Instructions for the Notes & Questions Assignments

1.) For the Notes & Questions assignments, you will submit your notes from the readings and videos earlier in this unit.

2.) Then, you also will write any questions you have on the specific readings, the literary genre, and/or the course itself.

If you do not have any questions, you’ll need to explain why. In your response, briefly explain your understanding of the readings and literary genre.
Taking Notes

In order to ensure a solid grade on your notes, please take detailed notes.

In your notes, you should include two things:

  • First, a basic outline of the storyline and the work’s major ideas.
  • Second, you should take notes using at least three of the concepts listed below.

Basic Concepts for Interpreting Creative Nonfiction

When interpreting creative nonfiction, students should consider these basic concepts:

  1. Narrative Voice: Analyze the author’s tone, style, and point of view, as it shapes the narrative and the reader’s experience.
  2. Personal Reflection: Note the author’s introspection, self-reflection, and personal insights throughout the text.
  3. Structure: Pay attention to the organization and structure of the piece, including the use of scenes, anecdotes, or thematic chapters.
  4. Authenticity: Consider the author’s credibility and authenticity, examining their expertise, experiences, and research.
  5. Language and Imagery: Analyze the author’s use of language, figurative devices, and vivid descriptions to create a sensory experience for the reader.
  6. Theme: Identify the central themes or ideas explored in the piece, and how they are developed and conveyed through personal narratives.
  7. Characterization: Evaluate how the author portrays themselves and other individuals, focusing on their development and interactions.
  8. Setting: Note the significance of the physical and social environments in which the events take place, and how they shape the narrative.
  9. Reflection on Society or Culture: Consider how the author’s personal experiences connect to broader societal or cultural issues.
  10. Emotional Impact: Reflect on the emotional resonance of the piece, examining the author’s use of storytelling techniques to evoke specific feelings or reactions from the reader.

Remember that creative nonfiction encompasses a range of forms, including memoirs, personal essays, and literary journalism. Therefore, the specific elements to focus on may vary depending on the subgenre and the goals of the author.
Attaching Your Notes

Perhaps the easiest way to take and submit detailed notes is to take your notes digitally, by typing them into a document offline.

To that end, it may be easiest to take, save, and submit your notes digitally, in another document that you can upload later.

However, since studies show that handwriting your notes may aid in learning retention, you may also submit photos of your hand-written notes, instead. However, they will need to be photographed and written clearly enough for me to read. To upload those photos, click the “Attach Files” button below, as when uploading .PDF files.
A Reminder about Daily Reviews of Your Notes

There are several reasons for taking careful notes in the course, beyond the challenges of keeping track of the readings for your essays later in the course.

One of the best ways to learn and retain what you study is to flip or scroll through your notes each day. It only takes a minute or two, and you needn’t read them in any detail. However, simply refreshing your mind each day — just by looking at them, however briefly — will help you in several ways:

  • Reviewing your notes daily will help you remember your studies later on, including for your quizzes, essays, and final exam.
  • These one- or two-minute-long reviews will also help clarify your thoughts and ideas about the readings and the course itself.
  • Ideas and concepts that once seemed complicated will become clear, as if by magic.
  • Plus, it’s a positive way to remember all that you’ve accomplished so far! 
  • In these ways, and more, brief daily reviews help you see the big picture and direction of the course, preparing you to move forward into new territory.

highly recommend briefly reviewing your notes daily.