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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


91 Ways to Respond to Literature

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

3 stars
Content Quality: 3 stars
Effectiveness: 3 stars
Ease of Use: 3 stars
Reviewed: Mar 31, 2014 by English Editorial Board
Overview: This web page lists 91 ways to respond to literature (specifically, a “book”). The web page is in plain text. There are no links or interactive activities. The audience is teachers of middle school, high school, and possibly college freshman. The activities described focus on low-level thinking skills (paraphrase, creative writing, arts and crafts, etc.). The prompts listed will not require true literary analysis.
Learning Goals: The purpose of the site is to provide teachers with ideas for activities to use to stimulate immature learners to engage with textual material. It may assist teachers in planning for diversity in learning styles or encouraging creative responses to literature.
Target Student Population: These prompts could be used with grade school student, middle school students, and possibly high school students. However, without ancillary instruction and guidance from the teacher, none of these prompts in themselves will result in literary analysis. Therefore, teachers of high school students and beyond would want to add higher-level thinking activities to the prompts (i.e. reflection, critique, comparison, problem-solving, etc.)
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: None.
Type of Material: This material is a collection of writing and activity prompts aimed at helping students engage with texts at the plot level.
Recommended Uses: These prompts could be used to plan in-class, homework, individual, or team activities.
Technical Requirements: Internet access

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 3 stars
Strengths: Creative ways to engage literature, enliven the language arts classroom, and foster multiple intelligences.
Concerns: This is not a self-contained learning object. It does not address key concepts of literary analysis or promote higher-level thinking skills. Unless teachers add material not included here, students may believe that “interpreting” a text is the same as “understanding the plot.”

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 3 stars
Strengths: The prompts are effective for getting students engaged with the plots, characters, and basic themes of a text. They allow for multiple approaches and may be highly engaging for students. They also appeal to different learning styles and provide ideas for multiple ways of assessing a project.
Concerns: The teacher will need to add additional analysis for students to get an adequate learning experience. Making assignments based on these approaches without providing proper scaffolding would be counter-productive.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 3 stars
Strengths: These are ready-to-use ideas available for immediate implementation in the classroom. The page is easy to access and use.
Concerns: This material does not take any advantage of being online. It is essentially an online version of a typed handout. In addition, the page carries some rather awkward advertising, although the ads do not impinge on the instructional content.

Other Issues and Comments: This is hardly even a Web site, but more like a Word document posted on the Web. It provides an inventory of exciting and interesting ideas that can be used over and over again, but it is more a list of ideas than a set of proper lessons.