English 394—Literature for Young Adults
Grant T. Smith, Ph. D.
Spring Semester, 2007
Office: MC 446
Blankets by Craig Thompson
The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
Crossing the Wire by Will Hobbs
Feed by M. T. Anderson
Firestorm: the Caretaker Trilogy by David Klass
Godless by Pete Hautman
Holes by Louis Sachar
In My Hands by Irene Gut Opdyke
The Land by Mildred Taylor
Maus I, II by Arthur Spiegelman
The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
They Poured Fire On Us from the Sky by Deng, et. al.
True Believer by Virginia Wolff Euwer
Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
The Master Artist by Carol Moore at http://www.magickeys.com/books/artist/index.html
Course Description: This course is a thematic survey of Young Adult literature. The course is organized according to themes often seen in literature for adolescents. The focus of the class will be to (1) define Young Adult literature, and (2) determine the appropriateness and effectiveness of the literature for young adult readers who participate in contemporary issues: search for self, appreciation of diversity, role of religion, environment, and technology.
· Create a “Facebook” web page for English 394 if you do not already have one. Participate actively in the English 394-2007 Facebook group page. (100 points). Click here for the requirements for the Facebook assignment. This requirement satisfies the Thinking, Communication, and Aesthetics Student Learning Outcomes.
· Submit four form responses to the literature we read at the appropriate due dates (400 points). This requirement satisfies the Thinking and Communication Student Learning Outcomes.
· Write one summary of a literary criticism of Young Adult Literature on reserve in the library. This essay may be submitted at any time during the semester prior to Finals Week. (100 points). This requirement satisfies the Communication Student Learning Outcome.
· Participate in a group presentation (300 points).
· Attendance (100 points). Of course the students will be expected to read the assigned texts and participate in class activities. This satisfies the Thinking, Communication, Ethics, and Cultural Sensitivity Student Learning Outcomes.
Student Learning Outcomes:
· Thinking—The students will engage in critical thinking whey they explicate or “close read” literary texts; when they identify formal elements such as point of view, literary language, symbolism, imagery; when they consider texts and authors in relation to historical, cultural, ideological, and theoretical contexts; when they compare what they are reading with what they have read previously; when they relate what they are reading to the wider world and to universal issues of human life. The students will demonstrate critical thinking skills through the types of assignments and questions they provide for the class in the oral presentations. Click here for a Critical Thinking Web Page.
· Communication—The students will articulate orally in class and verbally in assigned writing assignments their interpretations, insights, analyses, and evaluations of the assigned literature. Click here for the English Department’s Home Page on Writing a Critical Analysis of Literature.
· Aesthetic—The students will articulate in class and in assigned writing assignments their understanding of the elements of young adult literature. The students will evaluate the lasting quality of literature from the formal and contextual elements embedded in the literature.
Ethics—The students will
articulate in class and in assigned writing assignments their responses to the
ethical questions and dilemmas posed in the assigned readings. Ethics is generally defined as
the principles of conduct governing an individual or group; concerns for what
is right or wrong, good or bad. Click here for the
· Cultural Sensitivity—The students will read various texts by diverse authors. The students will articulate in class and in assigned writing assignments their understanding of life values represented in different texts in relation to their own. The assigned texts were chosen to give the students an opportunity to move outside of their own culture and to study and interact with a new culture. Click here for the university’s statement on sexual harassment.
· Thinking—Students engage in the critical and creative thinking
· Life Values—Students respond to ethical issues
· Communication—Students communicate effectively orally and in writing
· Aesthetic Sensitivity—Students engage in artistic experiences and reflect critically upon them
· Cultural Sensitivity—Students demonstrate a respect for the diversity of the human experience
· Community Involvement—Students demonstrate responsible citizenship
*Indicates secondary reading assignment
Weeks One and Two: January 15, 22
Do you know how to read?
How good is this stuff? Read on reserve: “A Letter from the Fringe” by Joan Bauer and “Shaving” by Leslie Norris
Holes and Speak
Click here for
Click here for a lesson plan on Speak and discussion questions for Speak
Click here for a variety of lesson plans on Holes
Film Assignment: Holes and Speak have been made into motion pictures—view both of them and be prepared to discuss strengths and weaknesses of film adaptations of the novels.
