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Why don't we teach more sci-fi/fantasy?I've always wondered why these genres are all...

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jean-hurley | Middle School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 18, 2009 at 9:10 PM via web

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Why don't we teach more sci-fi/fantasy?

I've always wondered why these genres are all but ignored in our English classrooms. There is such a wealth of beautiful writing in these imaginary worlds, yet many of us refuse to touch them with a twelve foot pole. Why is that? If you do teach sci-fi/fantasy, what are your favorite novels?

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drmonica | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted August 19, 2009 at 6:04 AM (Answer #2)

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I did not teach sci-fi/fantasy works in my classroom because I was not familiar with them from my own reading over the decades. I think if I had been a sci-fi reader as a young person, it definitely would have influenced my choices of what to teach in my classroom. I tended to choose classic literature as a teacher because that’s what I enjoy as a reader. One thing I did love to read as a kid was comic books; I used to wait at the drugstore every Wednesday for the delivery of the new Batman and Superman comics. As a teacher, I enjoyed drawing parallels between heroes of classic literature and heroes of the comics. It was a fun way to engage with my students, many of whom were serious fans of graphic novels, comics, and anime.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 19, 2009 at 7:07 AM (Answer #3)

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I don't think it's that we refuse to touch them with a ten-foot pole as much as some of our curriculums don't have the wiggle room to fit them in.  I, for one, love sci-fi, but with a regimented Brit Lit or Am Lit curriculum and the "teaching to the standardized test because we MUST have proficient scores" mentality of schools, it's hard to do as much "fun" stuff.  One of my favorite things of all time is time-travel books.  I love Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, and I'm reading the first in the Eye of the World series by Robert Jordan now.

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hero5 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted August 19, 2009 at 8:39 AM (Answer #4)

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In my district we had a sci-fi/fantasy unit. I didn't agree with the novel we chose, Calling B for Butterfly, but that is because it was out of print and very hard to get copies. There were teachers on other campuses that received permission to teach Harry Potter. I think the best way to handle Sci Fi/Fantasy as a unit is to have book clubs. This allows students to explore the genre without being forced into one book. A teacher offers the class four choices within the genre, then students have book club type assignments with these books. Here are some of the books kids can choose from off my school's list:

The Spiderwick Chronicles series

Artemis Fowl series

The City of Ember series

Inkheart Inkworld trilogy series

George’s Secret Key to the Universe

Warriors: The Power of Three series

Midnight for Charlie Bone

Airborn trilogy

Surviving Antarctica

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mathpoet | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 20, 2009 at 10:37 PM (Answer #5)

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I am a math teacher but have been a sci-fi fanatic forever.  I don't know what age you are teaching but this list is probably geared toward high school. Fantasy is mixed in.

Enders Game by Orson Scott Card, might work for any age!

Alvin Maker series begining with "Prophet" Orson Scott Card

The Hobbit any age!

I am so big on Harry Potter.

Short Stories of Ray Bradbury!

DUNE by Frank Herbert trust them they can read this and love it, high school age, though I was reading this in the 7th grade.

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hishaj | Elementary School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 23, 2009 at 7:02 AM (Answer #6)

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You CAN teach sci-fi.  You can teach any genre you want to teach.  If the curriculum requires that you teach literary elements, then you can use sci-fi/fantasy as well as with any other genre.  There are tons of lesson plans on Harry Potter. Scholastics has sample lessons for Harry Potter.   I used War of the Worlds to teach climax and resolution.  Time Machine was great for setting.  Take your curriculum guide or standards and build from there.  You can also teach genres and focus on sci-fi.  Encourage students to look at sci-fi for independent reading, then use it in literature discussions.

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appletrees | College Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted August 23, 2009 at 2:38 PM (Answer #7)

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I studied with a scholar in graduate school who specialized in this type of literature. She taught a graduate seminar in Female Fantasy Writers that was amazing! We read the Earthsea Trilogy, The Mists of Avalon, and some other things I can't recall.

I myself have used some fantasy short fiction in my creative writing classes, by authors like Charles de Lint, Jane Yolen, Steven Millhauser and others. This is some of the finest contemporary fiction out there, so why not teach it?

