SMALL BOOK OF GREAT LESSONS
Editor, Virginia Guneyli Written by Select Members of the Adjunct Faculty of St. Charles Community College, 2012-2013
The 2012-2013 St. Charles Community College Adjunct English Faculty Members’ Little Book of Lessons is published by the English department at St. Charles Community College. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the college or English department members. Copyright © 2013 St. Charles Community College. Rights revert to authors upon publication.
Table of Contents 1. Text to Context – Chris VanMierlo, pages 4-5 2. The Writing Process – Kevin Blake, pages 6-11 3. Bib Wars – David Hollingsworth, page 12 4. “Homer’s Phobia” Lesson – Christian Knobloch, pages 13-14 5. Outline for a Literature Critique – Dr. Richard Johnson, pages 15-
16 6. Literary Research Paper Guidelines – Deb Garwood, pages 17-18 7. Writing about Literature – Joni Lee, pages 19-22 8. A Character Analysis is an ARGUMENT – Susan Shortt, pages 23-25 9. Support Interpretive Stance – Byron Lee, page 26 10. Critical Thinking about a Reading – Byron Lee, page 27 11. Author Biography – Mel Peterson, pages 28-29 12. Thinking about Fiction – Kasey Perkins, pages 30-31
More Lessons: Excel and PowerPoint Lessons, page 32 1. Maria Hadlow’s PowerPoint on Basic Sentence Grammar 2. Bradley Ross’s, “Stealing the Right Way ” lesson on plagiarism 3. Bradley Ross’s “Inspiration” activity, designed to help students 3
recognize and use varying sentence structures 4. Ray Holmes’s “Audience” lesson and notes.
Text to Context – Chris VanMierlo
Objectives Covered. • Students will develop critical thinking, reading and responding skills using readings from the text. • Students will learn how to use sources to effectively substantiate their ideas and support assertions Class Outline 1. Start with Objective/Subjective exercise • Define terms: Objective information is information that is factual and can be researched for accuracy. Subjective information is based on feelings, opinions. • Demonstrate the tricky nature of objective information. Describe the class room from my own perspective (rows of desks, door on left, windows on right, etc.) Describe class room from students’ perspective (teacher standing in front of white board, the backs of fellow students’ heads, door on right, window on left, etc.) Ask which perspective is the correct one. Point out how this reflects the real world. There are two sides to each story: stories very often reflect the perspectives of the people who tell them. Point out this is why we should be open to the perspectives of others and learn from them. Point out this is why we should be respectful of others’ points of view. Point out this is why we include our opponents’ view point in the persuasive essays we write. Their view points, sometimes, can change our own in some ways, they force us to consider alternative perspectives. This should be what democracy is all about. 2. Review Logical Fallacies • Add and emphasize the ad hominem attack, not found in the text. 3. Discuss tone • Ask how often they have changed their minds about an issue when their opponents have been strident, confrontational, insulting. (The louder people yell, the less likely they are to be heard.) 4. Discuss “Ann Coulter: Nutcase,” by Al Franken • Ask what the reaction of someone who was an Ann Coulter fan would be to the title. Would that person read further, or would he/she throw the essay on the floor and stomp on it? What logical fallacy has Franken engaged in before he’s even begun his essay? • Continue reading, focusing on Franken’s tone. How could it be defined? 4
Sarcastic? Disrespectful? Is he trying to persuade Ann Coulter fans to see her for who she is, or is he “preaching to the choir?” • Continue reading, focusing on the examples Franken gives of the distortions, misrepresentations and outright lies in Coulter’s books. • Point out that Franken, has, in fact, produced proof of what he is saying by doing research. • Point out Franken has shown how Coulter has hidden her shoddy research methods, distortions, and misrepresentations through the use of end notes, knowing full well most of her readers will never wade through the 800 odd end notes at the end of her book, Slander. • Ask, once again, of Franken’s tone gets in the way of his purpose. Even though he has done research, and has proven his assertions about Coulter to be correct, is his tone effective? Would it convince those who are already inclined to dismiss any criticism of Coulter? 5. Briefly discuss structure of persuasive essays. • More in depth discussion with be the topic of the next class. 6. Emphasize that I will not accept name calling, disrespect, unsubstantiated opinions or shoddy research in their persuasion essays.
