English 112B.01 –Young Adult Literature

Fall 2008

English Department—College of Humanities and the Arts

San Josˇ State University

Place/Day/Time: Sweeney Hall 229 —W: 4:30-7:15

Instructor: Dr. Mary Warner                           Office/Phone: FO 127 (924-4417)

Email: mwarner@email.sjsu.edu                      Office Hrs.: W: 9-10:30; Th.: 3:00-6:00;

English Credential Advising Hrs.: M: 2:30-5:30, T.: 2:00-3:30,Th.: 3:00-6:00, F: 2:30-5:00

Web page: http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/mary.warner/

Library Liaison: Toby Matoush; Email: Toby.Matoush@sjsu.edu; Phone: 408-808-2096

Required Texts: Literature for Today's Young Adults by Kenneth L. Donelson and Alleen Pace Nilsen—course pack with additional materials; Adolescents in the Search for Meaning: Tapping the Powerful Resource of Story by Mary Warner;

Novels:            After the First Death by Robert Cormier

                        Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher

                        First Crossing Donald Gallo, editor

                        Witness by Karen Hesse

The Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling (You may also choose to write about one of the other novels—Goblet of Fire, The Order of the Phoenix, The Half-Blood Prince or The Deathly Hallows, but as a class we'll do The Prisoner of Azkaban)

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Prerequisites: As ENGL 112B is an upper division course, it is expected you have already taken general education requirements such as English 1A/1B, and have passed the WST as well as developed upper division study skills and high standards for your written work.  In English department courses, your instructors comment not only on the content of your written work, but also on the quality of work being displayed.  All student writing should contain clear focus, correct grammar and punctuation, appropriate diction and syntax, and well-organized paragraphs. (See the English Department Paper Evaluation Guide later in the syllabus)

 

Course Description/Objectives: English 112B is an upper division English literature course designed to introduce adult readers to young adult literature, a genre most commonly written for adolescents between the ages of 13-18.  Keep in mind that although the main characters of our novels are children/adolescents, the authors of these books still structure their works with complex literary devices and themes found in adult literature.  Young adult literature has been erroneously classified as simple-minded, didactic, and inferior to writing for adults.  Traditionally, literature has served not only to entertain but as a conduit for social commentary.  This is no different with the genre of YA literature, although some tend to regard this type of writing as "unimportant" because they mistakenly think it exists solely to entertain.  Social issues such as death, religion, politics, race, economics, and sexuality are just a few of the common themes this genre of literature tackles.  People who disregard YA literature as "inconsequential" fail to recognize the profoundly important role this genre plays in offering commentary on the norms and social mores for adolescents.  It might be helpful to keep in mind that Nicole St. John refers to teenagers as "inexperienced adults," who can find in literature a safe haven to accrue much worldly experience.  In this course, we will examine YA literature in the same manner in which we examine adult literature: we will expand our abilities to think critically, trace relevant themes, and offer analytical assessment of the novels.

 

Class sessions will involve some lecture, but will primarily be interactive with discussion, in-class writing, Book Talks, and other presentations.  You may find it particularly helpful, especially if you are taking the course to fulfill the requirement for middle and/or secondary education, to have a 3 Ring Binder, in which you can assemble resources, handouts and materials related to YA literature.  Though this course is not a methodology course, I have attempted to tailor assignments with options to address the different majors represented in the class.  An overall goal is to become immersed in the vast selection of YA literature, the more reading you can do and share with your classmates, the richer your experience will be.

 

Course Requirements:

1.     Thorough and conscientious reading of the texts, all assigned novels, and a novel of your choice for Book Talks, as well as readings for your unit of study or annotated bibliography project.

2.     A 3 -5 page literary analysis paper for three of the required novels; each paper earns 10% of your course grade for a total of 30%; the following are the Due Dates for the papers.  Anyone doing a Book Talk presentation the same week as one of these assigned papers is eligible for a week's extension.

I do NOT accept late papers. IF for some reason you need an exception, you must contact me IN ADVANCE of the due date, but the paper may still be accessed as late and the grade lowered. 

a. Paper on After the First Death           Sept. 10 or 17

b. Paper on First Crossing                    Sept. 24 or Oct. 1

c. Paper on Prisoner of Azkaban            Oct. 22 or Oct. 29

                        d. Paper on Whale Talk                         Nov. 5 or 12

                        e. Paper on Speak                                Nov. 19 or 26

           

The Field Experience Component (see separate handouts) can replace one of the Literary Analysis Papers—credential candidates are highly encouraged to do this paper.  The Field Experience paper is due Nov. 26 or Dec. 3.

