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This course focuses on two important points in the teaching of literature in the secondary school. The first is the consideration of the thought-processes behind the development of the classroom teacher's philosophy for teaching literature and how this, in turn, effects the choices she makes for facilitating her students' learning. The second is to survey adolescent literature. The class will make critical evaluations of the literature as well as investigate strategies for encouraging student reading.
Evaluation Methods and Deadlines
1. Attendance and active participation
2. Book Raves--A book rave is required for each book read. These should be designed to be helpful to you as a reference. They should include author, title, place of publication, publisher, copyright, ISBN number. This should be followed by a brief plot summary of the book (5-7 lines). This, in turn, will be followed by approximately 2-4 ideas, concerns, themes, connections with other texts you consider might be important for yourself or another teacher who might want to teach this particular text. At the bottom of the card you should indicate a target audience as well as the category of the book, and, when appropriate, page references to use for a read aloud segment as you might use them in the classroom. These should be computer print-outs and one-page long ONLY; don't spend excessive time on this. Time during various class periods will be set aside for you to share the books you're reading with a small group and with the entire class. During those class periods devoted to small groups, you will be expected to discuss 2-3 books with your group and provide copies of book raves for each member of your group. You will also turn in book raves to me on a periodic basis (this will be indicated on the calendar of activities).
Note: Because of the length and degree of difficulty in reading these texts, I will expect that those who really want to have a solid background in this area will read a large variety of texts. Therefore, to be considered for a(n):
A or A-, you will need to read 35-38 books
B+ or B, at least 31-34
B-, at least 27-30
C range, at least 26
3. 3-5 page reader sketch I will hand out an assignment sheet for this in class Tuesday, August 26. This will be due Tuesday, September 9 and I will return it by Tuesday, September 16.
4. Group panel You may have noticed that there are six books listed on this syllabus as presentation texts. I will be asking you to sign up for a book that sounds interesting to you before you leave class Thursday, August 28. Your novel choice will determine your panel group. We will devote a total of 30 minutes from six class periods to these panels and you will have major flexibility as far as how your group would like to present its novel. Possibilities might correspond to methods for teaching this work in the classroom, censorship issues, gendered readings, textbook acquisitions, creating activities around the text, and so on.
5. Final project You have a variety of options for fulfilling this final assignment. You should choose a project that will be the most useful for you in the upcoming year; for example, if you have your own classroom or you are beginning to plan for the student teaching experience, you might use this as an opportunity to create a (new) unit for use in the upcoming year. If you are still in the preparatory phase of your education, you might use this as an opportunity to focus more on a variety of reading or educating yourself as to the many possibilities Young Adult Literature may have to offer in the classroom. Choose one of the following and create either a paper of at least 7 pages or a unit plan that could actually be used in the classroom (Please share your thoughts if choosing one other than those listed before proceeding into your plan.). You will also be expected to provide a bibliography of your work to your classmates.
a. Read and analyze all or most of the novels of one Y.A. writer; prepare a critical paper discussing the writer's continuing popularity among Y.A. readers, recurring themes, etc.
b. After reading several Y.A. books related to a similar theme (same or different authors), prepare a paper describing the theme and how the books contribute to a consideration of the theme, as in "Alienation in the Novels of Robert Cormier," "Moral Development of Adolescents in Selected Y.A. Novels," and "Parents in Selected Y.A. Novels written Since 1980," "Teachers Presented in Selected Y.A. Novels written since 1980," or others of your invention.
c. Conduct an interest survey or critical issue survey regarding censorship, the use of books in the home, or attitudes of parents of readers toward young adult literature among parents, students, teachers or librarians. Prepare a written report of conclusions you can draw from your investigation.
d. Interview and visit with a teacher or adult working with adolescents and their literature in a junior high school, middle school, high school, or public library setting. Plan and use interview questions concerning one to three of the following topics: selection, censorship, lesson design, individualizing reading, use of reading, writing, listening, speaking and viewing to facilitate student learning, or another area of interest to you. A written paper and a list of your interview questions must be submitted.
e. Scan articles in English Journal, Voice of Youth Advocate, The New Advocate, Horn Book, and School Library Journal . Review and respond to 5-10 specific articles you feel will be useful in your role working with young adult readers. You may want to select journal articles that you would share with students and explain how they would be beneficial in encouraging reading or helping students better understand and make connections between titles and authors they would choose to read.
f. Create a unit of instruction with objectives, materials, activities, and a plan for evaluation on some theme or genre within Young Adult Literature or utilizing YA Literature with a classroom "classic".
g. Write the beginning chapters of a Young Adult novel.
h. Your choice.
The papers/units/stories will be graded according to the following scale:
A = Profound; insightful. Ideas are clear and sufficiently developed. You demonstrate that exemplary understanding of YA literature and teaching.
B = Good. Your responses and observations are described clearly. Your paper demonstrates that you're thinking about the literature, the reader, and our discussions.
C = Okay. Adequate. You demonstrate understanding of YA literature and the class discussions, but your thinking, as represented in the paper, lacks either substance or coherence or both.
NG = Not good., Your comments are too obvious, too vague, or too inconsequential. Your demonstrated understanding of YA literature and the class activities lacks depth.
In taking this course you will become more competent and confident in understanding the theory behind the teaching of literature to young adults, in assessing reading materials for young adults, and in implementing the use of literature with young adults. The goal I would encourage you to set for yourself is to read as much and as widely as possible. You will be given required readings and readings of your own choice that we will use in class discussions and other projects.
Statement on Academic Integrity
Academic Integrity: Acts of academic dishonesty - including but not limited to plagiarism, forging an instructor's signature, stealing tests, copying themes or tests from other students, or using crib notes are regarded by NAU as very serious offenses. If you are charged with academic dishonesty, you are subject to the Arizona Board of Regents' Code of Conduct and procedures established by NAU that are outlined in the Student Handbook
Besides the required texts for this course, you will also be expected to read a large and wide variety of YA novels; the expectation is approximately 2-3 per week and you must read at least one book from every genre found in your book packet. The book packet will be handed out during our first meeting.
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