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ENG5A: American Literature 1620-1865 (Hooper)   Tags: american_literature, bradstreet, emerson, jacobs, poe  

Last Updated: Nov 2, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Great Minds Seminar

Great Minds Seminar

Anne Bradstreet Harriet Jacobs Edgar Allan Poe Ralph Waldo Emerson
Anne Bradstreet
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Harriet Jacobs
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Edgar Allan Poe
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Source: Wikimedia Commons


We hold Great Minds Seminars during four class times:

·         Anne Bradstreet, poems, Wednesday, September 23 (note date change from syllabus)

·         Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Monday, October 12

·         Edgar Allen Poe, “The Tell-Tale Heart” and poems, Monday, November 2

·         Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Nature,” Monday, November 23

On September 9, you will sign up for, or be signed up for, the seminar you will be presenting and facilitating as a panelist. The other seminars will require your audience participation and peer response.

Seminar Discussion

During the seminars, panelists will have two minutes each to respond to the following question: “From your research, what do we need to know before starting the seminar?” (15 minutes)

Next, panelists will engage directly with the literature through conversation and inquiry with each other while the class listens. If more than one work is read, such as with Bradstreet or Poe, panelists will choose one or two works for discussion before opening to the class. (15-20+ mins)

Last, panel is opened to a full class discussion in which we all add our insights and inquiries. Specific inquiries may be directed to the panelists. Teacher may provide new literature to be analyzed on the spot.



·         a one-sided, one page handout for the class, 21 copies (due on day of panel, 40 points)

·         annotations of two outside readings from list provided, follow annotation directions on backside (40 points, due the next class time)

·         a two page typed reflection of your strongest insights and experiences with the literature, primary and secondary, and as a panelist (40 points, due the next class time)

·         conducting of panel with active participation, listening and interaction; success of panel as a whole is considered (40 points)

Audience Participants

·         During the three class times you are not a panelist but a participant, you will be asked to listen and add insights and inquiries to the discussion. You will also be asked to provide peer response one or more times (45 points total for three seminars)

NOTE: After our first panel, we will reflect together and may make some minor adjustments to this assignment if needed.

For all assignments, use proper MLA formatting when necessary and type using a 12 point Times New Roman Font and double-spacing.

Directions for Annotation of Two Outside Researched Readings

Our campus librarian is working with me to build a bank of outside readings to support your exploration into the author and literature. These readings can be found on our library English 5A page. Make an effort to divide the readings among your group, though some doubling-up may occur. You must annotate at least one of the two readings from the bank provided. It is not required, but if you would like to find a second work on your own rather than use the bank of readings, you may and please be sure to cite the new work properly.

Annotations for the researched outside readings will include a half page summary of the reading, then three quotes from the reading followed by your thoughts, insights, inquiries and/or connections. You must do this for each of the two readings

Directions for Reflection

After the panel, you will have a chance to type up your insights. Consider the following questions to help with your reflection and as fuel for thought:  How did you experience preparing for the panel? How did the panel go? What surprised you? What did you learn? What was gained? What was missing? What are your strengths and areas for growth? This reflection should be at least two to three  typed pages.


Directions for Handout

Handouts should be accessible and clear and not too text-heavy. Consider including background information, resources, explications, quotes, outlines, time lines and/or pictures.


Suggestions for Group Work

·         If you are on a Bradstreet or Poe panel, your group will need to let me know the class time before which readings to assign for the class

·         You will need to divide the outside readings among yourselves. Make sure that you are not all reading the exact same things, though some doubling up may occur.

·         Panels do not have to be rehearsed or perfected, but you should meet to let others know you and the perspective you are bringing. Panels need to have variety of insight.


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