September 13, 2012

Dialectical Journals

Have you ever had to go back and look for quotations when writing a paper? It takes so much time and effort, and the kids eventually give up and just write a 'version' of what they think is a quote and throw a random page number on there.

That's why I have my students keep Dialectical Journals while we're reading. Dialectical Journals are great because they help the students keep track of quotations they could use in their final paper. Before we start keeping track of journals, we go through them together on the flipchart.
[Please forgive my awful handwriting!]

They put the quote on the left column with the page number afterward in proper MLA format. On the right side, we do a few sentences of analysis. The tricky part is to make sure they understand the difference between analysis and summary. Analysis always ties the quotation back to the thesis/prompt. I usually have them find 10 quotations that address the prompt throughout the novel, and then that gives them several to chose from when it comes time for the paper. This saves time having to look back through the novel later!

Hope this is a helpful tip for you!
Ms. W