The Writing Process – Kevin Blake
The following sample lesson addresses the following two course objectives: 1. Students learn drafting, revising, and editing skills by analyzing and evaluating their own work and the work of others. 2. Students learn to view writing the essay as a way to discover knowledge, not merely record it. These activities are part of the lessons I teach when the students are working on their Memoir essay, which is the first actual paper that they write in the class. I use the Memoir as a way for the students to get their feet wet once again by writing about something they know that they can talk about in a style they are familiar with. The Memoir also allows them to write a thesis that is disguised as a theme, which I explain later in the semester as we go more in depth into thesis creation. I am uncertain as to what, exactly, you wanted in a lesson, whether it is an entire class worth of teaching or merely a single activity, but for interests of completion, I have chosen the former. Lesson: Writing Prompt: I begin class with the students taking ten minutes to answer the following question: What is your first significant memory of reading and writing? What is the context of this memory; that is, where were you at in your life, who are the characters, and what is the setting in this memory? Why is this literacy experience significant? i.e., what’s the point? We then take some time and allow a few of the students to share what they wrote. The focus in this case is not on the descriptions and characters, though there is some discussion of such things, but is rather on the “what is the point?” part of the question. Why was this experience significant? This leads into the beginnings of the lesson on Theme, which is the crux of the Memoir assignment. Through this exploration of Theme, the students discover new things about themselves and the important experiences in their lives.
Introduction to Peer Review: Following the discussion of their writing, I pass out the first handout, which is the description of why we peer review. There is a copy of the peer review sheet on the 6
back of it. The explanation of peer review is fairly straightforward and emphasizes the need to be critical when review other studentâ€™s work. It also endeavors to make certain that the students understand that they are not judging one another, but are rather assisting to make each otherâ€™s work better. (Handouts attached at the end)
Modeling and Practice Peer Review: I then pass out a sample memoir which I downloaded from www.memoirsbyme.com. I make certain that the studentâ€™s know where I got the memoir and that it was written by a non-professional writer. The memoir was written by a non-native English speaker and has enough problems that it is something that the students can feel comfortable commenting upon. Then I have the students read the memoir and review it as if the author were one of their peers, using the peer review sheet on the back of the peer review handout. When they are done, we have a class discussion of the essay. What were its strengths, what were its weaknesses, what were the most common errors, what could the author have done to make the essay stronger, are all questions that I ask if the students do not bring the points up themselves. The students tend to find reviewing the paper of someone they do not know to be less frightening than reviewing the paper of a peer, and the class discussion allows for them to see that most of them have the same ideas about what makes a paper strong and what makes it weak. These ideas about peer review carry through the rest of the semester with some students, though with many, they are forgotten once they cross the threshold and leave the class for the day. (Sample Memoir attached)
Peer Review English 101 The peer review session is a central feature of English 101. It allows students to turn a critical eye toward classroom writing while at the same time allowing them to see how their peers handled the challenges of a particular writing assignment. The peer review model in 101 follows the way writers publish their work. Typically, writers will show their work, in various stages of completion, to friends, family, and colleagues in an effort to better the piece of writing. These peers point out things the writer may have overlooked, places where the writing may be weak, and instances where the argument doesn’t hold up. This is the same for in-class peer groups. Students look at each other’s writing in an effort to make it stronger. Peer review doesn’t work if peer reading groups aren’t critical, if they