Click here for a list of "Lifetime developmental tasks that confront adolescents"
Read the short essay on Structuralism
Weeks Three and Four: January 29, February 5
Who am I?
Walk Two Moons
for Sharon Creech's instructional home page
Click here for a web site on strategies for grieving
Click here for some discussion questions on Walk Two Moons and here for Grant T. Smith's essay on "missing mothers."
Click here for an "Across the Curriculum" lesson plan for Walk Two Moons
Immigrants and Refugees: The Global Movement at Our Door, February 5-7
First Literature Response due February 9: Write on any of the discussion questions for Holes, Speak, or Walk Two Moons.
Weeks Five and Six: February 12, 19
What role does religion play in my life?
The Bronze Bow and Godless, Discussion Leader: Eric Eide
Click here for discussion questions on The Bronze Bow
Click here for discussion questions on Godless
Week Seven: February 26
Am I a racist?
*Monster, Discussion Leader: Corey Dressel
Click here for a resource file on Mildred Taylor
Click here for an interview
Week Eight: March 5
Weeks Nine and Ten: March 12, 19
Do I understand others?
Click here for discussion questions on True Believer
Read an interview with Virginia Euwer Wolff
In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer, Discussion Leaders: Hallie Weibel, Rachael Collins, Jennifer McMahon
Click here for discussion questions on In My Hands
Second Literature Response due March 23: Respond to any of the discussion questions for The Bronze Bow, Godless, The Land, Monster, or True Believer.
Week Eleven: March 26
How much do I know about immigration?
Crossing the Wire
Click here for discussion questions on Crossing the Wire.
Read They Poured Fire On Us from the Sky by Deng, et. al. Attend the documentary The Lost Boys of Sudan
Discussion Leaders for They Poured Fire On Us: Aften Brueggeman and Jessica Forsythe
Attend one event at the Viterbo University Humanities Symposium: Immigrants and Refugees: The Global Movement at Our Door
Weeks Twelve and Thirteen: April 2, 11
Should I be concerned about technology?
Easter Break: April 6, 9
Feed, Discussion Leaders: Tammy Yelden and Alice Kuaban
Click here for Feed discussion questions
Click here for discussion questions from Tony DePaolo and Jim Carlson
Weeks Fourteen and Fifteen: April 16, 23
What will I do to protect the environment?
Firestorm: The Caretaker Trilogy
Click here for a unit plan on Firestorm
Third Literature Response due April 27: Respond to any of the discussion questions for Firestorm
Week Sixteen: April 30:
Is this what I want my children to read?
Holes, Discussion Leaders:
The Rules of Survival
*The Rag and Bone Shop
Final Exam: May 10, 12:50 – 2:50 p.m.
What’s New in Young Adult Literature?
Click here for a site on graphic novels
Verse Novels: Keesha’s House by Helen Frost
On-line Novels: The Master Artist
Final Projects are due any time during Finals Week
Final literature response due at the time of the final exam
· Click here for the university definitions of an excused and unexcused absence
· Click here for the university policy on sexual harassment
· Click here for the university policy on plagiarism
If you are a
person with a disability and require any auxiliary aids, services or other
accommodations for this class, please see Wayne Wojciechowski in Murphy Center
room 320 (796-3085) within ten days to discuss your accommodation needs.
If there other accommodations that need to be made for you to succeed in the
class, please indicate those needs to the instructor. Click here
for a link to the
Helpful Web Sites:
· Click here for a link to Young Adult Library Association
· Click here for a link to the Newbery Award Home Page
· Click here for a link to the Coretta Scott King Award Home Page
· Click here for a link to the American Library Association Home Page
· Click here for the Young Adult Literature Home Page with many links
· Click here for the National Book Award Home Page
· Click here for the Printz Award
· Click here for the official web site for the National Council of Teachers of English
· Click here for the English Teacher's Web Page
· Click here for the CCBC