Collaborative Annotations: Diigo and Pre-Research for Background Knowledge

Print Lesson


SWBAT research the folklore story of "The Monkey King" by using online annotation tools and will be able to then compare those insights to those in the graphic novel, American Born Chinese.

Big Idea

What is a Monkey King? We begin pre-researching for American Born Chinese by reading online!

Pre-Teaching on Diigo

10 minutes

Sign up for  This part of the lesson is actually done previously, as students need to create an account on Diigo in advance, which is simple enough to do.  I ask them to download the app and import the extension into their Chrome accounts.  The idea is simply to get set up so that students can begin reading the 1 assigned reading "The Monkey King" online and then select an article of their own interest.  

Demo note taking.  I also plan to demo the highlighting feature that Diigo has to offer as well as library function that allows students to catalog their own reading.  The goal is to make sure that each student can select important evidence (RI.9-10.1, RL.9-10.1) in the myth that relates to the Monkey King's identity and stature (RL.9-10.3) and that the students, on a very basic level, understand the prose and can track the meaning (RI.9-10.2).




Image Credit by Salamander724 on wikimedia, released to the public domain. 

Students Share Personal Annotations and Post to "Group"

15 minutes

Student-selected mythology exemplars.  Once the students have completed reading the Monkey King and making annotations on diigo, they will select and read a short version of a mythological tale of their own choosing.  It can be a tale that is already familiar and of interest or it can be a tale from their home/national culture, or both (RL.9-10.7).  Later in the year, we will read a novel that has a cross-cultural bent, The Kite Runner, so this short experience is a good preview of getting away from our cultural blind spots as Americans.  

On my diigo account, I will create an English 1 group for my class only, and I plan to make it private.  I will post my annotated article to this group and ask the students to share out their personal articles to the group.  The idea is that in the future, this group can help be a research-base group.  For now, we are simply learning to use Diigo well and effectively.

I know that the students will be excited to share the articles that they personally have selected, so I plan to allot some time for that before directly turning attention to the article on the Monkey King.  The point of doing this is to enable the class to set up a viable community of practice. 

Students share Monkey King annotations

15 minutes

In base groups, I plan to allow students to share out what they annotated (RI.9-10.1) and to come up with the an answer to three reflective questions:

1.) How well did you three read the story (RI.9-10.2)?

2.) How can diigo be used for research?


3.) What important features of the Monkey King story do you think could be used in another story such as American Born Chinese (RL.9-10.7)?  

Students Apply Monkey King info to American Born Chinese

20 minutes

We will read the opening scene of American Born Chinese and discuss the connections between the article that we read and the graphic novel.  

1.) How is the Monkey King characterized in the novel?  Does this seem consistent with what you read?

2.) Why do you think Yuang could have selected this myth as the subject of a *contemporary* tale?