don’t point out the places where the writer needs to focus further attention. Peer review is not personal. No one in the reading group is criticizing the writer as a person; the criticism is focused on the writing. The writer and the writing aren’t the same thing! The harder a peer reading group is on a piece of writing, the better their work can be used by the writer. When approaching writing during peer review, students should remember the metaphor of the bell curve. In the bell curve most numbers, scores, etc. cluster toward the middle or average. In a five-point scale, this means a 3. The bell curve notes that 68% of numbers tend to cluster in the middle; therefore, when approaching any score, given the odds, we should be thinking the middle. There is nothing wrong with average. Average means normal, that whatever it is we’re judging is doing its job. When looking at essays, or parts of essays, we assume the middle first. An average essay does the job—there’s nothing particularly wrong with the average essay. It is workmanlike; it does what it sets out to do. Similarly, an average introduction to an essay works fine: it doesn’t do anything beyond what it sets out to do, but it doesn’t really do anything wrong, either. The first score students should think about, then, is 3 when doing peer review. Until the essay or part of the essay denotes something different, the score remains a 3. Scores beyond a 3 are just that: somehow beyond the average. If there are problems with the essay, then it is beyond/below average: this necessitates a 2 or even a 1 if there are deep problems. If the essay is really good or even excellent, then that is beyond average, making a 4 or 5 necessary as the score. In the metaphor of the bell curve, though, we must remember that all things being equal, most things tend toward average, and the failing score (1) and the excellent score (5) are somewhat rarer creatures. A last note about the peer review session has to do with comments made by peers. When making comments, which students should do on all scores of 1, 2, and 3, the more specific the comment the better. A comment saying, “you should work on organization,” or “you need to add more detail” aren’t quite as helpful as “paragraph two should be moved to the end and paragraph seven should be moved to the beginning because it has a lot of background information in it” or “you need to describe the setting of your narrative in more detail, specifically your living room, so 8
the readers can get a picture of where the action is set.â€? Specificity is the coin of the realm in peer review commentary. It not only helps the reader focus his or her ideas about the writing (which may then transfer to his or her own writing), but also allows the writer to move quickly and efficiently to the places he or she needs to work on.
Student Writing Evaluation Form
Respondentâ€™s Name:_______________________ Grading Scale: 3: Average 4: Above Average
Criteria: Purpose: Is the purpose of the Essay obvious? Is it clear? Is it interesting? 1 2 3 4 5 N/A Introduction: Is the introduction interesting? Does it sets the goals of the project? 1 2 3 4 5 N/A Conclusion: Does the conclusion wrap up the essay efficiently? 1 2 3 4 5 N/A Organization: Does the paper effectively and clearly move the reader from point to point in the essay? 1 2 3 4 5 N/A Transitions Does the paper clearly lead the reader from paragraph to paragraph and sentence to sentence? 1 2 3 4 5 N/A Focus: Is the essay focused? Does it wander away from topic? Does is waver in tone? 1 2 3 4 5 N/A Grammar/Mechanics: Does the paper use proper surface conventions? 1 2 3 4 5 N/A
BIB WARS – David Hollingswor th
First, divide the class into two or three groups, depending on the size of the class. Make sure each student has their handbook ready. Bring in several kinds of sources (magazines, newspapers, books, DVDs, etc.). You will need 2 of each source (or more if there are three groups). Hand out the sources and explain that whatever group is able to cite the source first and correctly on the board gets a point. After each source is cited, the group with the most points wins. Provide prize for winning team such as candy or trinkets. EXPLANATION: This in class assignment is a fun way to get the class working on MLA citations. Documentation skills are important, and this is a good way to get the students to not only work together but to also practice using the handbook and citing in MLA. I’m able to scrutinize the groups’ citations and explain mistakes to the class. This is one of the few ways I’ve found to make documentation enjoyable.
