Another collaborative document we are working on is a “living” literary term list. I didn’t want to just hand out the usual list of terms for kids to study by rote memory. I wanted them to make something of their own that can be organic and grow with the class as we investigate different texts this term. The first attempt at maintaining our “living” literary term google doc didn’t work out well because the students were picking random examples, so yesterday I reminded them that the examples needed to come from the texts we are working with. The goal is to continue to build on their term list, so they have lots of different examples to inform their learning. It could be daunting for one student to find multiple examples from the text, but as they work together to create one document that is full of their work, I hope that a sense of ownership will take over and motivate them to continue building on it.
My other hope is that I won’t have to edit and recheck the list of terms myself. I hope that as we get more examples, the students will be able to recognize what are strong examples and which are weaker, so they can weed out the examples that don’t work as well. I already saw some of that yesterday while we were working in class. A few students immediately questioned if one of the examples was actually a “euphemism.” I just shrugged my shoulders and asked if she knew of any others from the Romeo & Juliet, and she flipped back through the text and found “a pretty piece of flesh.” A different student was wrestling with “personification” because although the examples on the google doc fit, it didn’t exemplify it the way he thought of it. I didn’t follow-up with that one yet, but it is great to see some of them want to make sure that they find examples that better their own understanding.