LITR 4340 American Immigrant Literature

for reading assignment

PowerPoint presentations (and other such programs) are discouraged. If you prefer to use PowerPoint (etc.), use only for materials not available on course website (e.g., for your own questions or summaries of your answers). You may always bring handouts on paper or aids on a thumb drive for projection, or email ahead for posting to course website,

Do not copy and paste materials from course website into PowerPoint. Go directly to website for materials (e.g., text passages, instructor's discussion questions, objectives, etc.).

Student location: Student may work up-front or remain seated; instructor can help with computer-projector.

Length: 8-12 minutes for presentation; Discussion may continue indefinitely.

Responsibility: You're not responsible for the day's entire reading assignment. You may choose one or two texts from day's assignments, or focus on part of one text.

Required parts to presentation: (order of these parts may change)

Open presentation by inviting students to raise questions, problems, or overall observations regarding reading assignment. (Questions may be addressed to instructor or class as well as discussion leader.)

Identify theme, issue or question related to day's reading assignment, relate to a course objective, and / or preview discussion questions.

Direct class to to 1-2 brief passages (page numbers or web location) in day's texts. Read passages aloud, briefly commenting on application to opening theme, course objective(s), or discussion questions.

(Order of first two steps may be reversed.)

Ask a question or questions to begin discussion. At least one of your questions should be from the instructor's assigned discussion questions. You are welcome to ask questions of your own, but they should follow from your reading or appeal more broadly to the challenges that the text may present to the class. You may also refer to other class readings.

Lead discussion. Ask follow-up questions, or restate original question(s).

At some point in your discussion, you must use at least one of the instructor's Discussion Questions on homepage.

Single biggest aid to a good discussion: Start discussion as soon as possible after reading selected passages. After hearing and sharing the passages, the seminar is ready to jump in and discuss. Usually the only discussions that "die" are the ones where the students have to wait too long to start talking.

Next biggest aid to a good discussion: Don't save questions and discussion for end, but mix in questions and discussion as presentation proceeds.

More advice for successful presentation:

  • Mix discussion with your own analysis. Instead of telling class what you think, ask what they think, then add what they didn't say for you.

Examples from 2007 Student discussion-leads

Examples from 2006 Student discussion-leads