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Studies in Literary Perspectives: Performance Task


In the final five weeks of class, the class will take part in a multi-part exercise that includes group and individual components.  First, the class will brainstorm themes with relevance in the world today. Then students will develop guiding questions based on those themes.  For example, how does the fear of war shape a culture? Or how do social expectations influence individual identities? The class will split up into small groups of three to four people to research and finalize a particular question.  Each group will then develop a proposal suggesting literary works that the members of the group will read and analyze individually, create a research annotated bibliography that examines the question from several angles, and give a presentation to a larger audience that gives context to the question and demonstrates various literary perspectives that explore different angles.  Each member of each group will write a final reflective essay commenting on the process as a whole.


Students will work in groups of four students to explore a chosen theme that is relevant in the world today.  They will develop guiding questions and choose a variety of literary texts (short stories, poems, or short essays) exploring various angles on the theme.  The group will then conduct research considering the factors that contribute to the context of the works (time period, author’s biographical experience, etc.)  Collectively, the group will create a proposal for the project that incorporates the designated theme, the authors and works chosen, and how each work or author provides a different perspective on the theme.  Each group member will contribute a paragraph that explains the general relationship between the work or works and the theme. Each group member will also contribute two worthy sources that explore the relevance of the theme to modern society.  The sources will be listed in an annotated bibliography using MLA citations, including a brief evaluation of how each source contributes to an understanding of the theme.


Students will create individual 3-4 page papers analyzing the texts that they have chosen to explore, thereby contributing to a broader understanding of the theme.  How does the work address and present the theme? What is its perspective? Students with shorter texts may wish to consult more than one poem or short story written by an author.  The paper should consist of a close reading of the work as well as consideration of external contextual information drawn from 2-3 outside sources. The paper should use parenthetical citations and include an annotated bibliography in MLA format which describes each source’s content, relevance to the project, and credibility.  Students will present their papers to the group so that the members of the group gain a more rounded perspective of the theme prior to creating the larger class presentation.


Finally, the groups will use each member's findings to create a presentation which will be presented to a panel of peers as well as the instructor and/or an outside assessor.  Each group will consider the research and analyses from individual team members and draw conclusions and findings on how the theme is addressed from multiple perspectives. The groups will develop an 8-10 minute presentation and deliver it to an audience using appropriate media. The presentation should consider audience, context, and purpose and should reflect each individual’s research and analysis, as well as the collective’s conclusions.  Please be sure to identify and address passages and resources that helped to enlighten your current position on the theme, being sure to cite passages directly. Following the presentation, each member of the team will respond to one question posed by peers from other groups and the instructor or guest evaluator.


Project Weights

Performance Task:  15% of semester grade



Project weights:

                       --25%  Group proposal, including relevant research and annotated bibliography,

and rationale for individual literary texts

                       --50% Individual analysis of literary text, including annotated bibliography

                       --25% Presentation and reflection