Dialectical Journals - Mrs. S` English Class Website

• Connect to the topic with substantial evidence (note:
substantial doesn’t necessarily mean long!)
• Be INSIGHTFUL! – illuminate a new idea using your quote
(make an assertion)
• Explain HOW
How does your quote provide evidence for your insight?
How does it connect to your topic?
What effect did the author achieve?
How did he do it?
• Explain WHY
Why in the world should I care about that?
Why is this quote significant to the novel?
How does this quote contribute to the overall meaning?
How does it connect to bigger ideas? (think theme!)
• Quote doesn’t accurately
back up topic
Provides limited discussion regarding the purpose of
the literary element/topic used within the passage,
as well as the relevancy of the passage as a whole.
He/she presents limited perspective overall and
contains plot summary. His/her entry may contain
lapses in diction or syntax and may contain
grammar or usage errors; however, the prose is
usually clear.
• Quote backs up topic but only
loosely connects to
commentary and/or is not as
well-chosen as a “green”
• Quote is strong and wellchosen: clearly backs up the
topic and connects to the
Presents adequate perspective, but it is less
sophisticated and less insightful than higher scoring
entries. His/her entry may contain lapses in diction or
syntax and may contain grammar or usage errors;
however, generally the prose is clear.
Effectively discusses the purpose of the literary
element/topic used within the passage, as well as
the relevancy of the passage as a whole. He/she
presents an insightful and/or unique perspective that
the average student does not offer. In addition,
his/her diction and syntax is especially advanced
and/or effective.
• Diction (word
• Mark Antony
says, “When the
poor have
cried, Caesar
hath wept; /
Ambition should
be made of
sterner stuff”
• Shakespeare contrasts the words cried
and wept here to indicate Caesar’s
deep sorrow and lamentation for the
tears of his people. While both words
similarly convey the shedding of tears,
their connotations differ greatly. Babies
cry when they are hungry, children cry
when they skin their knees, and girls cry
at sappy movies. Weeping conveys a
much deeper distress. Wives weep
when husbands die in battle, husbands
weep when learning their wives have a
terminal illness, and parents weep when
losing a child. Through this word choice,
Antony is subtly implying that Caesar
felt more sorrow seeing the tears of his
people than the people who were
“The free bird
leaps...and dares to
“I Know Why the claim the sky.... But
Caged Bird
a bird that stalks
Sings” by Maya down his narrow
cage can seldom
see through”
(Angelou 1-10).
The author compares two birds as symbols of
two different types of people. She coincides
herself with the “bird that stalks down [its] narrow
cage.” The “cage” symbolizes the restrictions put
in Angelou’s rights because she is a black
woman. The author faces discrimination which
causes her to “stalk” around thinking about when
she will be treated equally. This bird contrasts
sharply with the “free bird [that] leaps...and dares
to claim the sky.” This bird symbolizes a free
white man that has minimal restrictions other
than the law. She believes that he could do
anything, unlike herself, who couldn’t do anything
even if she wanted to. Overall, Maya Angelou
juxtaposes herself with a white man through the
two birds to show the extreme contrast of lives.
(“Two Kinds”
by Amy Tan)
“I won’t let [my
mother] change
me, I promised
myself. I won’t be
what I’m not.”
(Tan 2)
The narrator feels pressured by her mother to be
what her mother wants her to be. Her mother
pushes her to do many different activities that she
has no interest in doing. She also wants her
daughter to excel in a certain activity although that
may not be her daughter’s own dream. The narrator
feels pressured to live out her mother’s dream
instead of her own. She then promises herself to
never change for anyone and to be her own person
and live out her own dream. All the activities that her
mother compelled her to do never interested her nor
was she good at them. Therefore she pledged to
follow her own dreams and goals. The narrator
accepted that she was never going to be what her
mother wanted her to be, which was perfect. She
acknowledged that fact and allowed herself to stray
from her mother’s idealistic path that she paved for
her and start her own.
“Cry, the beloved country, for
the unborn child that is the
inheritor of our fear. Let him not
love the earth too deeply. let him
not laugh too gladly when the
water runs through his fingers...”
(Paton, 111)
The quote symbolises the pain
shared through the country by
people of all races, genders, and
ages. The second sentence on
shows that nobody wants the
child, who represents the South
African people, to be greedy, too
compassionate, or be stricken with
"It is not
permissible to
Political add to one's
possessions if
these things can
only be done at
the cost of other
men. Such
development has
only one true
name, and that
is exploitation."
Chapter 20, pg.
The government at Johannesburg
is very efficient in making the
wealthier community happy. The
continue to raise taxes and make
the cost of living more expensive
and it takes a toll on the lower
class. The higher class citizens
benefit and earn more but all while
“stealing” from the unfortunate
The Moon and
the Great Snake
- Co Sket Lo Cot
The voice within in this text gives
“..But the sun had him; life to this story. The words of the
and he smashed him
war chief that narrates this story,
into thousands of little can give the reader an opinion on
pieces, all of different how to feel about a certain
colors from the
character. The way he describes
different parts of his
the sun as a malevolent entity,
painted body..” Lines
gives immense emotion and life
into the sun, in that he seems like
a furious soul that is defending
who he truly loved, his wife, the
• Using the assertion you wrote after individually
annotating the passage from Cry, the Beloved
Country, write a DJ entry
• You will have to make up a topic that relates to
your assertion, pick a quote that backs it up, and
write insightful commentary on HOW your quote
backs up your topic/assertion and WHY it is
• Finish for homework
• Take out the DJ you finished for homework last class.
• Go through the following checklist with your DJ, making notes
on the page.
• First, look at your quote.
• Did you pick out a good example of your topic?
• Is it obvious when you read your quote that it relates directly back to the
• Did you only pull the most significant parts?
• Now, your commentary.
Is it in 3rd person? – GOOD!
Is there any summary or paraphrase? -- BAD
Are you just telling what it’s saying? – BAD
Did you explain how your evidence relates back to your topic? –
• Did you illuminate a new idea for the reader? – GOOD!
• Did you explain how the author achieved that effect? – GOOD!
• Did you tell us why it’s significant? – GOOD!
• Now, let’s revise your DJ.
• Remember, writing is a PROCESS! It takes several
(sometimes many) tries before you get it “right”
• Use the marks you made from the previous checklist
to guide your revision/re-write.
• Trade with the person sitting next to you.
• On your partner’s DJ, examine their evidence. Does it
clearly connect to their topic?
• Then, look at their commentary. Label the following with
something positive (asterisk, smiley face, etc):
If they are missing one of the above, make a note.
• Circle the following:
• 1st or 2nd person
• Summary
• Repetition
• Switch back with your partner.
• Look over their comments and ask for clarification if
• Now, re-write your DJ using your comments and
your peer comments as a guide.
• This will be a QUIZ GRADE so really put some effort
behind it!
• Use a new sheet of paper and only write your
student ID at the top. DO NOT WRITE YOUR NAME.
• Write your student ID on the rubric sheet I provide
• Staple it to your DJ.
• Put your newly revised DJ attached to the rubric up
on the front table.
• There shouldn’t be your name, just your student ID number!
• One person at each table grab enough DJs for
each of the members of your group to have one.
• Check that no one at your table has yours. If they
do, switch it out with another table. Mix them back
up if you switch!
• Score the DJ using the first rubric on your sheet.
Don’t forget to add your student ID #.
• Pass to the left.
• Score your new DJ using the next rubric.
• You will score and pass until everyone has seen all
the DJs at your table.
• Once your table has finished, have one person take
your group’s DJs and turn them in to the basket.

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