Keeping a Dialectical Journal


    See the template for these on my website.  As the year progresses, use assigned readings as the basis for your entries.  For each work, please do the following:


    1. At the top of the page, write the title and author.   Start a new page for each separate work. 


    1.  The left side is for the element or quote from the passage.  The right side of the page is for you to record your commentary.  These will include the literary skill (i.e. symbol, metaphor, etc.), definition of that skill, and comments, questions and observations by you.  Include in this section comments on how that quote relates to the passage and to the skill that you name.


    1. The following are the required number of entries per work:


    A)   novel: 3 entries;

    B)   drama:  2 entries;

    C)   short story:  1 entry;

    D)   poem:  one entry.

    All entries should be saved in your drive in a folder named Journals.  I'll let you know when to print and turn them in for a grade.  Have this divided into quarters.  I will show you how to set this up during the second or third week of school.  Keep entries ALL year.  Do not delete.  You need these to see your yearly progress and to connect these to high school SAQ's. 


    Journals should be completed within three days after finishing the required reading.  Journals are rarely required for nonfiction articles.  You will be graded on your ability to analyze the crucial elements in what you are reading, and on the thoughtfulness, creativity, and intelligence of your responses to those crucial elements.




    Elements                                                                      Commentary


    1.  Quote                                                               1.  List skill

    2.  page number, if novel,                                     2.  Define skill, if first time

        line number, if poem                                         3.  Relate skill to passage and why the author may have used it






    Title: from The Death of Balder

    Author:  Mary Pope Osborne

                             Elements                                                                                                                  Commentary

    1)  “The Gods were so relieved that they played games, mocking fate.” p. 1024

    theme--the central meaning of a story.  It is a common idea in mythology that bad things come to the gods that “mock fate”.  Balder dies because of them thinking he was invincible and testing fate by throwing things at him.  The idea that the gods “mocked fate” led to the theme of the story by proving that they were wrong and had to suffer the consequences of their actions.