Digital Almanac Assignment


Due Dates

R, Sept 12 Create a blog page on your site
W, Sept 18 Almanac Blog Post #1, post your blog page by 5:00 pm
S, Sept 22 Almanac Blog Post #2, post your blog page by 5:00 pm
S, Nov 10 Almanac Blog Post #3, post your blog page by 5:00 pm
M, Nov 18 Almanac Blog Post #5, post your blog page by midnight
M, Dec 2 Almanac Blog Post #5, post your blog page by 5:00 pm
F, Dec 16 500 word header on blog describing your initial expectations of the blog form & content, major themes/issues that developed over the writing of the posts, and ways developments challenged or confirmed your initial expectations.


Post all 5 blog Almanac entries to a dedicated page on your Domain sites. For full credit each blog post must be 300-700 words and in MLA format. Please also be sure to include at least one in-text citations from the article you analyze, and at least one visual image.


Through readings from early modern texts to the present and observation of the natural world, you will compose a series of 5 blog posts in response to assigned questions. The Almanac posts will culminate with a 500-word head note to the blog section of your site that examines connections raised over the course of the class.


Please note prompts are also listed on the calendar on the date the post is due.

Digital Almanac Post #1: What is an Almanac?

Drawing on a comparison between Thoreau’s Walden and the I See Change: The Almanac, explain the form, purpose, style, and audience of almanacs as a genre of first writing. After you define the term, reflect on ways the genre helps Thoreau, the authors of the website, and/or you to “…embrace the full continuum of a natural landscape that is also cultural, in which the city, the suburb, the pastoral, and the wild each has it proper place, which we permit ourselves to celebrate without needlessly denigrating the others” (Cronon, “The Trouble with Wilderness” 89).

Digital Almanac Post #2: Allegorizing Injustice

In a now famous article on Thoreau, Larry Buell explains that in his writing and his actions, Thoreau constantly “pitted the lily flower against the law” (“American Pastoral Ideology Reappraised”). Drawing on Thoreau’s Walden for inspiration and illustration write a 500-word post in which you write an allegory that connects a bit of local nature to a global environmental issue. First find or take a photo a local bit of nature; next, describe that image in exacting detail; and lastly, connect your description of local nature to a global, environmental issue of your choice.

Digital Almanac Post #3: Art & Ecology

Tim Morton announces several complex key phrases in the introduction to The Ecological Imagination. Choose one of the following phrases and explain what the phrase means according to Morton: the ecological thought; grief; a shadow from the future; the ghost of nature; ecology without environmentalism; radical intimacy; or open thinking. In a separate paragraph use the phrase you defined from Morton’s introduction to analyze a part or whole of either “The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner” or “Smokey Bear Sutra.” For full credit write these responses as an argument, i.e. make a case for why reading either poem through the lens you chose is useful/accurate. Also, include at least two, analyzed in-text citations from each text you discuss.

Digital Almanac Post #4: Ecology Video

  1. Find and watch a video, film, documentary, screencast, or filmed interview/lecture on an environmentalist topic of your choice.
  2. Post a clip of the video/film you chose to your post page
  3. In at least 500 words annotate the video:
    1. Cite the video according to MLA style guides
    2. 2-3 sentences state the main claim/thesis/goal of the video text
    3. 1-2 sentences pull out and define 1-2 key terms the text uses
    4. 2-3 sentences describe and analyze one key piece of evidence the text uses to make its claims
    5. 1-2 sentences evaluate the effectiveness of the video text
    6. 1-2 sentences explain how you plan to use this video for your video project
  4. Come prepared to discuss the video and annotation with the class on Tuesday, Nov 19

Digital Almanac Post #5: Macbeth and The Lives of Animals

In at least 500 words compare the ways William Shakespeare and JM Coetzee explain how humans treat animals. Focus the comparison around a rhetorical figure, image, trope, narrative technique, or structural element both texts share, and remember to analyze at least one piece of textual evidence from each text in support of your claim. What do your readers gain from the comparison?


As always your peers and I are your primary audience, yet please also keep an ever expanding, global Internet audience in mind for this paper. What style, tone, and vocabulary choices will you have to make to suit both the audience, and the subject matter for each project? Explain quotations and images do so as if your audience has never read the texts you discuss; determine the most effect ration between audio, verbal, and visual text; and make best choice for overall ease of use.


  1. Do the posts respond to the prompt?
  2. Do the posts persuade audiences through at least one explicated in-text citation?
  3. Do the posts include at least one visual image that works with the text to persuade the audience of the authors’ claims?
  4. Are the posts the requisite length?
  5. Was the post submitted on or before the specified date/time?
  6. Are texts attributed correctly?
  7. Are the posts free from sentence level errors?

Final Grades

Your final grade for the entire project will depend on the average of scores you earn for each post and the final short head note. I will respond to each post via the comments feature on the WordPress page to which you post, and you will be able to view your score/grade in Blackboard for each individual post as well as the completed project.


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