 

3.     For the novel, Witness, there will be an in-class writing response on October 15.  The writing for this novel will comprise 10% of your grade.

 

4.     In each class session we will do 20 minutes of "Sustained Silent Writing"—your writing in these SSW times might provide the basis for one of your papers, response to ideas raised during class discussion or response to the book talks presented, or response to literature we've read.  Please keep a folder with the writing done it each of the SSW times and plan to submit it for review every third week. This writing is part of the participation grade as well as the requirement for upper level literature courses of 5000 words of writing.  The writing is done in-class only.  This SSW requirement is 15% of your course grade.

 

5.     Book Talk Presentation—You will read a novel of your choice—everyone in the class will read a different novel, giving us an introduction to about 40 books.  You will need to submit your choice to me via email before the Sept. 10 class period so I can make sure there are no duplicate selections.  Beginning Sept. 17, we will have 4 or 5 Book Talks at each class meeting until everyone in the class has presented.  There will be a sign-up for the presentation dates during the Sept. 10 class session.  Book Talk presentations will include

a.     5-8 minute oral presentation

b.     Handouts for the class which include a short synopsis of the book, author background, bibliography of the author's writings, literary response and/or teaching tips/resources for the book (the handout can be in poster or advertising flyer format since you are literally "selling the book."

c.     Rationale for why others should read this novel (in a sense, you're a salesperson for the book)

The Book Talk component earns 15% of your course grade

 

6.     Unit of Study (for those who are English Credential/Middle Grades majors) or Author and Critical Annotated Bibliography for non-Credential majors

a.     A hard copy of unit plan or the annotated bibliography author and

critical material due on the day of your group presentation

b.     Group planning session in-class on Nov. 14

c.     Group Presentations during Dec. 3 and Dec. 10 class sessions—include handouts for your peers IF you don't submit an electronic copy that can be posted on Dr. Warner's web site

A more complete description of the project will be provided early in the course. The Unit of Study or Annotated Bibliography project earns 20% of your course grade

7. Quizzes, Final Exam, and overall participation earn 10% of the course grade; The Final Exam will be a comprehensive essay/short answer exam covering all readings, presentations, lectures, etc.  It will be open-notes, open book, open notebook and is meant to be an integrative response to the work of the semester.

 

Grades: The above requirements equal 100%; I assign numerical values to each assignment according to the following range

A         91-99   B          82-90   C          73-81   D         64-72   F          63 and below

The Department of English reaffirms its commitment to the differential grading scale as defined in the official SJSU Catalog ("The Grading System").  Grades issued must represent a full range of student performance: A=excellent; B=above average; C=average; D=below average; F=failure

Your best efforts are expected and appreciated, but effort alone may not assure the highest grade if the writing or presentation does not meet the criteria for the assignment.

 

Paper Evaluation Guide

Developed by the English Department

In English Department courses, instructors will comment on and grade the quality of student writing as well as the quality of ideas being conveyed.  Student writing should exhibit correct grammar/punctuation and organized paragraphs.

 

The "A" essay will

The "B" essay will

The "C" essay will

The "D" essay will

The "F" essay will

 

Attendance/Participation: According to University policy F69-24, "Students should attend all meetings of their classes, not only because they are responsible for material discussed therein, but because active participation is frequently essential to insure maximum benefit for all members of the class." When a class meets only once a week, we cover an incredible amount of material, which simply can't be made up.  Come on time and stay for the full class session.  I also believe in student-directed learning that suggests you want to be present at every class to get all you can from the course.  Any absence will affect your overall grade in the course since writing activities, discussion and other participative activities cannot be made up.

 

Academic Integrity Policy: The University emphasizes responsible citizenship and an understanding of ethical choices inherent in human development.  Academic honesty and fairness foster ethical standards for all those who depend upon the integrity of the university, its courses, and its degrees.  This policy sets standards for such integrity.  The public is defrauded if faculty and/or students knowingly or unwittingly allow dishonest acts to be rewarded academically and the university's degrees are compromised.

