Madison Public Schools

Madison Public Schools - Summer Assignment
Contemporary Humanities, Science Fiction & Fantasy,
Public Speaking & Creative Writing
Mrs. Vilarino, Mr. Oswin, & Mrs. Holzer
Assignment Rationale/Objective: To provide students with an opportunity for experiential
learning over the summer that ties directly with the curricular goals of the course. This
experience will be the basis for the first conversation of our coursework: a definition of the
humanities and the value of its study in the modern age.
Required materials: Students will need the attached instructions in addition to attendance
of an artistic or cultural institution. The final product of the assignment will be a researched
reflection paper.
Overview instructions: Please see the attached assignment pages for instructions and
assignment details
Estimated time for completion/Suggested pacing: It is anticipated that students will
spend about 10 hours completing this assignment, combining the artistic experience and
their research and write-up.
Number of points: 25 Points
Percentage of first marking period grade: Roughly 10%
Process for requesting help over the summer: Students who have questions or are
encountering difficulties completing the assignment should please email Mr. Oswin
(regardless of assigned instructor) at [email protected]
Contemporary Humanities: Summer Experiential Learning Assignment:
As seniors in Enriched English next year, your coursework will include Contemporary
Humanities in addition to an English elective of your choice (Creative Writing, Science
Fiction & Fantasy, or Public Speaking). Contemporary Humanities is a course which
examines the literary, visual, and musical arts across time periods as a reflection of the
peoples and societies who created them. Art is a reflection of the human experience, be it
joy, suffering, desire, disappointment, or anything else people can experience!
Your assignment this summer is to go out into the community and discover what the
human experience looks like for yourself in some experiential learning- attending a
cultural institution, performance, gallery, or museum. During your visit, keep notes on
what interests you or is impactful during your visit. You will compose and hand in a
minimum 3-page researched reflection discussing the following questions about your
visit. Keep the central question in mind: What does the Human Experience look like
through the arts, (music, theater, artwork, etc) and how is art able to capture and express
that experience?
Please type your essays in correct MLA format: Times New Roman,
Size 12 font, double spaced. Only essays typed and printed will be
accepted (no hand-written papers or emails). You should respond to
all questions asked in your reflection. You may use the first person in
this reflection, but be aware of correct use of grammar, spelling,
syntax, and paragraph structure. You are expected to research the
venue, art, or artists you view, so please also include correct in-text
citations and a complete MLA works cited page.
Papers are to be submitted in hard copy to the instructor on the first
day of class. The last day papers will be accepted before application of
the late penalty will be Friday, September 4th. Late papers will lose
40% credit, as per Humanities Dept late work policy. This assignment
will be worth 25 points, and will constitute the first grade of the school
year. ALL students, regardless of their elective, MUST complete this assignment. There
is no other summer reading assignment but this visit and reflection paper.
Suggested Venues:
Broadway/Off-Broadway Musicals & Plays
Local Theater (Shakespeare Theater, NJ PAC, etc.)
Local Museums & Galleries (Morris Museum, etc.)
NYC Museums and Galleries (Natural History Museum, MoMA, Metropolitan
Museum, etc)
Local College Galleries and Productions (Drew, FDU, College of St. Elizabeth, etc)
Unacceptable Venues:
Commercial films (movie theater, DVD, Netflix, etc)
Amateur Performances (garage bands, student performances, etc)
Reflection Questions:
Please respond to each of these questions in your reflection. You will need to cite any
researched information about artists, criticism, etc. Be sure to use reliable sources:
newspaper write-ups, online databases, museum websites, etc.- NOT WIKIPEDIA OR
-Why did you select this particular experience? What interested you about it or was it
merely convenient? Is this the type of activity you would normally engage in during your
spare time? Did you enjoy it?
-Describe your experience. If you looked at artwork, describe the work of art. What do
you think it is about? If you went to a concert, describe the music. If you saw a drama or
musical, what was it about? Summarize your visit.
-What time period was the play, composition, or paintings you saw created in? In what
ways is the piece reflective of the period of its creation? If you saw a play, what time
period was it originally created in and in what way has it been (or not been) modernized
for contemporary audiences?*
-What can you tell me about the playwright, composer, poet, or painter? What
experiences in his or her personal life are reflected in the work of art?*
-In what ways do the performances or the artwork you saw reflect elements of the human
experience? How did the art capture emotion? Story? Social forces?
* indicates elements which research and citations
Contemporary Humanities Summer Assignment Rubric
Response explores the human experience
through specific, researched reflection,
personalized by student interest and
enthusiasm for topic.
Answers all questions and meets the
minimum assignment requirements
Paper follows correct MLA format
Paper includes multiple cited research
Assignment Total:
__________ / 25 Points
-Plagiarized Papers will receive a grade of 0 and students who are found to have
plagiarized will receive an honor code violation.
-Late papers will receive a 40% reduction of credit.
If you have read the assignment guidelines and are unsure about your selected venue or
have any question about assignment expectations, don’t hesitate to email Mr. Oswin
(regardless of your assigned instructor) at [email protected] during the
summer for additional clarification or support.
Enjoy your break!