Assignments for Call of the Wild
Nature Writer's Notebook -
Each student will maintain a Nature Writer's Notebook throughout the course.  This notebook will be used regularly in class (bring it every day), and also for Field Journal assignments at local Listening Points.  A 100 page composition book works well for this.

Notebooks will be collected and assessed periodically throughout the semester.  Each "Field" entry will receive a separate grade (see "Field Notes Guidelines and Objectives" below).  In-Class entries will be graded holistically based on over-all entries over a period of a few weeks.  Point values will vary, depending upon the number and type of entries being assessed.
Each student will select a local "Listening Point," which legendary nature writer, Sigurd Olson described as "a point of departure, from which the universe may be contemplated with awe."

Students will revisit their listening points several times over the course of the semester, practicing various techniques for field observation and reflection in their journals. 

A more detailed explanation of the idea behind and objectives of a Listening Point can be found HERE.

Field Journal Guidelines and ObjectivesCLICK HERE
New MY MAPS of Listening Points:  CLICK HERE

Student MY MAPS

Note - Field Journal Entries go into the BACK section of the "Nature Writer's Notebook"

Students will write one formal literary analysis of a novel, which develops an original thesis illuminated by specific student-selected literary details drawn from the novel.  Their analysis will include some acknowledgement and application of critical literary theory specifically relevant to course content (such as eco-criticism, and/or archetypal criticism).

Over-all objectives for this essay (3-5 pages) :
-Create a good insightful thesis and structure for your essay which best highlight your thinking about the novel within the framework of this course
-Cite several specific relevant passages from the book, and properly cite them using MLA parenthetical citation
-Analyze the text you cite to explain how and why it is important to your thinking, making effective use of your understanding of literary elements of the text
-Write clearly and efficiently, in a third person academic voice
-Demonstrate careful thinking about the topic and book over-all, and especially the specific passages from the book you choose to analyze
-Edit your work carefully for mechanics, including things like spelling, italicizing the book title, avoiding run-ons, proper punctuation, etc.

Essays will be scored using the "Informative" Writing Rubric (page 4), found HERE

Students will write one formal reflective narrative piece about a personal experience in a wild setting.  For most students, this will be about the class backpacking trip, though it can be done about previous experiences.

Over-all objectives for this essay:

I.  Use engaging imagery and description which allows the reader to be a part of the experience.  (Drawing inspiration from the models we read in class)
II. Remain focused on one element/aspect of the experience without wandering into superfluous details.
III. Communicate an insightful idea about the nature of the relationship between people and wilderness experiences.
IV.  Draw the reader along with a clear and natural sense of beginning, middle, and end.
V. Edit to eliminate errors in mechanics and spelling.

REFLECTIVE NARRATIVE if your weren't on trip

Essays will be scored using the "Narrative" Writing Rubric (page 5), found HERE

Each student will read a wide variety of literary poetry featuring animals, and analyze the literary elements as appropriate to understanding and appreciating these poems.  This will be documented on a literary elements chart.

Further, each student will select a locally occurring animal to research more fully, gaining an appreciation for the specific morphology, ecological role, and mythological significance of this animal.  Applying their learning about poetic elements and their animal, students will then compose their own animal poem.

Patronus Project OVERVIEW

SOME Resources for Ideas About Local Species:
Connecticut Wildlife
CT Bird Species 
Another Site for CT Bird Species
CT Bird Photos

CT Freshwater Fish Species
CT Saltwater Fish Species
CT Insects & Spiders
Insects and Invertebrates 
Amphibians & Reptiles in CT
Animals of Long Island Sound
Wildlife Survey of Trout Brook Valley (Easton)


Students will write a variety of response-style essays (some in class, and some out of class) asking them to consider and respond to questions posed across course content.  Students are asked to personalize and synthesize course content across genres and media, to build thoughtful responses to each unit of study.  More specific objectives will be articulated for each assignment.

The Final Exam (20% of Final Course Grade) is a synthesis essay which asks students to weave in a large variety of class content to articulate and personalize several core themes of the course.

Synthesis Essays will be evaluated using this RUBRIC.

Due Dates

Thurs, 1/30 or Fri 1/31:
Complete "Where I Lived and What I Lived For" reading and annotation.

THURS, 1/30 -
Classwork Part I
Classwork  Part II  
(Both to be done in class)

Wed, 2/5 OR Thurs, 2/6:
Read "Running Away" by Sebastian Junger. Be prepared to write a synthesis essay (20 points) in class, developing an interpretation that connects this reflective narrative to the other content we have covered, so far.

Mon, 2/10 or Tues, 2/11:
In-Class written Response to CHS 1-7 of Into the Wild. (25 POINTS) Be sure to have read these chapters. You may use notes you have taken while writing the response, but not your book. Focus your notes on initial impressions of McCandless's character, and on keeping track of some of the most important relationships he makes in these chapters.

Thurs, 2/20 or Fri, 2/21:
In-Class Response to Into the Wild  Chapters 8-9 (20 POINTS). Be sure to have read these chapters. You may use notes you have taken while writing the response, but not your book. Focus your notes on WHY DOES KRAKAUER SPEND 2 CHAPTERS MOSTLY DESCRIBING OTHER YOUNG MEN? HOW DO THESE COMPARISONS IMPACT YOUR IMPRESSIONS OF MCCANDLESS? BE PREPARED TO COTE SOME DETAILS ABOUT MULTIPLE PEOPLE FROM CHAPTERS.

Select a local "Listening Point", spend some time exploring and observing there, and complete a Field Journal assignment. (20 Formative points)

Mon, 2/24 or Tues, 2/25:

In-Class written Response to Chs 10-13 of Into the Wild. (50 POINTS)  Be sure to have read these chapters. You may use notes you have taken while writing the response, but not your book. Focus your notes on: What details about McCandless's early life are most significant to understanding his character and his motives? Be prepared to cite specific details.

Mon, 3/9 or Tues, 3/10:
Return to your Listening Point. Spend time exploring and observing. Complete Field Journal Assignment (50 POINTS).

Thurs, 3/12 or Fri, 3/13:
In-Class written Response to Chs 14-Epilogue of Into the Wild.  (50 POINTS)
Be sure to have read the chapters. You may use notes you have taken, but not your book while writing. Focus notes on: What is the value of Krakauer writing two chapters (14-15) about himself in the middle of CM's story?  What details of his own story are most important to understanding the book?  What key details does Krakauer save until the end of the book (chapters 16-end) to keep the reader engaged in CM's story?