Lesson Plan


This assignment is designed to be presented at the beginning of the course and carried out throughout the semester. It should be assigned in conjunction with discussion of the MLA Handbook and academic citation practices. In groups of three to five, students should be asked to sign up to present MLA citation guidelines for one of the assigned readings on the course syllabus. Student groups will be responsible for preparing a lesson, supplementary handout or slide show, and quiz to be presented as the class completes each assigned reading. All students may draw on these presentations over the course of the semester in writing course papers.

Total Estimated Class Time

15 minutes to present the assignment at the beginning of the semester, 15 minutes for presentations, including quizzes and quiz collection, throughout the semester


This assignment aims to motivate careful engagement with MLA citation conventions by asking students to be responsible for teaching those conventions to their classmates. Student groups will assume a measure of pedagogical authority by leading focused class discussion, conducting peer evaluation, and reflecting on and assessing their own success with the assignment using the worksheet. This assignment is intended to focus at least as much on process as on product.


Students’ reflections on the quality and thoroughness of their own work should provide the basis for the grade. This assignment was designed to be graded by the instructor but could be self-  or peer-graded. It could also be integrated into a course using contracts or one without weighted assessment.

This assignment was designed to be worth 10% of a course grade but can be weighted differently.

Sequence of Activities

Before presenting assignment

  1. Discuss the MLA Handbook and academic citation practices.
  1. Prepare a sign-up sheet on which you list each assigned reading by date of completion.

When presenting assignment

  1. Discuss the worksheet and expectations. Students are not necessarily expected to have all the answers or all the right answers but are expected to provide thorough explanations for their citation choices to the class and to make explicit reference to the MLA Handbook. Groups should also signal their consideration of common variations on the source explicitly; provide written handouts or digital presentations that include sample works-cited-list entries and in-text citations for the selected text; and prepare, grade, and submit quizzes on the material they cover.
  1. Pass around sign-up sheet.
  1. Prompt groups to exchange contact information.

After presenting assignment

  1. Allow about 15 minutes of class time on days when you complete a reading assignment for group presentations over the course of the semester.
  1. Prompt students to turn in their worksheets and peer quizzes when each group completes a presentation.
  1. Optional step: create a collective works-cited list for the course, using entries created during group presentations.

Lesson Materials


Photo of Livia Arndal Woods

Livia Arndal Woods

Livia Arndal Woods is a teaching fellow at Queens College, City University of New York, where she teaches composition and British literature. She is working on a book project on reading practices and pregnancy in nineteenth-century realist fiction as well as a series of articles on digital pedagogy.