One of my favorite assignments to give my students at the beginning of the year is to create a collage mobile. They are required to fill out a questionnaire of their interests, then based on those answers, create a collage mobile that will hang in the classroom. The third step is to write about the items they chose to include in their collage and why those things are special, or represent who they are.
I like this activity because I'm able to find out the interests of my students and get some classroom decoration up. The 3D effects of a collage adds interest, then hanging them as mobiles make them even more fun. Are they distracting? A little at first. I do give students time to look at them when they first go up. They love seeing what their classmates have created. They stay up most the year and we've even added smaller collages to the originals for true mobiles.
The picture shows how you can assign an addition to the mobile at the end of a novel unit. Have students find images, favorite quotes, and artifacts that relate to the novel.
If you would like the handouts and extensive lesson plan for this project, check here.