Fight Against SPARKNOTES!
Like most teachers, early in my career I gave reading quizzes as a means of holding students accountable for their reading assignments. What I found, of course, was that students would turn to Sparknotes and other websites, looking for chapter summaries rather than actually completing their reading assignments. As a result, my quizzes had one of two unintended consequences. I wound up either writing a quiz that encouraged students to take shortcuts, or I made a quiz that was so difficult that it punished students that actually did the work.
My solution to this problem was to start assigning ANNOTATIONS in place of reading quizzes. In short, I give the student a list of details to find and margin notes to write, and the student highlights their book and writes margin notes in each individual chapter.
This is a complete list of Annotations for F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. The sheets are broken down by chapter. Students are asked to underline or highlight relevant details as well as to provide clear critical analysis by providing margin notes directly in the text. This handout contains annotations for all nine chapters of the novel.
*PLEASE NOTE: I chose common cored standards that I feel are most relevant to this set of annotations. Depending on type and specificity of your margin notes, you could highlight any of the Reading/Literature Common Core standards with this assignment.