 

Plagiarism: At SJSU plagiarism is the act of representing the work of another as one's own without giving appropriate credit, regardless of how that work was obtained, and/or submitting it to full academic requirements.  Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to

            and/or the specific substance of another's work, without giving appropriate credit,

            and/or representing the product as one's own work;

            computer programs, photographs, paintings, drawing, sculptures, or similar works

as one's own.

(Adapted from the SJSU Academic Senate Policy, S07-2; please check this web site for the full policy: http://www.sa.sjsu.edu/judicial_affairs/index.html)

According to the SJSU policy, the minimum penalty for plagiarism is failure of the assignment/paper/exam.  It is your responsibility to become informed about the Academic Integrity Policy.  I am more than happy to help you learn, but if you do not do your own work, that goal cannot be accomplished. Please see me if you have any questions about documentation.

 

Disability Resources: If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, if you have emergency medical information to share with me, or if you need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment to see me as soon as possible. "Presidential Directive 97-03 requires that students with disabilities requesting accommodations must register with DRC to establish a record of their disability."  Further information on Disability Resources is available at http://www.drc.sjsu.edu/

 

Course Calendar

(This calendar is subject to change to better meet your needs and to adapt to speakers or other changes; Quizzes on Book Talks and course material will be added throughout the semester)

 

W., Aug. 25     Introduction to the course, the syllabus, the instructor, each other; writing activity with the Foreword by Sue Ellen Bridgers in Adolescents in the Search for Meaning; YA literature inventory—pp.177-179 in Literature for Today's Young Adults; Introduction to the overall theme of Voice; Sustained Silent Writing (SSW), Overview of Robert Cormier (LfTYA p. 30)

 

ASSIGNMENT: Ch. 1 from Literature for Today's Young Adults;

Read After the First Death

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W., Sept. 3      Book Pass activity and Ch. 3 from Adolescents in the Search for Meaning; Ch. 1 from Literature for Today's Young Adults; Philosophical Chairs activity connected to After the First Death; Discussion of the novel, specifically related to the characteristics of YA lit. from Ch. 1 in LfTYA; Guidelines for Literary Analysis papers—Ch. 14 in LfTYA; SSW

 

ASSIGNMENT: Literary Analysis Paper due Sept. 10 or 17 for After the First Death; Ch. 4 from LfTYA; 1/3 of the class submit SSW folders for 1st check; Email Professor Warner with your choice of a novel for the Book Talk Presentation before Sept. 10

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W., Sept. 10    Ch. 10 from LfTYA; Sign-up for Book Talk presentations; Model for Book Talk presentations—see Ch. 13 in LfTYA; Discussion of Ch. 4: "Contemporary Realistic Fiction" and continue discussion of After the First Death; SSW

 

ASSIGNMENT: Ch. 4 from Adolescents in the Search for Meaning; Begin reading First Crossing; 4 Book Talk presenters prepare; 1/3 of the class submit SSW folders for 1st check; Literary Analysis Paper for After the First Death if using the Sept. 17 due date

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W., Sept. 17    Ch. 9 from LfTYA to set the context of First Crossing; "I am" Poetry Writing activities with Ch. 17 in LfTYA—SSW; Discussion of First Crossing; 4 Book Talk Presentations;

 

ASSIGNMENT: Finish reading First Crossing; Ch. 6 from Adolescents in the Search for Meaning; Paper for First Crossing due Sept. 24 or Oct. 1; Ch. 6 from LfTYA; 1/3 of the class submit SSW folders for 1st check; 5 Book Talk presenters prepare

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W., Sept. 24    Presentation of "A Curriculum of Difference"—sample unit of study ideas and

guidelines for the Unit of Study or Annotated Bibliography assignment; Finish work on First Crossing; 5 Book Talk Presentations; SSW

 

ASSIGNMENT: Paper for First Crossing due if using the Oct. 1 date; Ch. 7 from Adolescents in the Search for Meaning; 1/3 of the class submit SSW folders for 2nd check; 5 Book Talk presenters prepare

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W., Oct. 1       5 Book Talk presentations; Discussion of Ch. 6: "Adventure, Sports,

Mysteries, and the Supernatural"; Ch. 7 in Adolescents in the Search for Meaning; Response to book talks to date; Sign Up for Unit of Study or Annotated Bibliography presentation categories; SSW

