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Artifacts and Fiction - Workshop in American Literature
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Home > Session Guides > 2: Political History

2. Political History Session Guide Related Materials
Item #9250
serial: #9250
Anonymous, MINING LAWS, RULES AND REGULATIONS OF VALLECITO CAMP, CALABERAS COUNTY, CALIFORNIA (1858) Courtesy of Grabhorn Press.




Introduction
This workshop session introduces the analysis of political artifacts as a tool in the literature classroom. Blake Allmendinger, literature professor at University of California, Los Angeles, uses the example of political documents to help teachers enhance their reading of American literature texts.

By looking at two intellectual products from the same culture (the political documents and the excerpt from John Rollin Ridge's The Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murieta), you will better understand mid-nineteenth century California's political and cultural beliefs and values.

During the course of the session, you will learn how to search for political artifacts to help teach American literature. In the onscreen classroom, Blake discusses how he uses political artifacts to illuminate the discipline of politics* in his own classroom. He provides high school teachers with ideas about how to read two political documents; he also suggests specific lesson plans.

We then follow the onscreen teachers into the computer lab where they work with Blake, Laura Arnold (Reed College English professor), and each other to find political artifacts that supplement the themes and context of the literature they are currently teaching.

Next, we follow Angela Vahsholtz-Andersen, a teacher at Skyview High School in Vancouver, Washington, into her own high school classroom. We watch as she models a similar lesson with her students. Finally, we hear Angela's reflections on her own teaching practices.

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