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This blog houses a series of four invention exercises designed to accompany the teaching of Graham Greene’s novel The Quiet American over a two-week segment in a freshman composition and literature class.  Each exercise attempts to incorporate alternate media as tools for enhancing the writing and invention process.  These exercises, that is, are not meant to yield a finished major project, but to produce new and productive methods of engaging the text and developing thoughts that could then build toward a final essay or other project.

Below is the scaffold I have in mind for the four-week segment based around The Quiet American. 

Week 1, Monday
Read first quarter of TQA and a very short excerpt from Bakhtin’s “Discourse in the Novel”
Wordcloud Exercise (see sample) due in class, students present and discuss responses
Introduce Heteroglossia Collage Exercise
Focus in class: Understanding cultural/historical contexts surrounding the novel 

Week 1, Wednesday
Read second quarter of TQA
Heteroglossia Collage Exercise (see sample) due in class, students present and discuss
Introduce Audio/Visual Assignment (this would require previous introduction to iMovie/Movie Maker) – and perhaps allow time to work on this in class
Focus in class: Understanding the rhetorical/literary composition of the novel in relation to its cultural/historical context 

Week 2, Monday
Read third quarter of TQA and Greene’s essay, “Indo-China: Frances Crown of Thorns”
Audio/Visual Exercise (see sample) due in class; as homework, students view and briefly respond to three peers’ videos
Introduce Rhetoric of Book Covers Exercise
Focus in class: Synthesizing the cultural and rhetorical—what arguments does TQA make? 

Week 2, Wednesday
Read TQA to end
Rhetoric of Book Covers Exercise (see sample) due in class, students briefly present responses
Focus of class: Reflecting on our responses to develop inquiry questions, looking at research methods

Week 3, Monday
Students bring in and workshop sample inquiry questions
Cont. time for research 

Week 3, Wednesday
Inquiry questions w/ statements of intent and annotated bibliographies due
Classtime for research and idea development exercises 

Week 4, Monday
Drafts due, peer workshop

Week 4, Wednesday
No class – individual conferences

Week 5, Monday
Papers due