English 394—Literature for Young Adults

Grant T. Smith, Ph. D.

Spring Semester, 2007

 

Office:  MC 446

Phone:  796-3485

E-mail: gtsmith@viterbo.edu

 

Required Texts:

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.

 

Course Requirements:

 

·        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.

·        CommunicationThe 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.

·        AestheticThe 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.

·        EthicsThe 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 Viterbo University Institute of Ethics in Leadership.  The students will not plagiarize.  Click here for the Viterbo University plagiarism statement.

  ·    Cultural SensitivityThe 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.

Core Abilities:

·        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

 

Schedule of Readings and Themes:

*Indicates secondary reading assignment

 

Weeks One and Two:  January 15, 22

Do you know how to read?

Benetton Power Point  and Benetton Semiotics

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 Anderson's home page

Click here for a lesson plan on Speak and discussion questions for Speak

Click here for discussion questions on Holes; Click for a gigantic list of palindromes

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 "What is Young Adult Literature?"

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

Click here 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?

The Land

*Monster, Discussion Leader: Corey Dressel

Click here for a resource file on Mildred Taylor

Click here for an interview with Taylor on The Land

Click here for a web site on Walter Dean Myers
Click here for some discussion questions on Monster

 

Week Eight:  March 5

Spring Break

 

Weeks Nine and Ten:  March 12, 19

Do I understand others?

True Believer

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: Trenton Harger, Anthony Portillo, and Shenoa Kerr

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?

Graphic Novels:  Maus I, II and Blankets  Click here for Craig Thompson’s home page

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


Policies:

·         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 Learning Center.

 

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