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salsa1319 | Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 25, 2009 at 8:34 AM (Answer #8)

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I personally love Sci-Fi/fantasy, there is so much you can do with it if your creative and or willing to try something different...and trust me when I tell you how engaged your students will be. It's a wonder to see them actively reading and thinking. One of my favorite things to do with Sci-Fi/fantasy or any novel is do a Media to Novel comparison. Read the book then watch the movie and compare the differences and similarties. I think is important to ask why? Why would the director take this out or add this in? Why would the Protagonist go in that direction,etc...I think it just really gets kids thinking and you could go a step further and ask if they relate to or see themselves  as particular person of Identify with a group. Maybe they wish they could the Elven that saves the world or the dragon rider....and ask why? You get to know a lot about yourself and other when you ask why.

Some of my favorites are

Hitchers Guide to the Galaxy series

Harry Potter series

Chronicles of Narnia series

The Spiderwick Chronicles series

The City of Ember series

Lord of the Rings

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thompsos | Middle School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 25, 2009 at 2:59 PM (Answer #9)

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Why don't we teach more sci-fi/fantasy?

I've always wondered why these genres are all but ignored in our English classrooms. There is such a wealth of beautiful writing in these imaginary worlds, yet many of us refuse to touch them with a twelve foot pole. Why is that? If you do teach sci-fi/fantasy, what are your favorite novels?

I think one of the reasons Science Fiction is often overlooked is the fact that students often pick it up willingly.  Also, some of them deal with subjects that different religious groups find offensive, and so, the schools shy away. I found one of the best ways to get around the "no Sci/Fi" literature is to use it as the basis of a "hero's quest" study.  This is an essential understanding (the parts of a quest) if a student wants to take an AP test.  One excellent Si/Fi book to use for this type of study is STAR WARS.  Another is ERAGON. All of the critical attribute are present.

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted August 26, 2009 at 7:28 AM (Answer #10)

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I suppose it isn't one of the main genres, but I know that much of Lord of the Rings (especially its precursor: The Hobbit) is included in the curriculums of the schools in which I have taught.  Although I've never taught elementary or middle school, I wonder if the Harry Potter series is creeping into the core?

In regards to your actual question, I guess the answer is that usually a sci-fi/fantasy novel or series has an incredible backstory and/or universe that needs to be explained and studied as well (in order for us to fully understand it).  Considering the limited time we have to spend on a particular unit, perhaps it is the amount of time it would take for exploration that is the main factor?  Just a thought.

That being said, if you think your students would enjoy a good sci-fi/fantasy novel, I say GO FOR IT!  : )  They will sense your excitement and "get into it" as well.  : )  Or perhaps, if you think teaching an entire novel of that sort would be too much, feel free to use parts of these novels as excerpts to teach other literary concepts!

Noelle Thompson

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lainie2007 | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 26, 2009 at 1:48 PM (Answer #11)

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It is really too bad that education has become goal oriented to having the district make good proficiency scores rather than educating the students.

Our district has put more and more burden on the teachers involving mandated tests (thank the feds) and mandated tests for the teachers.  I know of one substitute that even though she is a member of Mensa and has taught for several years was not allowed to teach until she passed a state test which has to be done every few years. All this really accomplishes is to make teachers leave for a better work environment or decide not to teach in the first place.

Science Fiction was for far too many years "that awful trash that will destroy your mind"..an actual quote by the way and it was looked on for a long time by mainstream literati as not worthy of study. As the people grew up and went into teaching literature, the same people who were readers of it,it began working into the mainstream of literature where I think it may have finally taken its rightful place.

I would rather be teaching about Isaac Asimov and Heinlein's works than Shakespeare. They certainly have more relevance to the world of today. Not that the social implications of William's works aren't as applicable today as they were then.

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sjdrummond | Middle School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 11, 2009 at 5:43 AM (Answer #12)

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Sci-fi and Fantasy are crucial to the classroom and can be taken in so many different directions.  I teach middle school gifted and I see where it could be a curriculum issue in the regular classroom, BUT if you use it to teach across the curriculum it can be amazing!  While subbing for a 9 weeks, I used the basis of Harry Potter to delve into language origins (the spells are Latin derivatives), geography (Hogwarts is supposedly in Scotland), architecture (castle-building), and several more venues. Unfortunately time restraints kept us from actually covering novels of that magnitude in class, but it set the class up to study Macbeth in the next part of the semester.  Last year I taught the 1st Sisters Grimm book as well in conjunction with a unit on Fairy Tales and excerpts from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardobe as part of a Leadership and Group Dynamics study--both were amazing!  Please look at everything you can do with this genre!!

