Note: This post relates to content in the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook. For up-to-date guidance, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook.
Exercise 1 is an ungraded homework assignment for students to practice MLA documentation; it includes an optional research component.
For students to practice creating works-cited-list entries as a first step in the preparation of an annotated bibliography in Spanish. (Read more about MLA guidelines on creating an annotated bibliography.)
Total Estimated Class Time
Allot up to 20 minutes to go over Exercise 1 in class; the remaining activities are completed outside class.
This exercise gives students experience identifying the relevant publication facts of articles in journals and book anthologies, using the MLA format template from the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook, and crafting works-cited-list entries as part of a larger project of preparing an annotated bibliography. It also allows students to practice styling titles in Spanish and titles within titles, as well as various formatting issues they face in drafting a list of works cited, such as spacing and alphabetizing entries.
Preparation for the Assignment
Students should read part 1 of the MLA Handbook. The class should then discuss the core and optional elements on pages 20–53 and review the examples from the handbook and the handouts. During discussion, the instructor should use the examples to familiarize students with where to find publication facts required by the template.
Give students the assignment sheet for Exercise 1 and direct them to complete it outside class.
Follow-Up In-Class Activity
Ask students to bring the completed Exercise 1 to class. Review the example sources with the students, pointing out their various elements on the template and explaining how these elements are assembled in a works-cited-list entry. Discuss such things as capitalization of titles in Spanish, titles within titles, alphabetical order in the list of works cited, instances in which a source has more than one container, which template elements are necessary and which are not (students tend to include a publisher for journal articles, for example). Be sure to leave enough time to answer students’ questions.
This assignment works for any institution that lacks a subscription to a research database but can be modified to include a step that has students practice using databases to locate research material. With this modification, the students can be required to look up the source in the MLA Bibliography, for example; for this version, see Exercise 1, with Research Component.