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The Commonplace Book

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FC: The Commonplace Book

1: Commonplace Books Background and Guidelines Honors English 3 Spring 2011

2: "When we sit in front of Plato or Shakespeare or Conrad, simple reading isn't enough. We must learn to fix our minds, to organize our reading so that we are able to retain the skeleton of ideas that pass in front of our eyes ... What we write, we remember. What we summarize in our own words becomes our own." ~Susan Wise Bauer The Well-Educated Mind

3: A page from the commonplace book of Thomas Austen

5: "Time was when readers kept commonplace books. Whenever they came across a pithy passage, they copied it into a notebook under an appropriate heading, adding observations made in the course of daily life. Reading and writing were therefore inseparable activities. They belonged to a continuous effort to make sense of things, for the world was full of signs: you could read your way through it; and by keeping an account of your readings, you made a book of your own, one stamped with your personality." ~ Robert Darnton "Extraordinary Commonplaces"

7: "commonplace books are about memory ... the commonplace book is like a record of what memory might look like" ~ Max W. Thomas

8: This nine weeks you will collect quotations from literature, nonfiction readings, and research sources.

9: You will compile these quotations in your own Commonplace Book, which you will create using Mixbook, an online resource that allows you to create digital scrapbooks.

10: Each entry will require two pages in your book. You may format your pages as you like, but you must include the quotation, a personal response of at least five complete sentences, and images or illustrations.

11: Each quotation should include an entry page and a response page. They might look something like this ...

12: On LOSS everything extraneous has burned away this is how burning feels in the fall of the final year not like leaves in a blue October but as if the skin were a paper lantern full of trapped moths beating their fired wings from Paul Monette's "Here"

13: To the left is a sample entry page. Each entry should be labeled with a theme or idea expressed in your quotation. I've labeled this sample page "On Loss" because the lines come from a poem about grieving the death of a loved one. Regardless of the source of your quotation, you should label the page with the abstract idea, concept, or belief that the quotation represents for you. Then include the quotation and its source.

14: On Family History: Every book is a quotation; and every house is a quotation out of all forests, and mines, and stone quarries; and every man is a quotation from all his ancestors. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson (to the right is a sample response page)

15: Your response page should include images related to the topic and content of your entry page. | You should also write a personal response or reaction to your entry. That response should be at least five complete, thoughtful sentences.

16: Your complete project is due Monday, March 28, at 8 am There will be no exceptions to this due date.

17: The project is worth a test grade.

18: Required Elements: 1 entry each for: 1. The American Dream 2. Colonial Literature 3. The Crucible 4. Arthur Miller's "Why I Wrote The Crucible" 5. Benjamin Franklin's The Autobiography 6. Any poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 7. William Cullen Bryant's "Thanatopsis" 8. Ralph Waldo Emerson's Nature 9. Henry David Thoreau's Walden 10. A song that reflects Transcendental ideas

19: Required Elements, continued: 5 entries on topics of your choosing, from sources of your choosing Each entry must include: An entry page, with topic labeled and source identified A response page, with a thoughtful, creative response of at least five complete sentences Appropriate images, illustrations, or photographs ... Be warned: clip art probably isn't going to get you full credit!!!

20: Note: As I told you at the beginning of the semester, some of your project entries may be related to your weekly discussion postings. You may reuse quotations and/or ideas that you have reflected on in the discussion forum. Be aware, however, that the requirements for discussion board postings are not the same as requirements for Commonplace Book entries. You will not earn credit for simply recopying postings from the discussion board.

21: Finally, I urge you to plan responsibly. This project will be time-consuming and will require an Internet connection. You have one month to work on this project. Therefore, last minute issues with Internet connections, short-term illness, travel plans, and so on will not change the due date: Monday, March 28, at 8 a.m.

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Emily Geist
  • By: Emily G.
  • Joined: about 8 years ago
  • Published Mixbooks: 1
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About This Mixbook

  • Title: The Commonplace Book
  • Background and guidelines for Honors Juniors in Spring 2011
  • Tags: None
  • Published: about 7 years ago