Writing Exercises from the Humanities Core Course off the State of California Recommended Literature List

 
Author and Title from Recommended Literature List California Content Standards Area (Provisional)  S.P.I.D.E.R. Humanities Core Course Essay Assignments and In-Class Exercises (Unedited)
Brecht, Bertholt
The Threepenny Opera
Coming Soon Problem Based Learning
Conrad, Joseph
Heart of Darkness
Grades 9-10 Reading 
(3.12) "Analyze the way in which a work of literature is related to the themes and issues of its historical period."

Grades 9-10 Writing
(2.3.a) "Marshall evidence in support of a thesis and related claims, including information on all relevant positions."
(2.3.b) "Convey information from primary and secondary sources accurately and coherently."

Grades 11-12 Reading 
(2.2.4) "Make warranted and reasonable assertions about the author's arguments by using elements of the text to defend and clarify positions."
(2.2.5) "Analyze an author's implicit and explicit philosophical assumptions and beliefs about a subject."

Grades 11-12 Writing
(2.2.c) "Support important ideas and viewpoints through accurate and detailed references to the text and other works."

Link to History Standards

Evaluation
Thesis from a History Professor
Sample Exercise
Exercise (with "The White Man's Burden")
Suggestions for Teaching (with Conrad)
Sample Exercise
Model for Counterargument I
Model for Counterargument II
Thesis Review Exercise
Text and Context: Background Information for Heart of Darkness
Revision Tips from the IRC Workshop
Defoe, Daniel
Robinson Crusoe
Grades 9-10 Reading 
(3.12) "Analyze the way in which a work of literature is related to the themes and issues of its historical period."

Grades 9-10 Writing
(2.3.a) "Marshall evidence in support of a thesis and related claims, including information on all relevant positions."
(2.3.b) "Convey information from primary and secondary sources accurately and coherently."

Grades 11-12 Reading
(3.7.c) "Evaluate the philosophical, political, religious, ethical, and social influences of the historical period that shaped the characters, plot, and setting."

Grades 11-12  Writing
(2.4.b) "Analyze several historical records of a single event, examining critical relationships between elements of the research topic." 
(2.4.c) "Explain the perceived reason or reasons for the similarities and differences in historical records with  information derived from primary and secondary sources to support or enhance the presentation."
(2.4.d) "Include information from all relevant perspectives and take into consideration the validity and reliability of sources."
(2.4.e) "Include a formal bibliography."

Link to History Standards


Documentary Research
Thesis from a Literature Professor
Thesis from a History Professor
Suggestions for Teaching Robinson Crusoe 
Suggestions for Teaching Robinson Crusoe II
Douglass, Frederick
Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass
Grades 9-10 Reading
(3.6) "Analyze and trace an author's development of time and sequence, including the use of complex literary devices (e.g. foreshadowing, flashbacks).
(3.6) "Recognize and understand the significance of various literary devices, including figurative language, imagery, allegory, and symbolism, and explain their appeal." 

Grades 9-10 Writing 
(2.2.c) "Demonstrate an awareness of the author's use of stylistic devices and an appreciation of the effects created."

Grades 11-12 Reading
(3.5.c) "Evaluate the philosophical, political, religious, ethical, and social influences of the historical period that shaped the characters, plot, and setting."

Grades 11-12 Writing
(2.2.d) "Demonstrate an awareness of the author's use of stylistic devices and an appreciation of the effects created."
 

Rhetorical Analysis
Thesis from a Literature Professor
Essay Prompt
Pre-Writing Grid #1
Pre-Writing Grid #2
Sample Exercise
Alternative Exercise
Alternative Exercise
Sample Rhetorical Analysis Essay
Teaching the Rhetorical "Scene"
Teaching Tropes with Rhetorical Analysis
Six Strategies for Thesis Development for the Rhetorical Analysis Assignment
Emecheta, Buchi
Second-Class Citizen
Grades 9-10 Reading 
(3.12) "Analyze the way in which a work of literature is related to the themes and issues of its historical period."

Grades 9-10 Writing
(2.3.a) "Marshall evidence in support of a thesis and related claims, including information on all relevant positions."
(2.3.b) "Convey information from primary and secondary sources accurately and coherently."

Grades 11-12 Reading
(3.7.c) "Evaluate the philosophical, political, religious, ethical, and social influences of the historical period that shaped the characters, plot, and setting."

Grades 11-12  Writing 
(2.2.c) "Support important ideas and viewpoints through accurate and detailed references to the text and other works."

Link to History Standards

Application/Comparison and Contrast
Thesis from a History Professor
Essay Prompt I
Essay Prompt II
Pre-Writing Grid #1
Pre-Writing Grid #2
Suggestions for Teaching (with Emecheta)
Text and Context: Background Information for Second Class Citizen
Comparing Emecheta and Conrad with Titles
Comparing Emecheta and Conrad with Titles: The Memo Approach
Comparing Emecheta and Conrad: In-Class Exercise
Comparing Emecheta and Conrad: Irony as a Master Trope
Sample Exercise (with Emecheta and Conrad)
Suggestions for Teaching I (with Emecheta and Conrad)
Suggestions for Teaching II (with Emecheta and Conrad)
Suggestions for Teaching III (with Emecheta and Conrad)
Sample Application Essay
Homer
The Odyssey
Grades 9-10 Reading
(3.9) "Explain how voice, persona, and the choice of a narrator affect characterization and the tone, plot, and credibility of a text." 