“Homer’s Phobia” Lesson – Christian Knobloch
Course Objective: • Learn to view writing as a way to discover knowledge not just record it. • Learn and use various rhetorical techniques for organization information such as narration, description/definition, explanation, evaluation, comparison-contrast, persuasion, and analysis. • Learn to evaluate sources and use them to gain new knowledge, substantiate your ideas, and support your assertions. 1) Students will watch The Simpsons episode “Homer’s Phobia,” dealing with Homer’s insecurities about his new gay friend and his fear that Bart might be gay. 2) After the viewing, students are asked to identify the issue, claim, evidence, and any logical fallacies. Students write down their responses. 3) Students are broken into groups or pair to discuss their responses. Summary of episode: Needing money to pay for the gas repair bill, the Simpson family visits "Cockamamie's", an offbeat collectibles shop, hoping that it will purchase one of the family's heirlooms. Homer meets John, the antiques dealer, who explains that much of the merchandise is there because of its camp value. Bart and Lisa are impressed with John, and Homer invites him to the Simpsons' house to see the campy items that the family owns. The next morning, Homer tells Marge that he likes John and suggests they invite him and "his wife" over. Marge hints repeatedly to an oblivious Homer that John is gay, and when Homer finally understands, he is horrified. Homer's attitude towards John changes completely, and he turns against him, refusing to join his tour of Springfield. The rest of the family joins John and has a good time, but Homer is upset with the family upon their return. The rest of the Simpson family continue to enjoy John's company, especially Bart, who starts wearing Hawaiian shirts and dancing in a woman's wig. This makes Homer uneasy, and he begins to fear Bart is gay. Homer endeavors to make Bart more masculine by forcing him to look at a cigarette billboard featuring scantily clad women in hopes Bart will be attracted to girls, but instead Bart gets the urge to smoke "anything slim." Homer then escorts him to see a steel mill to show Bart a manly environment, however, much to his surprise and dismay, the entire workforce is gay, and during their breaks they turn the mill into The Anvil, a gay disco. A desperate Homer insists
on taking Bart deer hunting with Moe and Barney. When they cannot find any deer, they decide instead to go to "Santa's Village" and shoot the reindeer in the corral, despite a tearful Bart being reluctant to do so. This backfires when the reindeer attack them. John, with the help of Lisa and Marge, uses a Japanese Santa Claus robot to scare off the reindeer and save the hunting party. Homer accepts John, more or less, and tells Bart, who is still unaware of his father's concerns, that any way he lives his life is fine with him. After Lisa informs Bart that Homer thinks he is gay, Bart is stunned. The episode ends with everyone driving off in John's car.
Outline for Second Edgar Allan Poe Essay – Dr. Richard Johnson
What Happens -Describe the physical action that occurs in the three scenes of the story. The Nature of That Which Does Not Move -Take note of the relative absence physical action in the final two scenes of the story -Explain Poe’s shift of the reader’s attention from events(plot) to setting. -Examples of lack of movement(stasis) in Scene One and Scene Two -Conclusion to be drawn from these examples From Metaphor to Reality: Setting as Plot -Usher’s mental condition: main subject of the story -“Falling action” of the story -Foreshadowing of the Fall in the story’s first sentence Supporting Details “A valet of stealthy step, thence conducted me, in silence, through many dark and intricate passages in my progress to the studio of his master.” “Dark draperies hung upon the walls. The general furniture was profuse, comfortless, antique and tattered. Many books and musical instruments lay scattered about, but failed to give any vitality to the scene.” -Usher’s Complexion “Some Oppressive Secret” In this section of the essay(the final two pages), you are free to speculate on the
possible curse or cause behind the fall of the House of Usher. This should be based on your own understanding of the story. Under no circumstances are you to consult outsides sources on this question. Your interpretation should be supported by evidence within the story. Speculation without evidence is not a valid form of interpretation. (An alternative to this focus on the cause of the fall might an explanation of the narrator as the main character.)
