CATE 2019 Texts

Session D-01
Templates, Templates, Templates: Re-imagining Your Own Template for Teaching Literary Texts

  • Jennifer Fletcher, Professor of English, California State University, Monterey Bay, Seaside
  • John Edlund, Professor of Rhetoric and Composition, Cal Poly Pomona, Pomona

The standard ERWC assignment template was not designed with literary texts in mind. The presenters will discuss changes and adaptations they have made to the standard template when writing literary modules. Participants will discuss their own practices and begin constructing their own ERWC-inspired templates for teaching literary texts. Everyone will come away with new ideas about learning goals, previewing texts, framing different kinds of readings, close reading techniques, and culminating projects.

CATE 2019-Session PowerPoint

John’s Handouts and Texts

Flexible Module Planner–This is a list of questions for planning a teaching module.  It is designed to help a teacher address problems, sequence teaching goals, and position relevant activities.  This is introduced in the blog post, “Transfer and the ERWC Template.”

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions–A blog post that discusses a list of important concepts in ERWC (and teaching in general) that we often talk about in isolation though they overlap, interact, and sometimes contradict. For each one, success is about hitting the sweet spot for students, but those sweet spots can be different for different students even in the same classroom.

Teaching a Literary Text–This was mostly created by my colleague Aaron DeRosa, who teaches American literature at Cal Poly Pomona.  I formatted his comments to make them more template-like.  The relevant blog post is here.

Aristotle’s Poetics Chart–This is a series of questions to help students analyze a literary work in terms of Aristotle’s categories: plot, character, thought, diction, song, and spectacle.  The relevant blog post, which contains an image of a simplified version of this chart that might also be useful, is here.

A Reader-Response Approach to Poetry–This is a mini-module built around Tracy K. Smith’s poem “Declaration.” Other poems could easily be substituted.  It takes students through a process of moving from a personal quick take on a poem, through a negotiation of meaning through discussion with peers, toward a consensus interpretation.  This process is designed to help students feel confident enjoying poetry. The relevant blog post is here.

Poetry Exercise for Rosenblatt–This is a six-step activity that tests Rosenblatt’s assertion that each reader creates a new poem.  Students enjoy it quite a bit.  It is related to the mini-module described above, but can be done as a stand-alone.

Posts on The Great GatsbyUpdated Gatsby Module (a full student version of the module), Literary Devices in Gatsby, and Using Gatsby to Teach Inference.

Jennifer’s Handouts and Texts

Descriptive Plot Outlining Directions

Descriptive Plot Outline Example from “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”


Poems for Discussion

Art & Craft by Robin Coste Lewis

The United States Welcomes You by Tracy K. Smith

The Universe as Primal Scream by Tracy K. Smith

Gradual Release of Responsibility

Effective Use of the Gradual Release of Responsibility Model–A short article by Douglas Fisher.

Gradual Release of Responsibility–A video presentation by Douglas Fisher.  In this talk he argues that Gradual Release does not necessarily mean that the teacher has to move in one direction through I do, we do, you do together, you do, but that each mode should be engaged each class meeting.  This is a very different claim from the earlier work.

Using Kenneth Burke and Implementing Gradual Release of Responsibility–This post begins to build a mini-module around a short article I wrote about using Kenneth Burke’s pentad: Act, Agent, Scene, Agency, Purpose.