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I am quite excited about this assignment! After giving it more big picture thinking I have
decided to expand my idea of a writing assignment for the study of American setting to
run for the remainder of the school year. I assigned a group project in January that was
an assessment of goals (formative) and it indicated that students were certainly not
analyzing literature and writing and speaking about it in the way that I was working to
achieve. At first I thought that this isolated project in redesign was what I wanted to
submit for my WAD, but now I see that a better project, for the benefit of my class and
this assignment, would be to carry these writing assignments through the remaining
American literature my classes will be reading this year: Old Man and the Sea, The
Great Gatsby, and The Chosen. Each of these will be analyzed with setting in mind and
I also plan to include student feedback on how this does or does not help their writing
I am concerned that students will feel forced into seeing what I want them to see with
setting. I want to be careful to leave them the space to discover what is true about
setting in these books. Students in grades 11/12 resent too much informing and not
enough asking and listening in the class room. I want to avoid feedback that includes, I
feel like you are looking for us to say something specific that we are not saying and
hear more, Hey! I just thought of something! I want to be sure that students are truly

connecting with the pieces they are studying, seeing why it is a classic without simply
being told that it is. I believe that this assignment is an integral part of this because
American literature was specifically sought and written to include our unique landscape
and give books an undeniable tie to the American soil that cannot be transplanted to any
other part of the globe. As American built its identity it wrote it as well. This is my hope
for students on these writing assignments.

(Handout for Students)

Overview: The remainder of this course will be spent looking at a final three American
novels: Old Man and the Sea, The Great Gatsby, and The Chosen. We have been
analyzing American literature throughout the year and more recently have been looking
at the importance of setting.
Because American was still discovering who she was as a nation, literature was tied
strongly to the landscape of American soil. As we saw in O Pioneers! we will continue to
consider whether or not the author uses setting to determine or drive the plot,
characterization, literary devices and themes of the books we read.

Assignment: For each of the next three books you will write a 2-page paper on these
four elements and how they are or are not driven by the setting of the book. Specific
examples from the book will be used and cited in MLA format and group writing
workshops will be used for peer review and feedback, leading to helpful revision and a
polished entry for each book.
At the end of the year, these three entries will be summarized in a 1-page analyzation of
what the student found to be true of setting in these three American works. They will be
briefly compared and a statement should be made concerning which of the four
elements the student believes is the most significant.

Content (is the writing well-supported with cited passages from the books?)


Style (is the analytical piece addressing rising high school students?)


Citations (is the argument well-supported? is MLA style used properly?)


Introduction (is the opening of the argument clear and organized in a logical way?)
Conclusion (is the closing of the argument bringing all issues to a resolution and
avoiding new arguments?)


Due Dates:
Analyzing and Argument Piece #1


Analyzing and Argument Piece #2


Analyzing and Argument Piece #3


Final Analyzing and Argument Piece


WAD Design

I chose this design to help bring student along in their ability to write, speak and argue in
a meaningful way about the American novel. Lectures, group activities and discussion
have all fostered a general education of the vital components of American literature.
While students seem to have a vague idea of the most important elements of American
works I see that a more intentional approach, in writing especially, needs to take place.
In preparation for college writing students should be well-versed in these discourses and
comfortable, not just adequate, in their execution.
I chose the succession of writing 2-page assignments, culminating in a 1-page
argument piece as a low-stakes, high-impact approach. Students are also working on
their term papers at this time, so I wanted to be sure to give a series of assignments that
created structure for the course and built on each other but that didnt burden the
student with hours of work, while still accomplishing the end goal of understanding the
importance of setting to the American novel.
This literary analysis and argumentation on American literature is highly important for
several reasons. First, and foremost, it helps students understand what it is to be human
(as they look at the elements of literature) and what it is to be an American as a part of
the human experience. Secondly, students will be more prepared for college literature
courses and testing in which they will need to be able to write and speak about the

American experience, history and academia. The study of literature inevitably overlaps
history, improves writing ability and, in this assignment format, will also improve
students ability to use logic to reach their conclusions.
The audience for students will be rising high school students (grades 9-10). These
literary analysis pieces and arguments will be clear and well-supported but at the same
time also demonstrate scholarly terminology gained in the course and cross-referencing
of works as well.
The majority of the work on these 4 assignments will take place in-class, a course that
meets two days weekly, 90 minutes per meeting in a classroom environment. Before this
assignment lectures, group work (reading, discussion, note taking and presentation),
board work, journaling, daybooking and class discussion had all been used to attempt a
clear understanding of the importance of setting to the American novel. A summative
group assignment asking students to determine whether or not O Pioneers! could be
transported to Africa or Spain showed that the importance of setting had not yet
solidified in the minds of students. Writing and speaking about the topic proved
insubstantially supported and many students seemed confused as to why we were
exploring the idea of transporting the novel at all. About 50% of the students understood
the weight and properly deduced with well-supported arguments, that American

literature cannot be relocated or the very identity of the piece in the literary landscape is
lost. This piece should build the students knowledge of literary interpretation
(American Literature Syllabus for the course). They will develop their ability to think and
write about literature and compile and edit literary writing (Syllabus). Personally, I
hope to make reading American literature a more enjoyable endeavor for students
because they have learned to think about the content in a way that is translatable into an
impacting message for their lives today. Applicable content instead of only stories on