Literar y Research Paper Guidelines – Deb Gar wood
Final product will be an essay 8-10 pages long Outline Due:________________________________________ Conference Day and Time: ____________________________________ Final Paper Due: __________________________________________
For this Assignment, you will be meeting the following Course Objectives: c. Be able to use extra-course resources of such as the Writing Center, computer lab(s), and the library d. Write clear, precise, concise, expository prose in Edited American English e. Demonstrate ability to read critically and respond to fiction and nonfiction selections f. Demonstrate critical thinking in exposition The Assignment: Write an essay in which you read, research, and consider the idea and future of marriage in the United States. In addition to your own library research on the topic, you will consider various texts from the course readings, films and or film clips from previous classroom assignments, and also a live play/performance. The texts from your semester readings are: “The Story of an Hour,” “This Blessed House,” “The Rocking Horse Winner,” “The Interview,” “Killings,” “Trifles,” “POOF!” and Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf? You will also consider the films In the Bedroom and Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf? as well as the performance of Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Technical requirements: - MLA formatting and citation - 8-10 pages and a works cited page
Use your choice of at least three short stories, one film and/or performance, and two plays. Use at least 3 researched non-fiction sources as well. These might be articles on marriage/divorce/infidelity/scientific research, etc.
Conferences: You will meet with your instructor for a scheduled conference regarding this paper. Bring your outline with sources, copies of your nonliterary research, and any questions you may have. Be able to converse about the direction of your paper and the topic.
Writing about Literature – Joni Lee
(In the previous class, we read Forche’s “The Colonel” once aloud, watched her read the poem on YouTube, and they responded to some questions in class regarding the poem. I assigned Chapter 9: Critical Approaches to Literature in Connections and a short piece of literary criticism about Forche’s The Country Between Us.) Reread “The Colonel” as a class. Remind students of brief back story: poem from The Country Between Us, written in the late 70s while Forche was working as a journalist in El Salvador during the Salvadoran Civil War, 12 year war in which the country was run by a military dictatorship; the US was part of the move toward a UN peace agreement that happened in 1992, but after 1000s of people died and many human rights violations - based on true events. Begin group discussion with what students wrote about at the end of the previous class and for homework: what they see happening in this poem, what they notice, effect of hearing Forche read the poem aloud, etc. Extend discussion with these kinds of questions : What stark, startling imagery that stands out to you? What do you make of the form – blurring of prose and poetry, blurring of author/speaker, effect of stunted sentences? Did you feel a difference of impression after hearing her read the poem in terms of tone and subject? Any instances of figurative language – use of personification and simile, and meaning of final image? Why are readers given so many details about the setting beyond just what happens at the dinner table (what’s happening away from the dinner table, how the house is protected from outsiders as well as what’s being served, who’s there, etc.)? How do the form (short sentences), imagery, and subject influence tone here? What is the tone? This poem feels very literal in many ways, very in the present scene. What is the deeper meaning or theme, though, at work here? Why is the speaker telling her story? What do we think she’s trying to say? Is this poem trying to get at anything in a broader context of considering war, leadership, cultural differences? Does the message here fit solely for the Salvadoran Civil War, or could the tensions and conflicts here be applicable to other conflicts? What does this poem show us about the Salvadoran Civil War? About the role the US may represent through the American speaker? Transition into critical approaches: Considering critical approaches and
literary criticism offers a building block for further consideration and perhaps a broader context for our continued understanding of literature. Now, the approaches we are going to discuss today are not set in stone; often literary critics blend these methods in order to arrive at their best interpretation of a text. Think of these critical approaches as a lens through which we might better see literature from varying points of view. Formalist approach : Focus on what they see taking shape in the text as it stands alone; the focus is on the poem itself, less on how the historical perspective, time the piece was written, or the author’s background/experiences inform the poem; focus on language, form, imagery, theme, etc. and the interconnectedness of the literary devices present to create meaning - much of what we have done in our in-class analysis is focused on a more formalist approach to literature; it is a good foundation and exercise in close reading. Historical approach : Focus on viewing the poem through a historical understanding of when it was written and the original intended audience of the piece as well as an understanding of who the author was and their significance in that time; major historical events, customs of that time, and class issues, whether they are explicitly stated in the literature or now, are considered; part of the historical approach is this idea that what was happening during the time a piece was written informs and provides an essential context for interpreting the work. Example: many of you considered, at least in some capacity, a historical approach when you considered the role of imperialism in Burma in “Shooting an Elephant” or traditional Chinese customs/gender roles in “No Name Woman” – this approach often requires additional outside research that we are just now getting into. Gender-based approach : Focus on the impact of gender in how a text is interpreted; this might include looking at the author’s gender to better understand their perspective on the subject or look at the cultural constructs of gender that exist or existed when the piece was written and how that informs the subject and the way gender is dealt with in the piece; their focus is based on the understanding that gender stereotypes are deeply embedded in our society. They investigate how a piece of literature challenges or reinforces these stereotypes; they also see literature as primarily dominated by men, so they question how that influences what we consider classical literature and how women writers deal with this patriarchy. Example: “Lust” would be a good example – many of you at least touched on the gender stereotypes that play out in the piece and how the story in many ways reinforces the stereotypes about the ways men and women view sex and are labeled for being promiscuous.
