy-in with the project as they get to chose activities they are confident in. That’s a win!

But, it doesn’t stop there! We also included a Student Cheat Sheet that goes into much greater detail about the expectations for each activity. Explicit instructions ensure that students know what needs to be included in each component on their final draft.

Additionally, we created some basic templates for students who might need more structure. A blank page can be a bit daunting for students, and let’s face it, there are always those students who don’t double-check the rubric to see if they included all the requirements. With these templates, students will know that each box must be filled in with one activity, providing them with an easy visual for what is expected.

Finally, and, this is super simple (kicking ourselves for not doing it sooner!), we made it a requirement to have our students circle/color in the boxes on the choice board that correspond to the activities they included on their one-pager. One quick glance, and we know exactly what to look for on their final product!

Making these simple, yet powerful adjustments to our one-pager choice board assignment made all the difference in the quality of work I received.

Take a peek at what we created!

When we created this one-pager resource for my classroom, we also created it with you in mind. We wanted any teacher to be able to use it with any text!

Some of the options we included on the choice board have students focus on setting, character analysis, evidence and justification, artwork, poetic devices, thematic statements, and personal connections to the text. We also included two simple templates if differentiation is needed, as well as an editable rubric for easy grading 🙂

You can grab this great resource by clicking here – just print and implement!


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Then, pick the date you’re going to teach it in your classroom, and sit back while you watch as your students show up to your classroom pumped about what the day holds…and gush about your class to their parents on the car ride home!

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