 

ASSIGNMENT: Ch. 5 in Adolescents in the Search for Meaning; Locate 3 poems you would teach to Young Adults—email the titles of your poems to Dr. Warner before Oct. 6; bring copies of the poems to class on Oct. 8; 1/3 of the class submit SSW folders for 2nd check; 5 Book Talk presenters prepare

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W., Oct. 8       5 Book Talk Presentations; Ch. 5: Poetry, Drama, and Humor" from LfTYA; "That Time" and other poetry writing activities for SSW; Presentation of poems and creating a poetry anthology;

 

ASSIGNMENT: Begin reading of The Prisoner of Azkaban; Ch. 8 from LfTYA; Bring your copy of Witness to class on Oct. 15;

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W., Oct. 15     Readers' Theatre of Witness and In-class writings that account for 10% of your overall grade; Work with Ch. 8: "History and History Makers: Of People and Places;

 

ASSIGNMENT: Ch. 8 from Adolescents in the Search for Meaning; 1/3 of the class submit SSW folders for 2nd check; Finish reading The Prisoner of Azkaban; 5 Book Talk presenters prepare; Paper for The Prisoner of Azkaban due Oct. 22 or Oct. 29

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W., Oct. 22     5 Book Talk Presentations; Drama activities Chapters 18-20 from LfTYA; Discussion of material from LfTYA; Ch. 7:"Fantasy, Science Fiction, Utopias, and Dystopias; Discussion of The Prisoner of Azkaban; SSW

                       

ASSIGNMENT: Begin reading of Whale Talk; 1/3 of the class submit SSW folders for 3rd check; Paper for The Prisoner of Azkaban due if using Oct. 29 date; Email Professor Warner with information on your Unit of Study/Annotated Bibliography selections

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W., Oct. 29     Videotape of Chris Crutcher interview or Censorship and YA Lit.; 5 Book Talk Presentations; SSW

                        ASSIGNMENT: Paper on Whale Talk due Nov. 5 or 12; 1/3 of the class submit SSW folders for 3rd check;

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W., Nov. 5       Finish any Book Talk presentations not done; Continue discussion of Whale Talk; SSW

ASSIGNMENT: 1/3 of the class submit SSW folders for 3rd check; Reading of Speak; Paper on Whale Talk due Nov. 12 if using this date; Begin work on the Unit of Study/ Annotated Bibliographies—be prepared to do Literature Circle work connected to group presentations;

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W., Nov. 12     Video of Speak – work on "Book to Video" activity –SSW;

                        ASSIGNMENT: Paper on Speak due Nov. 19 or 26; 1/3 of the class submit SSW folders for 4th check; Continue research/reading for the Unit of Study/Annotated Bibliographies

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W., Nov. 19     Finish discussion of Speak Group work for Unit of Study/Annotated Bibliography presentations; 

                        ASSIGNMENT: Unit of Study or Annotated Bibliographies; 1/3 of the class submit SSW folders for 4th check; Paper on Speak due Nov. 26 if using that date;

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W., Nov. 26     Thanksgiving – class will not meet, but I'll be available for Office Hours and to receive work; 1/3 of the class submit SSW folders for 4th check;

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W., Dec. 3       Group Presentations of Unit of Study/ Annotated Bibliographies;

                        ASSIGNMENT: Submit SSW folders;

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W., Dec. 10     Finish Group Presentations; Review for Final Exam; Course Evaluations;

                        ASSIGNMENT: Prepare for Final Exam

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W., Dec. 17     FINAL EXAM

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Student Learning Goals: 

Department of English & Comparative Literature

I.  Skills

¬  Ability to read texts closely and to articulate the value of close reading in the study of literature and rhetoric.

¬  Ability to explicate texts written in a wide variety of forms, styles, structures, and modes.

¬  Ability to recognize and appreciate the importance of major literary genres, subgenres, and periods.

¬  Ability to respond imaginatively to the content and style of texts.

¬  Ability to write clearly, effectively, and imaginatively, and to adjust writing style appropriately to the content and nature of the subject.

¬  Ability to develop and carry out research projects and to articulate them within appropriate conceptual and methodological frameworks, including the ability to recognize when information is needed, and to locate, evaluate, organize, and incorporate information effectively.

¬  Ability to analyze texts other than literary or rhetorical:  for example, political, journalistic, commercial, technical, etc.

