Ted's note:  I like this as a pretest and as a posttest.  It provides
acccess to prior knowledge of the scholars and it provides an evaluation
of the course. 

Date: Sun, 23 Jul 2000 14:21:12 -0700 (PDT)
From: Stephanie Bearden 
Subject: [ncte-talk] Getting Students warmed up for AMlit

Dear Listers,

I wanted to share some ideas I had for "getting to know" my Am lit
students.  If you have time, please read through and criticize/comment if
you care to. 

I plan to administer a short "survey" to my Amlit students which they'll
share and discuss w/ folks. Then I'll put them in small groups and finally
we'll share as a whole class. 

Here are the questions, please tell me what you think of this idea. 

1.  If asked by a foreign exchange student to characterize America and its
inhabitants, what would you say?

2.  If this same student were to ask, "Who are 3 American writers that I
should read to gain an understanding of the American people", who would
you suggest they read and why? 

3.  If asked what 3 American cultural movements or historical events have
most affected modern America, what would you say and how would you defend
your choices? 

4.  The exchange student is just brimming with questions and wants to
know: Which American figures of the past have been most influential to
Modern America? 
 Explain.

5.  Other than by citizenship (if applicable), what characteristics do you
think make you "American"? 

I imagine that my juniors will have trouble with at least a few of these
since they haven't yet studied Am History, but I'm hoping they'll get a
conversation going with their folks. The seniors, who'll also take Amlit
this year, will have more background and so should find this a bit easier. 
I plan on keeping their initial responses to these questions and then
asking them to respond again at the end of the year. I'm hoping to
generate discussion and to find out where they're coming from.

I was also planning on having students create a replacement poem for Emma
Lazarus' beautiful one on Statue of Liberty - their poem should reflect
what their vision of America is/should be. 

I like the Daybook suggestion of having students use a blank map of US and
draw in symbols of their associations with and memories of regions/place
in US. 
 This would be a fun into activity too (and I'd find out what they know
about geography to boot) which could later be used for a memory write. 

How do you all start the year with your Amlit classes?

Thanks!!

Steph  swbearden@yahoo.com 


From: Michelle Garbis 

here is the modification I used for my classes:

New to America

In groups, discuss and answer each of the following questions. Prepare one
written set of answers for your group, and put the name of all group members
on the top of the paper.

1. If asked by a foreign exchange student to characterize America and its
inhabitants, what would you say?

2. If this same student were to ask, "Who are 3 American writers that I
should read to gain an understanding of the American people?", who would you
suggest they read and why?

3. If asked what 3 American cultural movements or historical events have
most affected modern America, what would you say and how would you defend
your choices?

4. The exchange student is just brimming with questions and wants to know:
Which American figures of the past have been most influential to Modern
America? Explain.

5. You really like this exchange student and want to make sure that the
student is aware that there are some problems facing America ^ that all is
not perfect. What 3 major problems facing this country would you alert the
student to?

6. Other than by citizenship (if applicable), what characteristics do you
think make you "American"?

Michelle