rank Waln Pages 142-147
American Like Me: Weekly Journal
Overview and Purpose:
The purpose of the American Like Me journal is to foster students’ ability to make connections among various texts, to build a solid connection between reading and writing, with the emphasis of understanding texts, and to practice using the MLA citation method for documenting basic, fundamental research tasks.
The American Like Me weekly journal is actually a broader term we are using to describe many small writing assignments. Throughout the semester, you will be required to submit journals by the assigned due dates. Each entry has three components: (1) MLA citation, (2) a summary of the chapter, and (3) your reflection on the chapter. Each entry should be a minimum of 500 words (more is fine, less is not). Let’s break this down.
You should begin each journal entry with an MLA citation for the chapter to which you are reading and responding as though you were writing a Works Cited entry. Each chapter is considered a work within an anthology, so you use should the appropriate MLA citation (see Little Seagull Handbook, page 144, no. 19).
For each chapter you read, you will need to include a summary. Your goal should be approximately 250 words in length (about half of the total word count). As with any summary, your goal is to highlight the major plot points and arc of the chapter, not to repeat all of the story’s minor points. It can be difficult to write a good summary when we do not see the difference between major plot points and minor details. To aid you in discerning the difference, you want to give yourself time to digest the chapter sufficiently: you may need to read it more than once. You can ask yourself: if I do (or do not) include this point, would the reader of my summary be able to understand the overall message of the chapter? This will help you start to hone in on the major points to cover.
In the reflection section of your journal, your goal is to focus on articulating the major take away’s from the chapter. You might consider thinking about what message the writer is attempting to convey or what their purpose was in writing the piece. These chapters are stories, not argumentative essays, so figuring out the writers’ purposes and messages are not as simple as locating a thesis statement, topic sentences, or evidence. Instead, you will want to try to put yourself into the author’s frame of mind and use your understanding of the writing context to guide you.
You will also want to reflect on what you’re taking away from the reading the article personally. Below are a few questions to give you an idea of the breadth of responses you may explore:
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