Psychological approach : Focuses mostly on the characters’ behavior, actions, experiences, and emotional state in order to better understand and interpret the piece of literature. They might consider what events in the character’s childhood led to their adult behavior, what a depiction of their dreams says about them and about the story, and the relationship between what happens in the story and the author’s real life experiences and feelings – how the two work to inform an understanding of the piece. Example: the closest we have come in class would be our close consideration of Al’s behavior in Raymond Carver’s story – considering the connection between what’s happening in his life, his feelings and reactions to these happenings, and how they affect his behavior. Reader-response approach : Founded on the notion that literary interpretation is found in a personal reaction to a piece, the idea that you’re considering what effect it has on you in order to interpret what about the piece is causing reaction and what personal experiences shape your reading. This may seem a little touchy feely, but it is often the way I think we initially react to literature – on a guttural, personal level. The important part, though, is moving past that initial impulse to ask further questions of the literature and to provide evidence to support that initial response. Acknowledgment that approaches aren’t static: As I said, these approaches are not stagnant. They can easily blend and flow. It’s useful, though, to consider the many ways we can view literature and that multiple approaches are valid. These perspectives extend beyond what we’ve been doing thus far and will be useful to consider as you add research and consider from what angle the literary criticism you’re reading comes from and considering your own approach. Consider example literary criticism, Katha Pollitt’s “Poems on Public Subjects”: Which critical approach(es) does she take? What insights does she give us for thinking about the poem from a different perspective? What components might we use if writing a literary analysis on this poem?
Explanation/Link to Course Objectives: This is a lesson I taught when the class was transitioning between writing literary analysis about short fiction without secondary sources to writing about poetry with additional research. I assigned this poem in particular because it
offers a vast amount of opportunities for them to practice evaluating literary devices, and it helps to facilitate a lot of discussion between the differences and similarities between fiction and poetry (i.e. focus on setting, form). The literary criticism introduction was meant to help them broaden their context for thinking about literature; the example eased them into literary criticism and also showed the mixing of critical approaches that often occurs. The lesson ties into the course objectives in a few ways. It teaches students to engage with literature from a variety of angles: reading, watching the writer read the poem, note-taking and reflection, discussion of the poem as a group, and a consideration of how a critic views Forcheâ€™s work. Hopefully these multiple angles help students to better understand and interact with what they read. The process that we enacted in class in many ways mimics the stages of writing a literary analysis; itâ€™s not just a one-time shot but requires multiple interactions with a text to be able to interpret and write about it. Lastly, the literary criticism offers an introduction to the kind of sources students will engage with in their own research so that they can begin to think about the broader perspective library sources can offer them.
