We decided that next year we’re going to rework our planning — the literary analysis papers will cover short stories rather then poetry. We’ll also give the students more choice when it comes to writing that paper. When it comes to the research paper, we’re going to do the multigenre paper, and we’ll only require that a certain segment of the paper follow the rules of MLA — making this a research essay instead of a research paper. This will allow for a variety of topics, and will likely bring the students clsoer to their writing, as they’ll worry about a topic where they’re the providers of information, and that any specific information will come from secondary sources.
For the past three years I’ve had my students focus their research on the Holocaust, and I think that’s an undeniably important topic — they’re so far removed from those events that doing the research brings them closer to their own history (whether they know it or not), and it’s a topic that should never be forgotten. I’ll not give up on the Holocaust topic (and I’ll likely use it as a stepping stone for this new, more personal version of the research paper), because I just can’t; it’s part of who I am.
There’s much to wrestle with before we get to that point next year, but right now I’m looking upon it all with a smile. I’m happy with this new direction, and I think it will breathe some fresh air into the students halfway through the year. I think the paper we grade earlier in the year will be better suited to the fact the students have never done an analysis of an author’s style. I think we’re making great strides by planning this out today, rather than waiting another year.
We’ve also got some wonderful ideas up our sleeves about the coming summer school session, and I can’t even begin to explain how excited I am about the new class I’m taking on next year. But that’s all for another post.