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kpalumbo13 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 11, 2009 at 6:14 AM (Answer #13)

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As a high school English teacher, I have incorporated Science Fiction into my curriculum. In block scheduling, it is easier to bring in "non-traditional" texts. I teach Fahrenheit 451 in 10th grade American Literature, Brave New World in 11th grade British Literature, and Childhood's End in English 9. I also try and use several short stories by Ray Bradbury and offer students Science fiction novels as independant reading options. When I teach my Comparative Mythology class (an elective open to 10, 11, & 12) I use the Matrix, Harry Potter and Lady in the Water to teach the Hero Circle and to compare the Tragic Hero and the Epic Hero to Joseph Campbell's Definition.

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marilynn07 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted September 26, 2009 at 11:14 AM (Answer #14)

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I think the best place to use Sci-Fi literature is in the area of comparitive literature. Shakespeare and Isaac Asimov have much in common. And, Brave New World uses a number of quotes from Shakespeare.

The main thing is that young people need to read. The Twilight books by Stephanie Meyer are useful to compare with Bram Stoker's Dracula.

To develop critical thinking skills, it is important for students to compare and contrast different literary works.

Harry Potter or Neo (from the Matrix) is a hero in the classic sense and could easily be compared to Hercules or Odesseus.

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skat13 | High School Teacher | eNoter

Posted September 30, 2009 at 12:01 PM (Answer #15)

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I teach a unit within my Advanced Placement Literature Class that focuses on dystopian literature that is truly enjoyable.  In this unit I love to incorporate some of my favorite SciFi.

Brave New World

1984

Never Let Me Go

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

I also teach a selection of short SciFi fiction by Kurt Vonnegut

Apart from this specific unit I teach a unit on the hero's journey and Campbell's Monomyth that focuses on Star Wars and The Matrix.

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emfrancis | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 30, 2009 at 12:39 PM (Answer #16)

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When I taught 10th Grade, we reviewed science fiction as a genre study.  The lesson I designed for this unit can be found at this link: http://www.asu.edu/gpawp/diaryfrancis.html.

Students would also learn the four motifs of science fiction - space, time, the destruction and recreation of society, technology - and its common themes: Man's destiny lies in space.  Our actions today influence time.  Technology will either save society or bring about its downfall.

I also showed students how many science fiction stories are based on historical events or sociological issues.  I used the comic book and films about The X-Men to show how society's prejudice toward people who were genetically different is a parable to racism and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.  We then would construct a story together based on the Revolutionary War in which a lunar or Martian colony secedes from the Earth-based nation that governed the colony.  Students would then have to write an original science fiction story that incorporate one of the motifs or common themes of science fiction.

This unit usually lasted one acdemic quarter.

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jimvanpelt | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 1, 2009 at 7:51 AM (Answer #17)

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Why don't we teach more sci-fi/fantasy?

I've always wondered why these genres are all but ignored in our English classrooms. There is such a wealth of beautiful writing in these imaginary worlds, yet many of us refuse to touch them with a twelve foot pole. Why is that? If you do teach sci-fi/fantasy, what are your favorite novels?

  I've been teaching a course in science fiction at the high school since the mid 80s.  I almost always have a split room with two or three big fans, a group of kids who are vaguely interested, and then a group that the counseling department tossed in because they hate reading, hate literature and have had no success in English classes. 

It's that last group that interests me most and shows why teaching science fiction is so valuable.  The material is of such high interest that by the end of the class I almost always have a new group of fans, and some of the kids who never read before are reading a lot. 

I teach H.G. Wells' The Time Machine as our class novel and a whole slew of short stories and films.  For The Time Machine, I created a web site for teachers at http://www.sff.net/people/james.van.pelt/wells/teachwells.htm

Another great resource for teachers of science fiction is at http://www.aboutsf.com/

When I'm not teaching SF, I'm writing it, which helps, I think, for me to connect to kids.  When we write SF stories in class, I can talk to them quite a bit about the process and give them some help in coming up with ideas and developing them.

