<<I do like the movie idea though, can you tell us more about that, please?>>
LOL! I'm making this up as I go along, but I can at least share what I've thunk up so far!
This would, presumably, be intro'ed the 2nd day of class--the first day we'll have all the orientation stuff.
We'll discuss movies they like (I'll know some of this from a questionnaire the first day) and what posters advertising these movies look like. I'll probably copy some examples from the web. We'll talk about what catches their eye when they see a movie poster, and how you can get some idea of what it's about just from the poster.
What I specifically want to see in finished projects are their lettering ability, use of color and design. They'll have to come up with a title (not borrowed from any other source--I can just picture a bunch of "My So-Called Life" from an MTV show) that will be incorporated into the design, along with their name.
They'll have to have at least some sections painted (with tempera) and they can also use markers and colored pencils. They'll have approximately one and a half weeks to complete this (based on 50-minute classes). I'll suggest that they include things that show some of their interests and/or their family, pets, where they live, etc.
I teach at a small private co-ed boarding and day school. We usually have a lot of foreign students whose ability to speak English is often secondary to their ability to produce absolutely stunning artwork.
They can use resources (i.e. pictures from magazines or books for reference) but everything on the poster must be drawn/painted rather than collaged.
So anyhow, that's what I'm thinking of so far. I'll have mainly 9th - 12th grade students in Art I - Art IV, though it's possible I'll have a couple of 8th graders, too. It will be the first graded project, and I'll develop a rubric for it, though the main "grading" (since it's pre-instruction) will be on completing it, their work ethic, and their attitude. I'll still view it as an assessment tool, and we'll probably do a group critique (thank you San D. for suggestions on that) when everyone's poster is completed.
As always, these kids surprise me and come up with forms of expression that I NEVER would have thought of. Should be interesting!