102: Taking your Literary Food Truck Festival Digital


You know how I love a good literary food truck festival. The concept is simple - students create a food truck themed to a book they're reading, with truck design, menu, playlist, social media, etc. clearly connected to the text. It's perfect for a choice reading unit, the culmination at the end of a term of your independent reading program, or a final assessment during literature circles. 

It's fun. It brings the group together with buzz and engagement around books. Students end up analyzing and interpreting literature while hardly noticing, because they're excited to create food trucks, eat great snacks, and see everyone else's work. In the end, not only do they remember the event, they've got tons of new ideas for what to read. 

This isn't the first time I've shared about this concept. You can go back and read "How to Host a Literary Food Truck Festival" if you want the complete details. Or you can browse through the photo tour

Food trucks by the students of Miss Medrano and Miss Vaerla, 

helped and supported by Librarian Amy Marquez (Collegiate High School)

But now, of course, things are a bit different. OK, a lot different. You're probably wondering if you have to scrap your plans for a literary food truck festival now that your students can't be within six feet of each other, and might, in fact, be miles apart in their own homes.

But really, you can still launch a wonderful literary food truck festival. In today's episode, the third in this week's "Back-to-School Blended" series, you'll find out how. Listen on the player below, or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or the player of your choice. 

Now, let's take a look at how to launch your food truck festival. Oh, by the way, I've got all the moving pieces of this one ready to go for you! Just sign up for my weekly emails below, and the first one you'll get will have your link to the online curriculum you can start using immediately. 

Step #1: Do the Prep Online

Every festival starts with a whole lot of brainstorming and analysis. And really, it's pretty easy to do that online. Whether students are in breakout groups to do the work, or working independently, they can start to think about how to connect the book to their trucks as they play around with ideas on Google Slides. 

Step #2: The Design Phase

As you introduce the festival to your students, let them know that their final presentation will all be linked through ONE stunning, epic, amazing Google Slide. (Not a slides person? You can use some other internet location for your students' linked final presentation. Or have them create videos. Or Flipgrid recordings. Or present live. But for the purposes of clarity, let's continue with the Slides option). This ONE Google Slide will live on a collaborative class slideshow. From there, they can link to videos, audio clips, photographs, other slide presentations, docs, musical playlists, recipes, etc. This slide should be beautifully designed and linked like mad. 

You are basically teaching your students how to create a hyperdoc with this part of the project. 

Step #3: The Festival

On the day of your festival, gather all your students on video to introduce the big day. Play some fun music. Take attendance with a food related question. Invite your students (in advance) to have a snack with them during class if they wish. Then share the digital meal tickets for them to choose their favorite four food trucks, and give them time to go on their tour. As they view the different slides, they should explore the links to hear musical playlists, see videos and photo montages of trucks, check out digitally designed truck facades and server apparel, etc. 

Gather again at the end to congratulate the kids on all their hard work. 

Step #4: Post-Festival Hooplah

The day after the festival, you might wish to present (virtual) awards to various trucks based on the votes that came in from the meal tickets. I also suggest you create some kind of celebratory montage, like a video including each truck slide or a collage of some of your favorite elements. Share it back to students and to families as well. Send it to the school paper if it's going. Talk to your librarian about how the digital food trucks might play a role in virtual book displays or book recs coming from the library, or use them somehow in your own independent reading program. 

OK, ready? You've got everything you need! I can't wait to hear about your virtual food truck festivals. Please share your results with me on Instagram @nowsparkcreativity or send me an email to let me know how they go! 


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