2/17/10

Help Needed

Hey everyone. I'm in need of some help. I'm teaching three novels right now (in different classes, of course), and as soon as I finish, I need to start research papers. I want my students to write a literary analysis based around their novels, but I just don't know where to start. I was complaining to Brad last night, and he asked why I hadn't checked with my friends from the Writing Center, so here I am.

The three novels I'm teaching are Life of Pi, Things Fall Apart, and The Secret Life of Bees.

If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Thanks.

3 comments:

meghan & jason said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
meghan & jason said...

I loved The Secret Life of Bees. I guess I'm not sure what you need help with exactly. Do you want ideas for a prompt or how to teach writing a literary analysis? I have one for teaching it. When I was in 9th grade we learned this pattern to write paragraphs, and I still teach it to struggling writers:
1. Topic Sentence
2. Concrete detail (short quotation)
3. Commentary (break down quotation, symbolism, whatever)
4. Commentary (more if needed)
5. Concrete detail
6. Commentary
7. Commentary
8. Conclusion sentence

That is how we learned to frame our paragraphs, and once we got the hang of it, we adjusted it as needed. If you want to look into it more, it's called the Jane Schaffer Method. How I remember that, I don't know. If you make following that format too strict, they'll hate it, but if you start out strict and get more free with it, I think they'll like it.

My sophomore year we also had a frame to help us write a strong thesis. It went something like this:
In The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd manipulates _____ language in order to _____________. (I have no idea)
Here's the more confusing open pattern:
In [title of book], [author] [verb] [litary technique] in order to [reveal something about human nature].

Once we got comfortable with that, we changed around the order and cut "in order to" down to just a verb, etc. I liked having it to help me though, and obviously I still remember it.

I hope that helps a little, even if you just put it in your bag of tricks for later. Teaching is hard, huh? It's much different teaching 6-7 year olds than I ever imagined it would be. Good luck.

Emily Goodsell said...

Thanks Meghan. I read over my request and realized how vague I was. I couldn't figure out what topic to give my students. I figured it all out though. I'm going to have my students write a multigenre research paper on a theme from the novel we read in class. I'm seriously excited--and being excited about research is pretty rare for me.

I'll let you know how it goes. I've seen some elementary examples of multigenre papers, and they're really cool. Maybe you should try it sometime. :)