Reading Journal Assignments for California History

Reading Journal Assignments for California History
In the journal you will write reflections and observations on various documents, and tell how they help  us understand ideas and events we are covering in class.  In the early part of the course you will  use documents in Connecting California.  You may also comment on the pictures and maps.  When we get to the 1880s and more recent times, I will help you find other documents to write about.
Please focus on a few related documents at a time.  You may also write about what you read in  Competing Visions(Cherny) or in the introductions to each section in Connecting California,to add  historical context.  Examine each document critically, and consider how it adds to our understanding of the history or the cultures we are studying.  You may also write your own reflections on what you are learning, and perhaps relate your learning to other courses or experiences.
You get about one point for each page you write.  (You will turn in the Journal four times.  If you write five pages each time, that could get you twenty points for the whole thing.)  Please double space and use a font that is about as  large as Times New Roman 12.  You may use any style, but please divide your writing into paragraphs so it is easy to read.
Journal Prompts
Here are some prompts that you might want to use:
1.      What did you learn from the documents in this section?  What did you find surprising?  How does the material in this chapter relate to what you learned earlier, perhaps in other classes?
2.      How does this section build on the chapter before it?  How does it set us up for what is coming next?  What events do you see here that have shaped the world we live in today?
3.      If you did a movie set in the time period of this section, what would be the key elements in your movie?  Tell how you imagine the characters, and what challenges they would deal with.
4.      Why is the chapter hard, or not so hard, for us to understand today?  How might we understand the history differently from someone living in the time period?  Do you think people will react to this chapter differently, depending on their cultural background or life experiences?
5.      When examining a document or artifact:  How does it help you understand the era?  What are some important factors to consider when looking at this document?  Does the document answer questions you might have had, or does it just raise more questions?