Tuesday, September 2, 2008

AP--oral presentations

Each assigned story carries with it a total of four separate responsibilities Listed below are details about each of these duties.
1. Style analyst—Class begins with the analyst pointing out characteristics of the writer’s style, based on a close reading of the story’s first two paragraphs (more if the story begins with dialogue; fewer if the first paragraph is an especially long one). The style analyst points out significant examples of diction, syntax, figurative language, organization, tone, and tension, paying special attention to issues significant to the story as a whole. A brief discussion ensues during which other members of the class can add to the insights of the analyst.

2. Essayist—The essayist writes a brief essay (600-800 words) on the story, focusing on one aspect of the story’s technique, or meaning. The essayist may discuss an aspect of characterization, identify an interpretive problem in the story and offer a suggested answer to the problem, comment on setting or point of view, or interpret a crucial moment in the story. Essays are posted to the writer’s blog and read to the class. In the time remaining, the essayist leads a discussion of the story. (N.B.—one excellent way to begin a group discussion is to ask a question to which you don’t have a complete answer yourself, something important about the story you’re still trying to figure out. If you’re not sure whether the main character made the right decision, ask the class. If there’s a scene whose meaning is ambiguous or whose significance is unclear, ask the class.) IMPORTANT: The essayist brings a hard copy of the essay to class for me to write notes on.

3. Commenter—Within 24 hours after class, three members of the class will post written comments on the essayist’s piece. I will be one of these three commenters, often in the form of notes on the hard copy provided me. The other two commenters will write thoughtful, constructive comments on the blog, specifically offering their suggestions for making the essay more specific, more persuasive, or more clearly written. The essayist will then submit a revised version of the essay, both hard copy and turnitin.com, two class sessions after the presentation.

4. Reader—All members of the class not included in the above roles are readers. The reader’s job is to read the story carefully before coming to class, annotating the margins of the textbook with comments about the story. Readers contribute to the day’s discussion by responding to the analyst or essayist or both during class.

All members of the class will post to their blogs once a week, usually a response to one of the stories read during the week. Topics are open, but one good suggestion is to begin with an idea that came up in class and extend it, offering your own thoughts and taking the discussion of the topic a little further. See the course syllabus, section III, for other suggestions. Thus, your individual responsibility will be to read all stories, serve once as an analyst, once as essayist, two or three times as commenter, and post to your own blog weekly (except in the week for which you are an essayist).