"Has been a lifesaver so many times!"
- Catherine Rampell, student @ University of Washington
"Exactly the help I needed."
- Jennifer Hawes, student @ San Jose State
"The best place for brainstorming ideas."
- Michael Majchrowicz, student @ University of Kentucky
Unit: Introduction to High School Academics
This activity will help you meet these educational goals:
You will find and analyze the central idea of a work, including the use of
quotes from the work to support your analysis. You will determine an
author's point of view and how their writing furthers their point of view
in the work. You will organize and take part in a group discussion,
including responding to the answers and point of view of the other
In this activity you will do a critical reading of an excerpt from a
personal narrative by John Muir, "A Windstorm in the Forest." You will then
participate in a group discussion to share and construct knowledge
collaboratively. You will be expected to initiate ideas and respond to the
ideas of others.
Directions and Analysis
Task 1: Analyzing John Muir's "A Windstorm in the Forest"
In this task, you will prepare for the group discussion by reading and
interacting with the given excerpt from John Muir's personal narrative "A
Windstorm in the Forest." You will apply the techniques of close reading
and annotation, which you learned across the lessons in this unit to
analyze the text. Note that your teachers may ask you to turn in your
Evaluating the Topic
Before you meet with your group, research and evaluate the topic on your
own. Read the excerpt from John Muir's "A Windstorm in the Forest"
carefully. As you read, reflect on the information that you are evaluating.
Consider your personal response to the text and the topics discussed.
Conduct further research to enhance your response. You can use this as a
foundation when you are ready to form your response to the discussion
You should prepare for the discussion by answering some questions about the
content of the text. Please make notes about each question listed:
. What is the author's viewpoint or perspective?
. What is the tone of the text?
. What is the theme of the text?
. How and why does the author personify nature?
. How would the author feel about modern-day concerns for the environment?
Based on your responses to these questions, synthesize the information that
you have gathered and develop an overall thesis that examines a specific
aspect of the text.
Forming Your Response
Synthesize and evaluate your thoughts and response. Researching and
preparing for a discussion helps to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency
of a group discussion. To start forming your response, use your notes from
the initial task. Then, generate and capture a thesis statement of sorts
that summarizes your view of the work based on your answers. Take any
additional notes you think you might need to capture how you would discuss
and defend your thesis.
Type your response here:
Task 2: Group Discussion of the Excerpt
When you participate in a job, a club, or a committee, you have
opportunities to engage in collaborative discussions. In this assignment,
you will get the chance to hone this skill by preparing and actively
leading a discussion on the excerpt from John Muir's "A Windstorm in the
Forest." You will participate in a group discussion consisting of three or
Preparing for a Group Discussion
The first step in participating in a group discussion is to understand the
purpose and process of a group discussion. Your approach to a group
discussion will differ from other assignments, such as writing a research
paper. Read through the Discussion Guidelines to understand how you should
prepare for a group discussion assignment.
Your Discussion Process
For this task, you'll need to work as part of a group of three or four
students who can meet together for a face-to-face discussion. Your teacher
will identify a process for this task that fits your learning situation.
For instance, if you're working primarily on your own in this course with
no on-site classmates (self-paced course), the process will be a little
different than if you are learning with at least two other students in the
same building and on the same schedule (group-paced course). Discussions in
those two cases are outlined below.
. The teacher organizes groups or enables students to self-organize.
. In the discussion session, students take turns presenting their thesis
and then discussing each thesis with the group.
. One student (not the presenter) acts as a discussion facilitator.
. The discussion will be a round-robin, rotating the presenter and
facilitator roles for each thesis. Plan to spend at least 15 minutes to
present and discuss each thesis.
. Refer to the Discussion Summary below.
View Full Essay