A Character Analysis is an ARGUMENT – Susan Shor tt
o Argue a position regarding the character’s role, meaning, interpretation, etc. o Give reasons to support that position o Provide evidence from the primary sources and secondary sources to support those reasons The Trial of Matt Fowler (“Killings” by Andre Dubus p.882) Assume that Matt Fowler has been put on trial for the murder of Richard Strout. Using specifics from the text (exact quotes and specific examples), build a case for the prosecution or the defense. You will need to cite specific lines and give page numbers. Prosecution: Compile evidence from the text (use exact quotes from the defendant and other people involved) to aid in your conviction of Matt Fowler based on the following thesis/position: Despite his sympathetic role as the father of a murdered son, Fowler is a vengeful man who knowingly acts outside the boundaries of the law; he is a killer who commits premeditated murder and skillfully avoids being punished for the crime. Or argue for Matt’s innocence based on the circumstances and his character traits Defense: Make a case for Matt’s freedom. Compile evidence from the text that would help a jury decide to exonerate Matt based on this thesis/position: Matt Fowler is a sympathetic character who is completely justified in his execution of vigilante justice against the man who murdered his son. His love for his son and his desire to spare his wife pain show that his actions in killing Richard Strout, while illegal, are ultimately understandable and forgivable. Making a literary argument is exactly the same as making a case . You state an arguable position, give reasons for accepting that position, and use evidence to back up those reasons. Give 3-5 reasons to support your position. Provide 1-2 specific
pieces of evidence from the text to back up each reason. Work with a group to compile this evidence. We will use this evidence to demonstrate the importance of examples in literary analysis. Position/Thesis:______________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________ Reason#1 _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ ________________________ a. Evidence____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________ ______________________ b. Evidence____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________ ______________________ Reason#2 _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ ________________ a. Evidence____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________ ______________________ b. Evidence____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________ ______________________ Reason # 3 _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________ ________________________
a. Evidence_________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _____________________ b. Evidence_________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _____________________
Suppor t Interpretive Stance – Byron Lee
Lesson: A discussion of Joyce Carol Oates’s short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” and the work that inspired it, the Bob Dylan song “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.” Course Objective Targeted: “Students will learn to support an interpretive stance using logic and sources.” Synopsis: In discussing the Joyce Carol Oates story, which centers on a teenage girl and her interactions with a strange, lascivious man, we discussed how Oates uses the two characters as vehicles to address both the fear of teenage sexuality— particularly with regard to woman—and the fear of the rock-n-roll cultural infiltration of the 1960’s, fears also addressed in the Dylan song. I wanted to impress upon the class the idea that characters in a story can represent greater conflicts and ideas.
Critical Thinking about a Reading – Byron Lee
Lesson: Discussion/analysis of an in-class reading of an op-ed on addiction. Course Objective Targeted: “Students learn to construct an essay that is rhetorically effective in its organization, development and language, and in its appeal to specific audiences.” Synopsis: In an op-ed piece written for the Spectator, Russell Brand uses personal experience, vivid description, and trademark humor to advocate for an alternative method of dealing with drug addicts and alcoholics. In the class discussion, we focused on how Brand’s imagery, analogies and candor lead the everyday reader through the mind of an addict, in hopes of having the reader come around to his point of view. The lesson was part of the persuasive portion of the course.
Author Biography – Mel Peterson
Goal: 4-5 page essay with 3 to 4 sources Presentation 1 (4-6 minutes) Learn more about the mind behind the work. A selection sheet consisting of all the authors from the syllabus will be distributed, and no two students will cover the same author. Areas to consider covering: background (lifestyle, family, identity, time period), influences (who or what inspired the author and how did his/her work originate), works (what all has he/she done), achievement (contributions to literature, awards), and legacy (recognition, fame, standing). Consider if the author was more famous in life or in death; where he/she started to where he/she is currently.
