"The first step shall be to lose the way."
-- Galway Kinnell
Some of the Honors Humanities writing assignments each semester are called “logs.” They
will be descriptions of personal field trips in the arts you will take outside of school. We will
let you know about log experiences of high quality that are free or inexpensive, and there are
many suggestions on the web site:
Log activities must last about two hours or longer to be acceptable. There are many
wonderful log activities that are free and local. Planning ahead will save you money and
lead you to rich experiences. Do not wait until the last minute, since your choices will be
Please do not go to any log activity unless it is outside your experience and comfort zone. If
you have never visited an art museum, this is the time to do it! Choose logs that are likely to
produce some in-depth and thoughtful reaction on your part. We recommend selecting from
the list of venues that are worth five quality points. These venues usually lead to the best
experiences and the best logs. They are world-class professional-level events or exhibits.
Local high school and amateur events are worthwhile logs for 9th and 10th graders, but we
expect 11th and 12th graders to push for professional level experiences. Take notes during
and after the log activity so you have plenty of concrete details to share in your log. If in
doubt about the acceptability of a log activity, ask your teacher before you go.
Each semester, you are required to complete four logs. Three of the logs must be outside
activities in the arts. The last log is evidence that you completed one hour of service for our
Humanities community. You can work for any of the Humanities teachers to complete this
requirement. Most students will adopt a mural or hallway showcase to meet this
requirement. For more details, see the Adopt-a-Mural instructions under the “Log
Instructions and Handouts” tab on the web site.
In addition to the hour of Humanities service, THREE of the following TEN category choices
must be used in your outside activity logs each semester. Each semester, your selections
from the categories start over. Thus, you may do a theater log in both first and second
semester. NOTE: Dance, theater, and music productions must be semi-pro or professional
(preferably professional) with performers being high school age or older. Architecture, film,
and literature logs require the permission of your teacher. Below are some comments on
what kinds of events are appropriate for each category.
(1) Architecture Architecture logs are not allowed unless you get your teacher's permission first. An
architecture log could be a visit to a very large building of architectural significance such as Versailles,
King Louis XIV's palace outside of Paris. Such locations have tour guides and information for visitors
posted around the building. There are very few architectural venues of that caliber in our local area. If
you wish to visit a smaller venue or less tourist-friendly site such as a Frank Lloyd Wright house or
important skyscraper or religious building, you must show evidence that you did background research
before and/or after visiting the building, including a works cited page at the end of the log. Standing
around outside a building and looking at it does not, by itself, constitute a log. You must be able to
enter and linger, and you must have enough information to be able to understand the significance of
what you are seeing. Greenfield Village is not allowed since most students have already visited the
village several times.
(2) Art Any larger art museum or exhibition would be a great art log. To judge if an exhibit is
appropriate, check with your teacher on the quality of the exhibit and determine if you can spend two
hours at the exhibition. If you visit a large museum like the DIA, we recommend choosing one or two
sections so you can slow down and be observant. Walking down a street and entering a variety of art
galleries where art is for sale is not an approved log. Art fairs are also not approved. It is hard to
have a thoughtful log experience when viewing works that are for sale.
(3) Art Film/Documentary Art film and documentary logs are not allowed unless you get your
teacher's permission first. We encourage you to attend films in a theater. No Hollywood or popular
films are approved for a film log. Instead, seek out high quality foreign language films, avant garde
films, or documentaries on challenging topics. There are a few films on DVD listed on the handout
titled "Outside Activity Log: Films Approved for At-Home Viewing for Log Credit." There may also be
the occasional recommendation of a film in Humanities large group. Films on the DVD list are
automatically approved, but we prefer that you use them only if you are housebound for some reason.
(4) Dance Any professional dance performance would be an acceptable dance log. However,
productions of the Nutcracker are too familiar and not terribly challenging in terms of material, so the
Nutcracker, even at the professional level, is not allowed. Also, if you are of Indian ethnicity (or
Polish, Greek, Chinese, Irish, etc.) and know a lot about that kind of dance already, you must choose
a different kind of dance performance that stretches your boundaries. For example, attend a
professional performance of modern interpretive or experimental dance at U of M instead.
