As W. Scott Poole’s text will serve as the conceptual framework for the course, this assignment seeks to promote regular critical engagement with the text.
Part 1: Chapter by Chapter Engagement. For each chapter of the text, students will maintain comprehensive, written dossiers separated into three components as follows.
Component 1: Annotated Reflections. (1.5-2 pages) Students will compose written reflections on the material covered, using annotation as a strategy to highlight their perspective and response to the readings. Keeping the principles outlined in Adler’s “How to Mark a Book” in mind while reading, students should seek to identify moments/passages in the text that were illuminating, confusing, instructive, dubious, biased, fascinating, problematic, and so forth.
The written reflection itself should be both specific and representative of the whole range of the required reading, and not simply be from the first few pages of the reading. This piece is a reflection of how the reader interacts with the text; there is no right or wrong, only different levels of academic curiosity and critical thought.
The reflection should include a series of insightful, well-developed entries of select annotations the student has made. Each entry should begin by citing the first few words of the relevant phrase or passage, followed by the page number. The remainder of the entry should examine the significance of the passage. Entries can clarify a reference and explain its significance, explore something that is unclear, or explain why something resonates with the reader, etc. (There is a reason that you made the annotation, and each individual will annotate something different.)
Reflections will be submitted according to the due dates outlined in the weekly schedule. Those students scheduled to present for a given chapter are not required to submit a reflection (see Monsters in America Presentations assignment). An individual grade is not assigned to each reflection; however, reflections will be graded collectively upon the completion of the project. Failure to submit a reflection will result in a 10 point reduction from the overall project grade.
Component 2: Summary. (1 page) Students will compose a summary of the chapter, highlighting the key elements of Poole’s text. These summaries should not exceed one page in length.
Component 3: Vocabulary. Students will maintain a list of unfamiliar words they come across in the chapter. The list should also include the page on which the word was found. Once completing the chapter, students will define these words using a college dictionary and observing the definition appropriate for the word’s usage in context.
Part 2: Comprehensive Reflection. The comprehensive reflection will be a culminating work composed at the end of the semester. Prior to the class, students will have their chapter reflections returned to them for review. The comprehensive reflection will call upon students, using their chapter reflections as their only reference, to treat Monsters in America in its entirety, focusing on their overall impressions of the work as well as anything learned from the text with long ranging applicability beyond the context of the course.