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Instruction with Special Collections & University Archives

Resources on classroom instruction with SCUA

Course Description

A study of works by and about black Americans. Short fiction, the novel, drama, poetry, and the essay are examined with an eye for determining the nature of the black American's role, as writer and as subject, in the context of American literature as a whole.

Sample Activity


  • Students will be able to name sections of a book and their basic functions
  • Students will be able to analyze how the paratext of a book frames its reception

Framing: Discussion on book sections

  • Ask students how they usually gain information from a book or article
  • Ask how students usually navigate books to find information they need

Activity: Jigsaw

  • Students are separated into groups of 3 or 4 and assigned to a specific item
  • Each group examines their item and looks up information about the author(s), with one student taking notes (10-12 minutes)
  • All students except notetaker shift to a different group
  • Notetaker explains what they have learned about the item to new group (5 minutes)
  • The group works together to answer new questions that come up around the item (5 minutes)
  • The groups rotate again with a different student staying with the item to share information with the next group
  • This continues until all students have seen all items


  • Discussion time to share findings and explore what new information students learned during the exercise

Suggested Reading:

McCoy, Beth A. "Race and the (Para)Textual Condition." PMLA 121, no. 1 (2006): 156-69.


Sample Item List

Colgate University Libraries | 13 Oak Drive, Hamilton, NY 13346 | 315-228-7300