Writing Program

2012-2013 Common Reading Experience Assignments

The Writing Program created sample assignments for use in composition courses and across campus in 2012.

Please feel free to modify and reuse these documents. If you have assignments related to this year's Common Reading Experience book, The Heart and the Fist, and would like to share them, email Breeah Kinsella at BTKINSELLA@FORTLEWIS.EDU.

Cathy Hartney and Kate Pritchard have created multiple assignments designed for beginning readers in TRS 90 and 91 classes, but these documents could be modified for any course that incorporates broad literacy outcomes.

The document includes the following assignments:

  • Double-Entry Reading Journals
  • Paraphrase Practice
  • Short Summary Practice
  • Long Summary
  • Interview with the Author
  • Vocabulary Assignment
  • Writing Practice:  Find the Hidden Treasures
  • Career Counselor
  • Writing Practice: Spot the Clichés (and the Mistaskes)

Please click here for a PDF version of the assignments or here for a Word document that you can modify.

Esther Belin created an assignment that asks students to work on their multimodal composing skills using PowerPoint or Prezi to compose a visual argument. Click here for a PDF version of the "postcard" assignment or here for a Word doucument you can modify.

Lauren Delle and Gretchen Treadwell created the following assignment:

For this assignment, you will write a 5-page essay that addresses a gap in the conversation on the experience of service.  We have been discussing the idea of service using Eric Greiten’s experiences in The Heart and the Fist and other assigned readings as a lens. Your goal in this paper is to analyze a gap in this conversation of service and discuss its importance. This paper could include primary sources (panel, author presentation) as well as secondary sources. You are required to find at least one outside source through the FLC databases and outside of class assignments for this paper.

Molly Costello and Esther Belin created these prompts:

Assignments for The Heart and the Fist—Imagery


  • Assignment 1:  Analysis of the rhetorical situation of CRE selection.
  • Assignment 2:  Mapping the conversation—We’ll use George Lakoff’s  Metaphors we Live By and the photo Essays in Strength and Compassion
  • Assignment 3: Researched argument—Students will choose one of the themes from Strength and Compassion as a base for independent research.


  • Assignment 1:  Rogerian Argument—Personal letter to Greitans
  • Assignment 2:  Students will construct an Installation based on the themes from Strength and Compassion.
  • Assignment 3:  Students will construct an independent research project bases on the classical Aristotelean  argument that distinguishes this research from the research argument of CO1 in that it forces students to adopt a position around The Heart and the Fist.

They also created a more in-depth assignment regarding analysis of background, context, voice and construction of The Heart and the Fist. Click here for that assignment in PDF format or in Word.

Bridget Irish and Ayla Moore created the following assignment that could be used in composition classes or beyond:

Our task was to create a sample assignment using The Heart and the Fist and William Cronon’s "Only Connect" that faculty in the Writing Program (as well as across campus) would be able to use. We considered that this assignment could be used as Project 3 in CO 126, Project 3 in CO 125, and Project 4 in CO 150. A PDF copy of Cronon's article, "Only Connect," is available here.

Here’s the essence of the assignment. We recommend giving students these two quotes from the authors:

Cronon says, “Liberal education nurtures human freedom in the service of human community which is to say that in the end it celebrates love” (6).

Greitens says, “Every life brings hardship and trial and every life also offers deep possibilities for meaningful work and love. I’ve learned that courage and compassion are two sides of the same coin. And that every warrior, every humanitarian, every citizen is built to live with both” (297).

  1. Choose five of the ten personal qualities Cronon most admires in the people he believe embody the values of a liberal education. Tell us how Greitens exemplifies those five personal qualities -  use specific examples from Greitens’ books and his personal appearance on campus.
  1. Think about the two quotes by Cronon and Greitens (above) .  Choose five personal qualities from Cronon’s list and tell us which you feel you already own, which you aspire to, and which you think have been honed by your experience in this classroom, in other classrooms at FLC and in your co-curricular life on campus.
  1. Describe what the value of a liberal education is to you, using Cronon and Greitens to help you think this through.

Ana Hale and Jillian Wenburg created the following series of assignments:

The first is a class activity to contextualize the realities which Eric Greitens faces (his exigencies if you will) in Bosnia, Rwanda and Bolivia, to be done before reading chapters 4, 5 and 6. Click here for the Word document and here for the PDF.

Next is an essay that asks students to write a four (or more) page paper which explores the ways that three different ideas/issues/problems related to Bosnia, Rwanda or Bolivia are treated by three different authors. Click here for the Word document and here for the PDF.

The next assignment builds on the previous assignment. This assignment asks student to take a position on a particular issue, problem or idea as it manifests in one of these countries (Bosnia, Rwanda, or Bolivia) and illustrating and defending their position with evidence. Click here for the Word document and here for the PDF.

If you are interested in having your students debate issues raised in The Heart and the Fist, see this assignment sheet! Click here for the Word document and here for the PDF.

This assignment asks students to perform a rhetorical analysis of The Heart and the Fist, drawing on current sources regarding humanitarianism to inform their analysis. Click here for the Word document and here for the PDF.

If your students work on visual analysis of images, you might enjoy the following assignment, which asks students to find a visual related to the issue of humanitarian issues and provide an objective analysis of the strengths and weaknesses in the photographer’s/advertiser’s/artist’s use of ethos, logos, and pathos within his or her textual and visual argument(s). Click here for the Word document and here for the PDF.

Felicia Meyer and Michelle Bonanno created an assignment that asks students to first annotate videotaped interviews with FLC students who are veterans. (Please contact Felicia Meyer or Michelle Bonanno if you would like access to these interviews.) Click here for the annotation assignment in Word or here for a PDF.

The next assignment builds on the annotations by asking students to examine how multiple interviews form a conversation. Click here for the assignment in Word or here for a PDF.