Group Essay Assignment Huckleberry Finn



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Group Essay Assignment

Huckleberry Finn
As you read the book Huckleberry Finn, you will notice that five of the main ideas or topics are freedom, religion, superstition, education, and nature. Characterization of Huck and Jim are also very important to the meaning of the novel as a whole.
Your class has been divided up into groups, one group for each of the above-mentioned topics. You will do a prewriting journal relating to the theme you have been assigned, and the journal will lead towards a final essay your group will write using a wiki.


Due Dates

Points

Prewriting (journal) will be checked periodically in class and submitted with the final essay on Feb 13, 14


40

Rough draft due Feb 3, 6


20

Final essay due Feb 13, 14


80

Group participation (self evaluation) due Feb 13, 14


20

PREWRITING (40 pts)

As you read Huckleberry Finn, keep a two-column journal of all the references to your topic that you can find. Review the journal questions and the essay prompts before you start your journal so you know what you’re looking for.
In the left-hand column, write the chapter and page numbers and a brief summary of the reference. In the right-hand column of your journal, write your own thoughts that relate to your topic - consider the topic-specific questions below. The right-hand column will mostly be filled in after you’ve done the reading and initial notes in the left-hand column. (A longer example and the grading rubric are posted on the wiki.)
Sample:

Note-taking

Note-making

Chapter 6, pages 55-57, Huck is kept prisoner by his father

an abusive relationship is a type of bondage

Freedom: Do all of your entries deal with the same kinds of freedom or are there examples of many kinds of freedom/bondage? What different kinds are there? Note which of your examples in your journal support which different aspects of freedom/bondage. After you have grouped them, look at your data for each set. What theme does each set of examples seem to be showing?


Religion: If you look carefully at your journal entries, you will probably see that different characters in the book have different opinions about religion, and through those characters, Twain also gives his opinions. Categorize your data by characters. After you have done so, look at the examples of what each character says or does relating to the topic of religion. Jot down your notes about each character's views on the topic. What do you think Twain's view is (his theme)?
Superstition: Most of the references to superstitions in the book are put forth by Huck and Jim. Group your examples accordingly. Look at your examples, then, for each character. What are Huck's attitudes towards superstitions? What are Jim's? What theme is developed about superstition?
Education: As you look at your examples in your journal, you will probably see that there are two main ideas presented about this topic. Some characters think book learning is more important than practical knowledge from/about life experiences, and some characters think the opposite. Group your data into these two categories. Then make notes about which characters believe schooling is more important and which characters believe practical knowledge from life experiences is more important. What do you think Twain believed (his theme)?
Nature: There is a basic conflict between nature and civilization. Look at your references to nature. What kinds of things happen when the characters are in nature, away from civilization? Then look at your notes about what things happen when the characters are back in "civilization." Judging from this data, what theme do you think Twain was perhaps trying to communicate to us about nature, civilization, and people?
Jim: What kind of person is Jim? How is his character developed through the main methods of characterization (physical description; his own words, thoughts and actions; other characters’ words, thoughts and actions; direct comments by the narrator)? Are there important events or conversations that are especially important in developing Jim’s character? Consider Jim’s role as Huck’s mentor as well. What theme is communicated through this character?
Huck: What kind of person is Huck? How is his character developed through the main methods of characterization (physical description; his own words, thoughts and actions; other characters’ words, thoughts and actions; direct comments by the narrator)? Are there important events or conversations that are especially important in developing Huck’s character? Consider how Huck is influenced by Jim as well. What theme is communicated through this character?

Journal Requirement

Points


Journal has two columns – one for note-taking and one for note-making (student’s own thoughts). Student should go back over the journal repeatedly (during and especially after reading) to add to the note-making column.


10

Every reference to the assigned topic is noted and labeled with chapter and page number.


15

In the note-making column and at the end of the journal, student attempts to explain the development of the topic throughout the novel and its significance to the overall meaning of the novel. This explanation shows thoughtful interpretation, not mere summary, e.g., analyze, explain, connect, compare, infer, integrate, predict, assess, rank, convince, discriminate, support, conclude.


15

Journal will be spot-checked in class. 3 points will be subtracted each time the journal is not up-to-date.