Grades 9-10 Writing
(2.2.b) "Support important ideas and viewpoints through accurate and detailed references to the text and other works."

Grades 11-12 Reading
(3.1) "Analyze characteristics of subgenres"

Grades 11-12  Writing 
(2.2.b) "Analyze the use of imagery, language, universal themes, and unique aspects of the text."

Textual Analysis
Thesis from a Literature Professor
Essay Prompt
"Cultural Contact" List
Pre-Writing Grid
Background Sheet on The Odyssey
Sample Handout on The Odyssey
Heroic Epithets Quiz
An Oral-Formulaic Exercise
Sample Exercise
Alternative Exercise I
Alternative Exercise II
Alternative Exercise III
Alternative Exercise IV
Alternative Exercise V
Alternative Exercise VI
Alternative Exercise VII
Alternative Exercise VIII
Suggestions for Teaching I (with Homer)
Suggestions for Teaching II 
Sample Reading Notes (with Homer)
A Sample Textual Analysis by a Student
Sample Exercise (with Homer)
Suggestions for Teaching (with Homer)
Melville, Herman
Billy Budd
Grades 9-10 Reading
(3.8) "Interpret and evaluate the impact of ambiguities, subtleties, contradictions, ironies, and incongruities in a text."

Grades 9-10 Writing 
(2.4.c) "Clarify and defend positions with precise and relevant evidence including facts, expert opinions, quotations, and expressions of commonly held beliefs and logical reasoning 
(2.4.d) "Address readers concerns, counterclaims, biases, and expectations."

Grades 11-12 Reading
(2.6) "Critique the power, validity, and truthfulness of arguments set forth in public documents; their appeal to both friendly and hostile audiences; and the extent to which the arguments address reader concerns and counterclaims"

Grades 11-12 Writing
(2.2.e) "Identify and asses the impact of perceived nuances, ambiguities, and complexities within a text."
 

Counterargument
Thesis from a Literature Professor
Teaching Suggestions for Billy Budd from Brook Thomas
Counterargument Exercise from Lecturing Professor Brook Thomas
Billy Budd Lecture 2 notes
Billy Budd Reading Questions
In-Class Counterargument Exercise I
An In-Class Counterargument Exercise II
An In-Class Counterargument Exercise III
An In-Class Counterargument Exercise IV
Miller, Arthur
The Crucible
Grades 9-10 Reading 
(3.12) "Analyze the way in which a work of literature is related to the themes and issues of its historical period."

Grades 9-10 Writing
(2.3.a) "Marshall evidence in support of a thesis and related claims, including information on all relevant positions."
(2.3.b) "Convey information from primary and secondary sources accurately and coherently."

Grades 11-12 Reading
(3.7.c) "Evaluate the philosophical, political, religious, ethical, and social influences of the historical period that shaped the characters, plot, and setting."

Grades 11-12  Writing 
2.4 Historical Investigation Reports 
(2.4.b) "Analyze several historical records of a single event, examining critical relationships between elements of the research topic." 
(2.4.c) "Explain the perceived reason or reasons for the similarities and differences in historical records with  information derived from primary and secondary sources to support or enhance the presentation."
(2.4.d) "Include information from all relevant perspectives and take into consideration the validity and reliability of sources."
(2.4.e) "Include a formal bibliography."

Link to History Standards

Causal Analysis
Shakespeare, William
The Tempest
Grades 9-10 Reading 
(3.8) "Interpret and evaluate the impact of ambiguities, subtleties, contradictions, ironies, and incongruities in a text."
(3.10)"Identify and describe the function of dialogue, scene designs, soliliquies, asides, and character foils in dramatic literature.

Grades 9-10 Writing
(2.2.d) "Identify and asses the impact of perceived nuances, ambiguities, and complexities within a text

Grades 11-12 Reading
(3.7.b) "Relate literary works and authors to the major themes and issues of their eras."

Grades 11-12 Writing
(2.2.e) "Identify and asses the impact of perceived nuances, ambiguities, and complexities within a text."

Textual Explication
Thesis from a Literature Professor
Essay Prompt
Pre-Writing Grid
The "Silent Debate"
Suggestions for Teaching I
Suggestions for Teaching II 
Alternative Exercise I 
Alternative Exercise II 
Alternative Exercise III 
Alternative Exercise IV
Alternative Exercise V
Alternative Exercise VI 
Alternative Exercise VII 
Sample Textual Explication  from a Student
Sophocles
Antigone
Grades 9-10 Reading
(3.3) "Analyze interactions between main and subordinate characters . . . and explain the way those interactions affect the plot."

Grades 9-10 Writing
(2.3.c) "Make distinctions between the relative value and significance of specific data, facts, and ideas."

Grades 11-12 Reading
(3.9) "Analyze the philosophical arguments presented in literary works to determine whether the authors' positions have contributed to the quality of each work and the credibility of the characters."

Grades 11-12  Writing 
(2.2.c) "Support important ideas and viewpoints through accurate and detailed references to the text and other works."

Argument of Definition
Essay Prompt
Pre-Writing Grid
An In-Class Exercise from Course Director Gail Hart
An In-Class Exercise on presenting speeches as formalized arguments
Suggestions for choosing a term for Essay One
Antigone Reading Questions
Philological Information About Antigone
More Philological Information About Antigone
"Rights" in Antigone
Suggestions for Teaching Definition