(5) History Museum Only larger national history museums such as the Kelsey Archaeology
Museum, the Holocaust Memorial Museum, the African-American History Museum, or the Arab-
American Museum are acceptable. Small local museums such as the Plymouth Historical Museum,
although wonderful for 9th and 10th graders, are not permitted. WARNING: The University of
Michigan Natural History Museum is not a history museum; it is a science museum. Although there
is a small anthropology section at the museum, it is not sufficient to count as a cultural experience.
(6) Lecture Only lectures by experts on cultural/liberal arts and academic topics count. Appropriate
topics include history, visual art, current events, psychology, law, religion, and politics. Lectures held
at PCEP during the school day do not count. If you go for a university visit and sit in on a long lecture
in a liberal arts college course, you could count that experience as a lecture. Local libraries offer
lectures by university professors or speakers with unique backgrounds. As always, if you are not
sure if a lecture will count, ask your teacher before you attend.
(7) Literature Literature logs are not allowed unless you get your teacher's permission first.
WARNING: If a book is on the book suggestions list on the Humanities web site, it simply
means a past speaker recommended it. It is not automatically approved and you should still
get it checked by your teacher. The list on the web site is just a starting point, and some of the
books may not even be interesting to read. Although we encourage re-reading, for this assignment
you may not re-read a book you have read before such as The Great Gatsby. The goal of a literature
log is to read a high quality work of literature, history, or cultural analysis that you wouldn't have read
otherwise. Consider reading a biography or the full version of an abbreviated text we read in class.
Don't forget there are also wonderful art history and poetry books that you might enjoy.
(8) Music Any instrumental or choral performance at the professional level would be an acceptable
music log. Stretch yourself. If you are a violinist and have attended many orchestra concerts, attend
a choral concert or an African drumming concert instead. Concerts with popular music, Christian
rock, 1950s rock, etc., are not permitted, even if they're a little outside your experience. They are just
too mainstream and familiar. Since there are so many wonderful options that will stretch you, we
expect you to seek them out.
(9) Religion The teachers encourage every student to go to a religious service outside of his or her
religious experience each semester. The religion logs are some of the most interesting and insightful,
and there is unlikely to be another time in your life when you have the opportunity and motivation to
do this. A religion log only counts if you attend a formal religious service in a religion that is not
your own and combine that visit with an hour of research and/or interviews or discussion with
people from that religion. WARNING: Going into a building where religious events take place, sitting
through a silent meditation at the Buddhist temple, or attending a youth group meeting are not, by
themselves, complete religion log experiences.
If you are a Catholic or Protestant Christian, you should attend a Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Sikh,
Buddhist, Bahá'í, or Jain worship service. If you are nervous about attending a place of worship
outside of your experience, you are not alone. We recommend you go with a classmate or friend or
call ahead to ask where you should go and what you should do. That way you will be less likely to
disrespect the rules or norms in a sacred place. Having said that, the places of worship in our
community have been very welcoming and friendly over the years.
(10) Theater Any theater performance at the professional level would be an acceptable theater log.
Since there are so many wonderful professional theater options in southeast Michigan, we expect you
to seek them out.
-- Small local history museums, all science museums, and ethnic food meals do not count.
-- All athletics, martial arts, yoga, t’ai chi chuan and similar activities do not count.
-- Performances or events in which you participate also do not count. For example, if you
play in a chorus/band/orchestra concert or perform with your cultural group in a
professional production, you may not use any part of the show for your log.
-- Local amateur performances and PCEP campus performances do not count. Variety
shows do not count. These are all wonderful and approved for 9th and 10th graders.
Upperclassmen must seek out professional productions.
-- When in doubt about any log activity, always check with your teacher before embarking on
LOG FOLDER INSTRUCTIONS
-- All logs must be typed and double-spaced.
-- All pages and folder contents must be held secured inside a duo-tang folder (with metal
-- There should not be any loose items. There especially should not be loose photos, large
programs, or any items that could fall out of the folder. Staple or tape all proof to a page in
-- Include a divider before each log. Keep the proof for the log within the same section,
directly behind the log.
-- Always include an MLA header at the top of the first page of each log write-up (name, date,
teacher and hour double-spaced – not triple-spaced – in the upper left corner).