TOTAL/COMMENTS

40

DRAFTING


Freedom: Write an introductory paragraph explaining that there are several different kinds of freedom/bondage shown in the novel Huckleberry Finn. Specify what they are. In the body of your paper, write one paragraph for each of the different types you found. As a format for each paragraph, you could make a statement about the kind of freedom/bondage you will discuss in the paragraph and then use the examples you found in the book to support and explain your statement. After you have completed the paragraphs in the body of your composition, write a concluding paragraph (based on the information you have just presented) explaining what you think Twain intended to point out about the topic of freedom.
Religion: Write an introductory paragraph in which you explain that religion is one of the major topics in the novel Huckleberry Finn and point out that Twain has given the characters in the book definite opinions on the subject through which Twain's own opinions can be heard. In the body of your paper, write one paragraph for each character who has opinions about religion. Write a topic sentence stating who the character is and what his/her opinion of religion seems to be. Use the specific examples you found in the text to support your statements. Then write a concluding paragraph in which you tell what you think Twain's opinion was (his theme), based on the information you have just set forth.
Superstition: Your composition can probably most easily be written as a comparison/contrast essay comparing and contrasting the views Huck and Jim have of superstitions. Write an introductory paragraph in which you introduce the idea that superstition is one of the topics in the novel and that most of the topic is developed through Huck and Jim. State briefly the main way(s) their attitudes towards superstitions are different. In the body of your paper, take (at least) one paragraph to explore Jim's attitudes towards superstitions and (at least) one paragraph to discuss Huck's attitudes about it. Use the specific examples you have gathered to support your statements. Then write a concluding paragraph in which you tell what theme you think Twain was trying to point out through his use of superstition in the book.
Education: Write an introductory paragraph in which you introduce the idea that one of the conflicts in the story is book learning versus practical knowledge from life experiences and that Twain uses his characters to set forth his views on this topic. In the body of your composition, write one paragraph for each character about whom you have collected data. Write a topic sentence telling that character's views about education and then use examples from the text you have collected to support your statement. In your concluding paragraph, tell what you think Twain's point (theme) was about education, based on the information you have just compiled.
Nature: Write an introductory paragraph in which you introduce the idea that nature versus civilization is one of the main conflicts in Huckleberry Finn. Write one paragraph in which you detail what kinds of events take place in nature in the story and then one paragraph in which you detail what kinds of things happen in civilization. In your concluding paragraph, explain what you think Twain was trying to tell us (theme) through the actions of his characters.
Jim: Write a character analysis of Jim. The introductory paragraph should summarize at least three character traits, and each body paragraph should focus on one of those traits. In each body paragraph, give examples of how those traits are developed in the novel, including a discussion of the method of characterization used. Your conclusion should explain what Twain was trying to communicate (theme) by creating Jim’s character.
Huck: Write a character analysis of Huck. The introductory paragraph should summarize at least three character traits, and each body paragraph should focus on one of those traits. In each body paragraph, give examples of how those traits are developed in the novel, including a discussion of the method of characterization used. Your conclusion should explain what Twain was trying to communicate (theme) by creating Huck’s character.
GROUP PARTICIPATION

After rough drafts are due, you’ll be expected to give feedback to the other groups. Try to be constructive and specific, and use the prompts (above) and the rubric as a guide.


Your participation will be graded based on your activity on the wiki and on the self-evaluation form you will fill out. Be sure I can see your contributions on the wiki - in other words, don't have one person in your group do all the typing, or it will look like they're the only one who wrote the essay. Your constructive feedback to other groups will also count towards your group participation grade.

Self-Evaluation Form
The final grade for your essay will be a combination of:

  1. The grade you give yourself and others in your group

  2. Your teacher’s grade for you



  1. Quality of the final product – explain why you gave your product this grade. Use the project rubric as a guide.




A

B

C

D

F

  1. List yourself and other members in our group and grade each individual effort. State specifically what each contributed and justify the grade.

    1. (name)




A

B

C

D

F

    1. (name)




A

B

C

D

F

    1. (name)




A

B

C

D

F

    1. (name)




A

B

C

D

F

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Holistic Grading Descriptions for Final Essays




Description

Score

These essays offer a well-focused and persuasive analysis of how your topic functions to communicate a theme of the novel. Using apt and specific textual support, the essays fully explore the topic and its significance. Although not without flaws, these essays make a strong case for their interpretation and discuss the literary work with insight and understanding.


A

72-80


These essays offer a reasonable analysis of how your topic functions to reveal theme in the novel. The essays explore the topic and demonstrate its significance. While the responses show insight and understanding, their analysis is less thorough, less perceptive, and/or less specific in supporting detail than that of the essays in the A range.


B

64-71


These essays respond to the assigned task with a plausible reading, but they tend to be superficial or underdeveloped in analysis. They often rely upon plot summary that contains some analysis, implicit or explicit. Although students attempt to discuss the topic’s significance and how it functions to reveal theme, they may demonstrate a rather simplistic understanding of the work. Typically, these essays reveal unsophisticated thinking and development. They demonstrate adequate control of language but may lack effective organization and be marred by surface errors.


C

56-63


These lower-half essays offer a less than thorough understanding of the task or a less than adequate treatment of it. They reflect an incomplete or oversimplified understanding of the work, or they may fail to establish the relationship between the topic and the work’s theme. The essays may not address or develop the topic’s significance, or they may rely on plot summary alone. Their assertions may be unsupported or even irrelevant. Sometimes wordy or repetitious, these essays may lack control over the elements of composition. Essays scored a D- may reflect serious misreading and demonstrate incompetent writing.


D

48-55


Although these essays make some attempt to respond to the prompt, they compound the weaknesses of essays in the 4–3 range. Often, they are unacceptably brief or are incoherent in presenting their ideas. They may be poorly written on several counts and contain distracting errors in grammar and mechanics. Remarks are presented with little clarity, organization, or supporting evidence.


F

0-47


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