Presentation Rubric Delivery ~ fluid & conversational 20 Scope ~ depth of discussion 15 Duration ~ time requirement 15 Audience Awareness ~ eye-contact & engagement 15 Organization ~ comprehensible 10 Investment ~ effort & interest 10 Relevance ~ stays on topic 5 Preparation ~ notes/PowerPoint 5 Projection/Posture ~ audible & composed 5 = 100
For the first “project” of the course, students sign-up for any one of the twenty-five authors we will cover over the semester. The essay, as noted above, is meant to serve as way to get the student to research and learn more about a particular writer and his life, time period, works, influences, and even reception. The focus of the essay needs to go beyond mere “life story.” Rather, it should look toward why the person decided to become a writer in the first place, what inspired him/her, and their legacy because of it. In other words, why is this writer and his/her work so notable that we are reading, even studying, it years later? In accordance with Essay 1, the students present their papers to the class. One purpose behind the presentation is to make them focus on the highlights of their research, but it also inevitably becomes a way of sharing basic information
so they as a class are informed about the authors we will be reading. PowerPoint is not required, but strongly encouraged. Underscoring this project is the mere fact that they will be doing it all again at the end of the semester with Essay 4 as their culminating project (instead of a final exam). The Literary Analysis project means a longer, more researched topic and of course, a longer presentation. I return rubrics/comments after Presentation I, as well as expect students to evaluate other student presentations on days not presenting, so as to help them prepare even more so for the “big one.” I feel this meets the course objectives in the sense that biographies are basic, yet tricky, to write. They require a direct purpose and obviously research. As basic expository writing, it’s easy enough to state where a person lived, grew up, went to school, studied, married, and worked, but to add more purpose to it is to showcase all of those relevant points through the lens of “what made/makes him/her a writer.” Myself having a strong background in literature, I find a lot of merit in knowing about the writer and his/her influences in order to deepen one’s understanding, and even appreciation, of the work.
Thinking about Fiction – Kasey Perkins
Distribute quiz over “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs read for class. Discussion (example questions): Speculate on what knocks at the door at the end? Is this a supernatural tale? Why? How does this story build suspense/horror? What is the significance of various elements, such as names, environments, or the fulfillments of those wishes? In Class Activity: Watch The Simpsons “Treehouse of Horror II: The Monkey’s Paw.” Discuss in relation to the short story. Place students into groups of four/five. Have students craft a thesis statement in their groups that makes some kind of argument using both versions of “The Monkey’s Paw” as its sources. Place all thesis statements on the board; choose one.
Note that students chose the following thesis: “The Monkey’s Paw as an artifact is a symbol for greed, regardless of which telling of the story you are looking at.” As a class, have students brainstorm how they could support this thesis; record these points on the board. Have students pull relevant quotes from the text/film to support each point. Cite these quotes on the board with proper MLA formatting. Examine the thesis/evidence. Is the evidence in the best order? If not—work on reordering. In addition, work on creating transitions between evidence. Discuss possible counterarguments to this potential paper, and how a writer would respond to them. Relationship to course outcomes: This lesson plan meets ENG 102’s course outcomes in a number of ways. First, the lesson models proper citation. Second, students learn how to integrate quotes into their thesis support in fluid and meaningful ways. In this case, students reflected on the two different perspectives on the monkey’s paw as a symbol—one in the literary canon and one in pop culture humor. They also heard a variety of different approaches to thesis statements based on the same sources, allowing them to reconcile the opinions and reactions of others in the course with their own. This level of thinking was further enforced by speculating on how someone would argue against the point of their class-created paper and how they might respond. However, this lesson primarily meets “students will learn to support an interpretive stance using logic and sources,” as the lesson focuses on building a thesis statement and supporting it with textual evidence. The lesson further encourages students to present evidence in a logical and natural progression by creating transitions within the paper outline.
More Lessons: Excel and PowerPoint Lessons – Right Click on Links below 1. Maria Hadlow’s PowerPoint on Basic Sentence Grammar 2. Bradley Ross’s, “Stealing the Right Way” lesson on plagiarism 3. Bradley Ross’s “Inspiration” activity, designed to help students recognize and use varying sentence structures 4. Ray Holmes’s “Audience” lesson and notes.