In Search of the Novel:Teacher-TalkNovel
Subject: Re: QuestionFrom: Cindy O'Donnell-Allen (email@example.com)
Date: Fri Mar 24 2000 - 16:52:36 EST
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One solution I arrived at with students reading Shakespeare and other complex
works was to ask them to create their *own* Cliffs Notes. (Interestingly, the
first year I did this, a handful of students actually tried to plagiarize Cliffs
Notes to complete this assignment, but just a handful.) I invented my own form
and provided a lot of support along the way, but for the most part, students
really got into creating their own custom-made study guide which they could then
use in future, more involved assignments. They did one guide per act, and many of
their responses then became springboards for our class discussion of the work.
In case anyone wants to take a look, I've attached a version I created when we
read _The Crucible_ along with a sample I wrote myself for Act I.
Jennifer Hack wrote:
> Dear Colleagues,
> I am struggling with an ever-present nemesis, plagiarism. For canonical works,
> students often frequent Monarch Notes, Cliff Notes or related movies. Too
> frequently, these supplements become the sole relationship that my students
> read or view.
> Even though, I believe that there are students who do honestly read the
> prescribed works and may use supplements as aids, there still seems to be
> an inordinate number of students who are looking for ways to circumvent the
> actual reading of whatever work is at hand.
> Some might believe that it's okay because, at least, they are reading, and
> this might be valid. However, these same students are hesitant about
> venturing into discussion or committing themselves to points relating to
> plot, theme, or host of other story elements (possibly for fear of
> discovery). Unfortunately, then, the discussions or related forums are
> relegated to the few who have actual demonstrable knowledge of the literary
> Aside from creating another canon (which I am presently trying to
> construct) that deviates from our sponsored school district listings, what
> remedies work well in your teaching environments?