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The following is a major assignment that I use for the duration of my senior AP The Heart of Darkness/Things Fall Apart unit, but the assignment would be appropriate for any level of class studying the Chinua Achebe novel as it can be easily modified to increase or decrease rigor. Assignment is flexible and can be used for the whole novel or an excerpt.
Students are required to highlight and make annotations based on specific guidelines. This assignment allows students the opportunity to practice critical thinking skills as they read closely for rhetorical devices (themes, symbolism, character development, syntax, figurative language, etc.) rather than just reading for plot.
Included in the instructions are alternatives for students who have school-issued novels or have difficulty writing in the margins of novels. I've also included a rubric for ease of grading.
This product is my way of generating an authentic student-led discussion. I use these discussions in my class to gauge my student's learning as an alternative to a reading quiz. For the discussion, students create their own questions and respond to their classmates over the most recent work of literature or article we have read in class or outside of class. The handout informs students of exactly what is expected during a discussion and how they earn their grade. The instructions and participation check sheet for teachers make grading discussions a piece of cake.