Visualizing: In Search of April Raintree

Margin Notes and Knowledge Visualization:

English Novel Presentation PDF

Due Friday (for entire book) So please have completed In Search of April Raintree by class, Friday.

As indicated last week, it is critical in the English classroom to help students read deeply and make meaningful connections (on the way to writing about literature, texts, and the world).

To support that process, this means providing students with meta-tools to externalize critical reflections: means of supporting reading, annotation, mind-mapping and graphic visualization of how the novel ‘works’, your critical responses, and so on.

Such reading strategies are not only key to deep and meaningful engagements with texts (of all kinds), but are central to meta-cognitive strategies for reading closely (and for writing well and connecting the text to the world).

Part 1

Your Task: Visualization Tools and Heuristic Devices

Besides traditional margin notes/annotations, please practice working with:

  • Mind-Maps, Timelines, & Graphics: Devise ways of identifying and visualizing key themes and mapping out themes and motifs (while collecting textual evidence, key passages, and page nos.).
  • Character Dynamics and Narrative Arcs: Consider creating timelines or dynamic character arcs that co-map character events with themes in the text.
  • Textual Evidence: Collect passages and page nos and organize by theme, critical lens, or how the novel ‘works’ (literary elements, vivid descriptions, moments of remarkable writing/craft, and novel structure).
  • Intertextual Maps: Interextuality is the view that texts are ‘always already’ situated within a network of other texts, genres, and social stories – or history/historical frames. Trace relations to world, other texts, art, poetry, etc etc etc.
  • Journal Style Reflections: Make room for yourself to freely respond to the the story (reader-response) as you go…

Part 2

Supporting Student Writing. Using the materials from Part 1, sketch out possible ‘theses’ (topics and trajectories) for writing about In Search of April Raintree.

  • What theses might you develop? Come up with at least two or three possible ideas of your own…
  • How do critical lenses and intertextual relations help inform or shape thesis development (where to take your reading)?
  • What discussion questions, writing prompts or ideational frameworks could you provide to students to support (intertextual) thesis development?

Due this Friday before class: Send as combination of documents/images, etc, if you need to take pictures (and collect on a single word doc or turn in copies, etc).

Below is a copy of the document I sent out before the last class…




If it helps, here is a copy of the PDF document I sent out before the last class…

Critical Reading Guidelines: In Search of April Raintree, Beatrice Mosionier (1983)

Please come to class with a document that reflects the following critical reading engagement (reading notes, annotations, mind-maps).

Beyond ‘Setting’: Critical Lenses & Contexts

_____ What theory lenses are you using? Consider trying on lenses like: multiple perspectives, gender, and post-Colonial theory (Critical Encounters); Greene’s ‘texts and margins’; the critical imagination & empathy (Egan), reader response, and any/all the ‘promising models’ for English education cited in the first reading by Nelms.

_____Apply available critical lenses: Representation. How are issues of Representation enacted in the text: How are identities, persons or cultures represented? Who has the power and language to represent? How does that representational play out – materially – in peoples’ everyday lives.

Themes: Literary Strategies and Textual Relations

______Identify central themes, critical positions, character perspectives: Identify passages that are key to the text, or central to your interpretation of it. What key themes emerge? Positions? What is the purpose of the author? How does the text connect with educational theory and teaching

Mind-Maps: track and compile pages/passages where themes and motifs are articulated. Consider other types of graphic organizers like event/narrative timelines; character arcs for April & Cheryl).

______ Intertextual Links: Identify intertextual relations with the world, other literary works, other events, or experiences in your own life. See Chrystos/Burns below; critical identity texts.

______How do literary elements in the text transform the events in the narrative or empower the author’s vision, literary aims, or critical purposes? Look for instances descriptive writing, imagery and presence, figurative writing: powerful moments and models of literary writing.

______ Strategies & World Building: How do settings, conflicts and characters emerge through the showing and telling of the story? What methods does the author use build a (literary) world

Discussion Questions: As you read, respond and annotate, frame your own insights in terms of discussion questions you could pose to peers/readers. Come to class with questions that can help drive the analysis/discussion.