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missjenn | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted October 11, 2009 at 4:03 AM (Answer #18)

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I agree that Sci-fi should be taught in the classroom , it is such a valid genre not to mention it really is some of the best social critiques we have from certain time periods, but I also wonder about speculative fiction. It is similar to the Sci-fi genre, but instead of being heavy with physics and actual "science-ness" it focuses on being "extra-human." It focuses on humanity, and all the "-isms" (sexism, racism, heternormatism). I find that within some districts where I work, the book selection seems to be geared more towards books boys like, to improve their reading. I have scene several science fiction novels used this way. I applaud the schools for incorporating them, however what about the girls?  I would argue that sci-fi (as well as speculative fiction) should be used in the classroom, however I believe that one reason it is not in school is due to the fact it can alienate (no pun intended) groups of students within the classroom when dealing with the content.

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jimvanpelt | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 12, 2009 at 1:40 PM (Answer #19)

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I agree that Sci-fi should be taught in the classroom , it is such a valid genre not to mention it really is some of the best social critiques we have from certain time periods, but I also wonder about speculative fiction. It is similar to the Sci-fi genre, but instead of being heavy with physics and actual "science-ness" it focuses on being "extra-human." It focuses on humanity, and all the "-isms" (sexism, racism, heternormatism). I find that within some districts where I work, the book selection seems to be geared more towards books boys like, to improve their reading. I have scene several science fiction novels used this way. I applaud the schools for incorporating them, however what about the girls?  I would argue that sci-fi (as well as speculative fiction) should be used in the classroom, however I believe that one reason it is not in school is due to the fact it can alienate (no pun intended) groups of students within the classroom when dealing with the content.

  You're right that a science fiction title might alienate some groups of students, but I've found that true of any other book too.  Some boys hate Romeo and Juliet because it is a love story.  Some girls hate Of Mice and Men because the women in the story are portrayed so poorly.  Every novel is a gamble, and none of them will please everyone.

I don't see any difference between speculative fiction and science fiction.  Some SF tends more to the science side, like Kim Stanley Robinson's RED MARS, while some is more character oriented, like just about anything by Ray Bradbury, but they're just part of a continuum.  That is why I like teaching short stories as much or more than novels.  A short story is like the old top 40 A.M. radio stations.  You might not like the song, but it won't last more than three minutes.

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engteacher921 | Middle School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 12, 2009 at 7:26 PM (Answer #20)

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Science fiction definitely has its place in the classroom.  I have taught many sci-fi short stories including titles by Ray Bradbury, and Kurt Vonnegut.  I also use many science fiction titles with my gifted students to help them answer questions about themselves.  "Flowers for Algernon" sparks great discussions about IQ and Ender's Game helps many of my socially awkward gifted and talented process their differences.  I have also used Fahrenheit 451 and  Brave New World in order to discuss various social issues.  All of these works also have wonderful literary devices that can be brought in for discussion and review.  Science fiction is a great way to mix up your curriculum and keep students interested.  Many of my reluctant readers find it to a be a genre they can truly sink their teeth into.

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jimvanpelt | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 13, 2009 at 4:29 AM (Answer #21)

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Science fiction definitely has its place in the classroom.  I have taught many sci-fi short stories including titles by Ray Bradbury, and Kurt Vonnegut.  I also use many science fiction titles with my gifted students to help them answer questions about themselves.  "Flowers for Algernon" sparks great discussions about IQ and Ender's Game helps many of my socially awkward gifted and talented process their differences.  I have also used Fahrenheit 451 and  Brave New World in order to discuss various social issues.  All of these works also have wonderful literary devices that can be brought in for discussion and review.  Science fiction is a great way to mix up your curriculum and keep students interested.  Many of my reluctant readers find it to a be a genre they can truly sink their teeth into.

  I'm glad you mentioned reluctant readers.  I've done several presentations about how powerful science fiction can be to get kids who don't ordinarily read for pleasure to read.  There's a ton of science fiction out there that does what fiction is supposed to do, which is to engage the reader.  But in addition to telling a good story (which is what you find if you assigned detective stories or westerns), science fiction has the added element of its science fictional idea.  Even a kid who hates reading can still join in a conversation about the possibilities of time travel or the repurcussions of a change in technology.