¬  Ability to read and speak a language other than English. 

 

II.   Knowledge

¬  Understanding of the historical development of the English language and of literature written in English from Old English to the present.

¬  Understanding of the relations between culture, history and texts, including ideological and political aspects of representation, economic processes of textual production, dissemination and reception, and cross-fertilization of textual representations by those of other arts:  architecture, sculpture, music, film, painting, dance, and theatre.

¬  Understanding of the twofold nature of textual analysis:  1) objective study from varied analytical perspectives; 2) subjective experience of the aesthetic reality of the text.

¬  Familiarity with a wide range of British and American literary works, as well as with selected authors and works of other literatures, including folk and popular forms .

¬  Familiarity with a wide range of literary terms and categories relating to literary history, theory, and criticism, including figurative language and prosody.

¬  Familiarity with the nature of the canon and of canon-formation, including issues of culture, history, race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation.

¬  Familiarity with basic practices of literary research and documentation, including electronic forms of information retrieval and communication.

 

III.   Experiences

¬  Face-to-face exchange of ideas with faculty and fellow students in the classroom, in office visits, and in shared activities on and off campus.

¬  Cooperative projects with other students in discussion groups, writing activities, and study sessions.

¬  Cultural resources of the University: interest groups, public lectures, readings by creative writers, theatrical productions, music and dance performances.

¬  Involvement in the life of the University, connection with its physical environs, participation in a dynamic, rich, diverse intellectual community.

¬  Achievement of independently-conceived research projects, including the stating of a problem or issue and all steps involved in organizing, synthesizing, summarizing, and analyzing information in order to communicate conclusions.

 

IV.   Understandings, Interests, and Values

¬  An enduring interest in language and literature.

¬  A sense of the presence of the literary and rhetorical past.

¬  Greater awareness of the depth and complexity of human existence, perceived across the boundaries of time, place, culture, race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation.

¬  Long-term interest and involvement in aesthetic, cultural, and intellectual matters as well as in social and political issues.

¬  Understanding of the ability of great literature and of concentrated language study to awaken and challenge readers and auditors to struggle with profound questions of human identity and values.

¬  A personal critical perspective, and a sense of intellectual independence and momentum.

 

ENGL 112B specifically addresses the following Student Learning Outcomes:

¬  Ability to read texts closely and to articulate the value of close reading in the study of literature and rhetoric.

¬  Ability to explicate texts written in a wide variety of forms, styles, structures, and modes.

¬  Ability to write clearly, effectively, and imaginatively, and to adjust writing style appropriately to the content and nature of the subject.

¬  Understanding of the twofold nature of textual analysis:  1) objective study from varied

analytical perspectives; 2) subjective experience of the aesthetic reality of the text.

¬  Face-to-face exchange of ideas with faculty and fellow students in the classroom, in office visits, and in shared activities on and off campus.

¬  An enduring interest in language and literature.

¬  Greater awareness of the depth and complexity of human existence, perceived across the boundaries of time, place, culture, race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation.

 

The specific ways these SLOs are assessed are through

1.     the Literary Analysis paper requirement that requires students to demonstrate their ability to read texts closely, explicate texts in a variety of forms, write clearly, effectively, and imaginatively, and understand the twofold nature of textual analysis

2.     the Book Talk project demonstrates students' abilities to do close reading, explicate texts, and gives them the opportunities to gain greater awareness of the complexity of human existence across the boundaries of time, place, culture, race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation.

3.     The Unit of Study or Annotated Bibliography assignment requires students to meet in groups – addressing the SLO: ¬  Face-to-face exchange of ideas with faculty and fellow students in the classroom, in office visits, and in shared activities on and off campus;

An additional way this SLO is met is through the class discussions of novels.

4.     The final two SLOs listed above are demonstrated in students' selections of novels and other literature for their book talks, their unit plans or annotated bibliography

projects.  Frequently they also demonstrate their interest in language and literature and their greater awareness of the depth and complexity of human existence perceived across the boundaries of time, place, etc. through responses in the Sustained Silent Writing.

Since many students in ENGL 112B are preparing to enter the English Single Subject Credential Program and will ultimately teach middle and high school students, the attitudes encouraged by the final two SLOs are applicable to the 112B coursework and to the students' future teaching context as well.