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Professor Abdullah-Matta uses this close reading guide to help her students delve into a critical analysis of poetry. The guide covers process, elements of analysis, interpretive questions, strategies for noticing patterns, and considerations about point of view and characterization. Read the guide in full for more.

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In these slides, Professor Abdullah-Matta asks students to think about where they enter a poem, and keep a list of key words as they read. She also prompts them to consider emotions, tones, themes, narrative, point of view, figurative language, and other aspects of poem using guiding questions. You can see the complete slideshow here.

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After adapting Lynn Hammond’s “Using Focused Freewriting to Promote Critical Thinking” exercise for poetry into Slides, Professor Holmstrom led her students through a timed freewriting and discussion activity in class as an introductory exercise.The slides (and prompts) are available in full here.



Students in Professor Bethany Holmstrom’s class run discussion online, creating both the discussion questions and evaluating each other’s work. Students spend time during the first few classes crafting and responding to discussion questions, then they claim and run forums of their choosing. You can see the criteria for discussion questions here, and an overview of the entire discussion process via this link

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Here, Professor Abdullah-Matta gives a short overview of the schedule and logistics for the discussion boards in her class (her commentary is in blue in the document). She also provides some examples of student responses from their discussion forum in BlackBoard. Read her overview and sample student work.

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Students in Professor Evelyn Burg’s class looked at literature from the Cold War Era. Here’s a series of prompts – including reflections on various media and related literature – that Dr. Burg created for their weekly class discussion forums online.


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Professor Bethany Holmstrom created a short YouTube video on writing paragraphs for her students to watch (slides featured in the screencast are available via this link). They then wrote a biopoem on a character from a short story and a paragraph explaining their choices. The poems were posted at the start of the next face-to-face meeting, and students did a gallery walk, commenting on each other’s work. You can see the full prompt here.


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Though Professor Holmstrom’s students conducted this particular peer review in class, this peer review guide could be used online or face-to-face. Here’s the prompt for the research essay (looking at allusions to poems within a novel and connecting the two works), along with the peer review guide.