Lesson Plans

Sample Lesson Plan for Literature in Translation

Living with an Author and a Translator

Adapted from Curtis Bauer, The Common’s Translation Editor, and Director of Creative Writing Program and teacher of Comparative Literature at Texas Tech University.

In this exercise you will explore the multidimensionality of a poem, essay, or story by “living with” the author and translator: reading and thinking about their work every day for a week. This is a multi-step assignment so read carefully and make sure you plan in advance.

 

Whitney BrunoSample Lesson Plan for Literature in Translation
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Sample Lesson Plan for World Literature: Arabic Literature in Translation

World Literature: Arabic Literature in Translation

Using Issue 11: Tajdeed

Adapted from Marilyn Sides, Senior Lecturer and Director of Creative Writing, in the Department of English and Creative Writing, Wellesley College

1) Read: Mohammed Rabie’s “Burdens,” Muhammad Khudayyir’s “The Hush Void,” and Mahmoud al-Rahabi’s “The Passing Carts,” as well as the “Contributor Notes” for these authors and their translators.

Julia PikeSample Lesson Plan for World Literature: Arabic Literature in Translation
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Sample Lesson Plan for Writing & Publishing: Encountering the Literary Journal

Discussion Questions:

What is your first encounter with this magazine, as an object?

What do you think about the physical and aesthetic features of the magazine: the weight, the paper stock, the cover, the cover art, the font? What, if anything, would you change?

How do you read it? In order? Piecemeal? How do you think this affects your reaction to the magazine?

How do pieces (poems, essays, stories, images) relate to each other? What is the effect of their placements on you as a reader?

Julia PikeSample Lesson Plan for Writing & Publishing: Encountering the Literary Journal
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Sample Lesson Plan: Exploring Place through Literary Homage

Asking students to create homages to several of the works in The Common Issues 01 and 07 promotes a further exploration of the city in which they live. In fact, it requires it of them.

In Issue 01 of The Common, Ted Conover delivers an immersion essay in which he delves into the past and present of a nearly forgotten road near his home in New England. The first prompt of the semester, therefore, compels the students to write their own Conover-esque immersion essay by walking/exploring a street, building, or landmark in their city or town, seeking out written resources on this place, and gathering up the courage to probe living memory. The second prompt, handed out several months later, encourages them to become creative with what they have so far discovered in their town or city by selecting the works that most interested them inThe Common and emulating these.

Julia PikeSample Lesson Plan: Exploring Place through Literary Homage
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Sample Lesson Plan for Personal Essay: Developing Voice, Exploring Roots

Assignment:

Using these two essays from The Common as inspiration, bring your completely current voice to an exploration of history; write a concise personal essay exploring your personal history or the history of a place.

Coastlines” by Teow Lim Goh (may also be presented in conjunction with other California authors: Fante, Didion, Jeffers, Hong Kingston, Mori, Himes, etc.)

The Teak House” by Lamtharn Hantrakul

Julia PikeSample Lesson Plan for Personal Essay: Developing Voice, Exploring Roots
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Sample Lesson Plan for Creative Nonfiction: The Personal Essay

Assignment:

Choose an essay from The Common and prepare and deliver an oral report in class on the piece, focusing on an aspect of craft: research, voice, style, place, point of view, and the development of the “I” character, as well as characterization of other characters in the piece.

Adapted from Rebecca Chace, Director of Creative Writing, Fairleigh Dickinson University
 

« Teach The Common

Julia PikeSample Lesson Plan for Creative Nonfiction: The Personal Essay
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Sample Lesson Plans for Literature and Creative Writing Courses

Group Assignment & Student-led Exercise: Divide students into small groups (trios work well) and give them a week to:

  1. Meet together outside of class with their copies of The Common in hand;
  2. Select, as a group, a poem they particularly like,
  3. Prepare to read that poem aloud to the class, and
  4. Design and lead an in-class writing exercise for their classmates and teacher that is inspired by a technique or aspect of that poem.
Julia PikeSample Lesson Plans for Literature and Creative Writing Courses
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Sample Lesson Plan for a Graduate Level Practicum

Assignment: Report on 2 Issues of The Common; select and discuss various, particular elements of the literary journal. 6 pages (1,800 words) minimum.
You will select and discuss 6 items, one from each of the categories below. You must write about at least one item from each issue. Choose from among:

The Common Statement
 Fiction
 Essays
 Art
Poetry
Elsewhere (Bombay/Mumbai, New Poems from China, etc.)

Julia PikeSample Lesson Plan for a Graduate Level Practicum
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Sample Lesson Plans for Undergraduate Advanced Poetry

Group Assignment & Student-led Exercise: Divide students into small groups (trios work well) and give them a week to:

  1. Meet together outside of class with their copies of The Common in hand;
  2. Select, as a group, a poem they particularly like,
  3. Prepare to read that poem aloud to the class, and
  4. Design and lead an in-class writing exercise for their classmates and teacher that is inspired by a technique or aspect of that poem.
Julia PikeSample Lesson Plans for Undergraduate Advanced Poetry
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Sample Lesson Plan for a First-Year Seminar

First Year Seminar: The Short Story at Home and Abroad

Adapted from Martha Cooley, Associate Professor of English, Adelphi University

Propose a new literary magazine:

  1. Imagine a literary magazine (or journal, or review—use whichever term you prefer) that YOU would like to read on a regular basis.
  2. Remember that a literary magazine values good writing and good thinking.  Its purpose is not commercial or professional; its purpose is to showcase new, high-quality writing.
  3. Now pretend you’ll be the magazine’s founder and editor-in-chief. As such, you need to develop a “pitch”—that is, a brief, compelling description of the publication that you can offer to people who might be willing to help you make it happen.
  4. What will you say to them when they ask, “What are your hopes and goals for this publication?”
  5. Naturally, you’ll say that the quality of the writing will have to be consistently excellent—otherwise, why bother?  Beyond this essential requirement, think about what you would you like your new literary magazine to contain.
Willa JarnaginSample Lesson Plan for a First-Year Seminar
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