Every literature teacher I know longs to see their students experience those “ah-ha” moments that indicate epiphany! There is nothing more exhilarating or exciting than those days when a class discussion runs through the bell, with students taking up sides and grabbing their books to support their points.
But, the truth is that class time is not enough time to achieve deep understanding and incorporation of ideas for most students. They need to spend time not only reading the works, but thinking about them. They need to probe below the comprehension to the themes and ideas lurking just below the surface of the print. They need to creatively interact with the literature.
The idea for my Conloquium series, of which this is the first semester’s installment, sprang from the need to get my students interacting on their own with those themes and ideas. Students love to have conversations with each other- via text, talk, facebook, or chat! I needed to invite the students to participate in the Great Conversation which springs from classic literature, to coax them to sit down with the works and consider them. In addition, I wanted a resource that would result in a tangible and substantial body of work, a reflection of who they were and what they believed in during this year of school.
Ad Conloquium Magnum Invitaris (You are invited to the Great Conversation) is an entire semester’s worth of writing assignments for an Introduction to Literature class. It is designed specifically to be as creative and self-driven as possible for the students, giving them a variety of choices and scheduling options. This packet is perfect for homeschool settings as well, whether in a one-day per week co-op setting or at home.
Primarily done as an independent project throughout the semester, the Conloquium drafts can be reviewed by student groups at one or two class meetings during the semester. The best day of class all semester is the day the Conloquiums are returned to the students, and they get to select a section of their favorite composition to read aloud in class. Engaging, challenging, and rewarding, the Conloquium project involves students by encouraging independent interaction with the literature. This is their invitation to join the Great Conversation.
Look for Ad Conloquium Magnum Invitaris, Second Semester! It will be available very soon to complete the year's writing component, and produce a year-long project of which your students can be rightfully proud.
Included are three pages of teacher's notes, detailing how I have successfully integrated this writing component into my literature class. For each writing assignment, I give suggestions for literature connections. While I do list the literature I prefer to use, these are suggestions only. Because the writing prompts are designed to help students think about elements of fiction in general, the prompts are compatible across a broad spectrum of assigned literature.