-- Always include the number of the log, the title of your activity, and the category for which
you wish it to count at the top of the first page, as shown below:
Detroit Institute of Arts
-- Always include labels before each portion of the log in the same order they are
presented on the log evaluation sheet. For example, “Overview of Experience” and
“In-Depth Analysis (Compare, Contrast, Connect)” are two of the writing sections
that should be labeled.
LOG WRITING INSTRUCTIONS
Outside activity logs should be typed, double-spaced, in MLA format, and four to five pages
long (no longer). LABEL each section of the log with the headings on the log evaluation
sheet (in bold below). Also follow the recommended length for each section as listed on the
Log Evaluation sheet.
a) QUALITY / WHO? WHAT? WHEN? WHERE? WHY?
In about a half page, answer these questions: What event did you attend? With whom
did you attend? When and where did you go? Why did you choose this log experience,
and why is it both new for you and outside your comfort zone? Emphasize why this
experience is a stretch for you. We are looking for professional quality experiences. The
quality will be judged by your teacher. She will determine whether the event is acceptable
or not. See the table on the last page of this handout for rankings of common log activities
and venues and stick with the ones in red in the 5-point column whenever possible. You
may be asked to redo a log experience if a log activity is deemed unacceptable.
b) OVERVIEW OF EXPERIENCE
In a minimum of one page, give an overall description of your experience as well as
some commentary. Include the major topics or scenes covered in your experience as well
as a description of the venue or any other notable details you'd like to share. If you are
describing a play, film, or book, give only a brief summary of the plot (two to three
sentences) and main characters as well as the setting and major themes. If you visited a
museum, what were the major categories or types of works you saw? What are your
thoughts/reactions? This paragraph should be half concrete detail and half commentary.
Do not write pages and pages of summary, since the more focused parts of the log come
later. Your teachers don’t need to know the title of every painting you saw or every detail
in the plot of a play, book, or film.
c) IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS (COMPARE, CONTRAST, & CONNECT)
In a minimum of two full pages, choose one major focus from your experience. This is
not necessarily one work, like a painting, although if you have a lot to say about one
painting, that would be okay. For most students, the one major focus will be one area of
the experience, like works by a particular painter or from a particular time period. For
instance, if you attended a ballet, you could describe and discuss one of the following:
costumes and how they reflect the characters or themes
the performance of a particular dancer
the backdrop and lighting and how they reflect the plot/themes/tone
the director’s choices (backdrop, choreography, special effects)
the music and how it supports the dancing or plot line
how a character grows or changes over time
a particular theme in the plot/story such as the loss of innocence
particular dance steps or the dancing in a particular scene
Pick an aspect of the event that gets to the motivations, aesthetic qualities, themes, or big
ideas of the event, not an aspect that is just factual or not terribly meaningful. For
instance, the fact that some costumes look very realistic is not a great topic. So what?
Who cares? The most a student can say about this topic is “They did a really great job of
making these costumes historically accurate.” Beyond that, the commentary will become
generic. However, if the colors and designs of the costumes reflect the personalities of the
characters in specific ways (a dark burgundy cloak with a face-obscuring hood on the
moody character; puffy pink lace sleeves on the manipulative but feminine girly-girl), then
that is a topic you could explore in depth.
No matter what focus you choose to explore in depth, always explain why you chose this
focus, how this focus contributed to the overall experience, what meaning you can derive
or assume from this aspect of your experience, what you think the intentions of the
director/artist/composer might have been, and what effect this focus had on you as an
Then, make connections between this focused aspect of your experience and:
another experience of this type/category
another performance or event you have seen from another type/category
a situation in your life
a current event
a topic we have covered in class
Or, you may wish to compare one character, scene, or work of art from this experience to
another comparable character, scene, or work of art.
Make connections on a macro level (e.g. themes, lessons about life) or on a micro level
(e.g. style, specific techniques or qualities). Choose one or two meaningful connections
between the two subjects (no more) and explore them deeply. Do not make multiple
comparisons and fail to analyze them. Discuss why the similarities and differences are
important and what they tell us about the two subjects of your comparison. What lesson(s)
can be learned about art or life? What general principle(s) about art or life can be
For an A grade, you must give extensive concrete details and commentary to explain and
support your ideas. For an A+ grade, your paper must have a distinct and strong voice,
individual style and uniqueness, and/or an exceptionally creative approach.
