ENGLISH DEPARTMENT: SAN JOSE STATE UNIVERSITY
INSTRUCTOR: Professor Mary Warner
OFFICE/PHONE: FO 116 (924-4509)
OFFICE HOURS: TR 10:00-12:00 and by appointment
WEB PAGE: http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/mary.warner
English 112A is an upper division course designed to introduce the literature of Childhood experience to adult readers. Although children, frequently those 12 and under, are the central characters and the targeted readers, writers of this genre still structure their works using the same complex literary devices and themes found in adult literature. We will therefore apply standard literary techniques in analyzing the readings for this class.
The readings have been chosen keeping in mind several factors including quality of writing, relevance or appropriateness of ideas, complexity of treatment, as well as cultural and ethnic diversity. But the fundamental character of these readings is their literary merit: they are children’s literature, not just children’s books. Many of the works are considered classics not only because children enjoy them, but also because they are rich in the themes and situations that make children’s literature distinct and important: polarities between security at home and adventure abroad; between the need for belonging, love, and approval and the desire for independence; between the temptation to keep things unchanged and the challenge of changing and growing up; between the sobering constraints of reality and the liberating power of fantasy. These books then invite serious contemplation of important issues through sustained imaginative ventures that display variety, originality, beauty and craft. While the assigned novels are all chapter books, students will have opportunities to become familiar with picture books, fairy tales and folk tales as well.
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 elementary, middle and/or secondary education, to have a 3 Ring Binder, in which you can assemble resources, handouts and materials related to Children’s literature. This course is not a methodology course, but 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 Children’s literature, the more reading you can do and share with your classmates, the richer your experience will be.
1.Thorough and conscientious reading of the text, all assigned novels, and a novel of your choice for Book Talks, as well as readings for the other projects.
2. A 3-page literary analysis paper for each of the required novels; each paper earns 10% of the course grade for a total of 50%; 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. Note: 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.
5. Fairy Tale, Folk Tale, Modern Fantasy project—Students will read a book/collection from this genre and prepare a handout for their peers on resources for teaching the work (if appropriate to student’s major) or present a contemporary version of the traditional tale. If the book read is a contemporary fantasy, then the presenter will provide a critique of the book in like of others in the field. This component earns 10% of the overall grade.
6. Quizzes, In-Class Writings, Final Exam, and overall participation earn 15% of the course grade; The Final Exam will be a comprehensive essay exam covering all readings, presentations, lectures, etc. It will be open-notes, 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
Attendance/Participation: In class, we cover an incredible amount of material, which simply can’t be made up. 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
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.
Th., Jan. 27: Introduction to the Course, Instructor, the syllabus, yourselves; Picture Book activity; Begin Ch. 1 from E of CL
T., Feb. 1: Continue discussion of Ch. 1 and Readers’ Theater reading of opening of A Girl Named Disaster
T., Feb. 8: In-class writing activity on A Girl Named Disaster; Work with Ch. 10: “Multicultural and International Literature”
T., Feb. 15: Work with Ch. 8: “Historical Fiction” from E of CL;
T., Feb. 22: 4 Book Talk presentations; Begin Ch. 9: “Non-fiction: Biography and
T., Mar.1: Review Ch. 12 from E of CL –“Experiencing Literature”; 4 Book Talks;
T., Mar. 8: In-class writing on Wringer; 4 Book Talks; sign up for Group Presentations on Picture Books
T., Mar. 15: 4 Book Talks; Ch. 4: “Picture Books”;
T., Mar. 22: In-class writing on Bridge to Terabithia; 4 Book Talks
T., April 5: In-class writing on The Wanderer; Explanation of the Folktale/Fairy
T., April 12: Picture Book presentations
T., April 19: Ch. 3 “Poetry”
T., April 26: Class reading of a Children’s Play
T., May 3: Video of a Children’s Fantasy
T., May 10: Presentations of Folk Tale/Fairy Tale/Fantasy Projects
T., May 17: Finish any remaining presentations; Review for the Final
Monday, May 23: Final Exam 12:15-2:30