On the final page of the log, right behind the last page of your log, provide proof, including
all of the following:
a signed parent note with date, length of time spent at event, description
of event, and day time phone number where parent can be reached
a photo of you at the event or venue (no flash photos during
performances, of course)
IF AT ALL POSSIBLE:
a receipt or ticket stub stapled to the page
a small brochure or other artifact stapled to the page (no large or bulky
ONE HOUR HUMANITIES COMMUNITY SERVICE LOG INSTRUCTIONS
The one hour Humanities community service log should include the categories listed below.
See the instructions for these categories earlier in this document. If you sent any documents
to the teacher, include the date of the e-mail and a copy of what was sent.
WHO? WHAT? WHERE? WHEN? WHY?
OVERVIEW OF EXPERIENCE (unlike the full page required for regular logs,
a half page is sufficient here)
The exception is if you adopted a mural. For the Adopt-a-Mural program, specific write-up
and proof requirements are in the Adopt-a-Mural packet on the web site under Log
Instructions and Handouts.
EXTRA CREDIT LOG INSTRUCTIONS
Unlimited EXTRA CREDIT LOGS can be done to raise your log grades only. Each extra credit log is
worth 5 points. The requirements for an extra credit log are the same as for a regular log. No
extra credit logs are accepted until all the regular logs have been completed. Once all logs have A+
grades, additional extra credit logs will not affect the student’s grade. Extra credit logs can be done in
any category. Multiples, such as four theater logs, are okay.
2 4 6 8 10
Quality Quality Quality Quality Points Quality Points
Points Points Points
(almost a 5, but (options in red are superstar A+ log options; students’
(varying (not activity requires reactions are overwhelmingly positive and the log write-
quality; necessarily extra time, effort, ups are almost always superior)
sometimes lower in or commitment to
excellent; quality, but have a high
local or limited in size quality
amateur or scope) experience)
U of M University Musical Society, Ann Arbor (we’d be
Events from Cherry Village Detroit Museum of delighted if you did all three of your logs through this
any of the Theater music Historical Contemporary organization: dance, theater, and music; call to get ½ off
other four and theater Museum Art Detroit (slow student tickets and last-minute reduced-price tickets)
columns that events down and learn
are not as Motown while you are Detroit Institute of Arts (pick one or two sections)
much of a Plymouth Museum, there; do Internet
stretch for Canton Detroit research to High quality religion experience (a formal service plus
you because Symphony supplement) research and an interview or discussion with a person of
you are African- that religion; e.g., go with a Muslim friend to the
already Stagecrafters American Michigan Dearborn Mosque so you can see the architecture!)
familiar with Theater, History Theater, Ann
the genre or Royal Oak Museum, Arbor (be careful; Holocaust Memorial Center, Farmington Hills
information Detroit some films count
Planetant and some don’t) U of M Museum of Art, Ann Arbor
Hamtramck American Detroit Museum U of M Kelsey Archaeology Museum, Ann Arbor
History of New Art,
Ann Arbor Museum Pontiac Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Detroit
Civic Theater (call ahead to be
Cranbrook Art sure there’s Performance Network theater productions, Ann Arbor
Riverside Arts Museum at enough on
Center, Cranbrook display to fully Purple Rose theater productions, Chelsea
Ypsilanti Academy of engage you for 2
Art hours) Michigan Opera Theatre, Detroit Opera House
DVD films The Heidelberg MSU’s Wharton Center, East Lansing
from the Project, Detroit
approved list, (research Toledo Museum of Art
viewed at required before
home going) U of M School of Theater, Music and Dance recitals,
programs, and masterclasses
University of Kerrytown
Michigan Concert House, Eastern Michigan University School of Music and Dance
Stearns Ann Arbor recitals and masterclasses
Collection of (be careful; some
Musical events count and Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, MSU, East Lansing
Instruments some don’t)
Michigan State University Museum: A Smithsonian
Measure for The Ark Institution Affiliate
Measure (depends on
Men’s Choral performer; Toledo Museum of Art
Society always need
permission) Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills
Michigan WSU Hilberry, Bonstelle, and Studio Theatres
Repertory Detroit Film Theater at the DIA
Cranbrook Art Museum
Theater Meadow Brook Theatre, Oakland University, Rochester
U of M lecture series
A challenging work of literature, poetry, or drama