Here's a story that always gets the kids involved.  It's a very short piece that works even better if you have two good readers in the class read it aloud as a play.  It's Terry Bisson's "They're Made Out of Meat."  At http://www.terrybisson.com/page6/page6.html

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ddramaqueen2 | Middle School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 17, 2009 at 9:56 PM (Answer #22)

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I am an 8th grade English teacher with a mixture of students of many abilities. We recently comepleted a Time Travel Project by viewing the film "Somewhere in Time". When first introduced to the time travel idea, there were many groans because the students believed that time travel and fantasy itself was a boring topic. Since the film was made in 1980, the classes had never heard or seen it, so it was an entirely new experience for them. That film along with three fantasy short stories, gave them many quandaries to ponder.  There were several ways they could complete the project, using what they believed was their strongest skill. The artists could set up a comic story board, visual could design posters comparing past to present to future. One of the writing options included critical thinking about the types of problems one could encounter and the abuse of power by the wrong individuals. By offerering a variety of ways for students to get their point across, they will often find it more palatable to their syle, therefore being more open to the idea of the lesson in the first place.  Reluctant readers can be difficult to convince, but honestly, there was not one student who did not turn in a project. By the end, the skeptical were convinced that science fiction/fantasy, was an interesting topic..

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creativewriting101 | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 18, 2009 at 10:17 AM (Answer #23)

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I have always thought that there are many life lessons (social, political, religious, etc.) to be learned through the sci-fi genre. Harrison Bergeron is one title that I have used to spur discussion regarding freedom and free-thinking in our current society. 

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jimvanpelt | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 21, 2009 at 4:57 AM (Answer #24)

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Here are short stories that engage the reluctant readers (and the enthusiastic readers go to town on them). 

"All You Zombies," by Robert Heinlein.  This is the ultimate time travel paradox story.

"The Green Hills of Earth," by Robert Heinlein.  A great story of the power of poetry, the love of home, and the meaning of sacrifice.

"Harrison Bergeron," by Kurt Vonnegut.  This provocative story about individuality and equality asks what is beautiful in the human spirit, and why is it feared.

"Do You Want My Opinion," by M.E. Kerr.  What would high school be like if sex wasn't taboo, but sharing ideas was intimate and forbidden?

"The Silent Towns," by Ray Bradbury.  A funny and sad twist on the last man/woman on Earth story.

"The Veldt," by Ray Bradbury.  A children's play room reveals the extent of a family's dysfuntion.

"A Pail of Air," by Fritz Leiber.  A truly frightening end of the world story.

The previous list is all classics.  For more modern discussion provokers, try this pair:

"Second Person, Present Tense," by Daryl Gregory.  What, exactly is consciousness, and why do we need it?  The point of view character is a high school girl who has overdosed on a very dangerous drug.  Gregory discusses the ideas behind the story at http://darylgregory.com/stories/SecondPersonPresentTense.aspx

"Think Like a Dinosaur," by James Patrick Kelly.  A better version of "The Cold Equations," which is a good one too. 

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asorrell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted November 21, 2009 at 2:58 PM (Answer #25)

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I use "Harrison Bergeron" a lot.  My students always love it.  They're always slightly horrified at the ending and always make a joke about what the heck am I having them read, but they love it.

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asorrell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted November 21, 2009 at 2:59 PM (Answer #26)

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I should also mention that I use "Harrison Bergeron" along with "The Pedestrian" by Ray Bradbury when I read Fahrenheit 451.  Lots of connnections between them.

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reey | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 23, 2009 at 1:58 PM (Answer #27)

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As a reader and writer of science fiction and fantasy, I have found that those genres have been the red-headed stepchildren for a long time.  They often haven't been considered "real" literature.   What gets ignored is the fact that every novel involves a quest, and it doesn't matter if the end goal of it is emotional freedom, better self-understanding, the solution to a murder, a magical ring, or an alien world.  The important part is that the characters must deal with the same problems every human deals with: relationships, sadness, hunger, fear, love, abandonment, and so forth.  Whether we clothe the characters in period costume, modern dress, faerie wings, or Martian spacesuits, the characters must accomplish what they set out to do or else fail.  Either way, they must go on that quest.

Many of the classics are downright boring and irrelevant for modern readers, especially younger ones.  If we want to turn kids into readers, we have to give them something interesting to read. Faulkner or Hemingway frequently just doesn't do it.

I teach at college level, and the comments I hear from kids If we want them to read the classics, get them hooked on sci-fi and fantasy first.  Give them werewolves and vampires and ghosts and aliens, and that can whet their appetite for reading mainstream and classic literature.

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jimvanpelt | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 23, 2009 at 9:29 PM (Answer #28)

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As a reader and writer of science fiction and fantasy, I have found that those genres have been the red-headed stepchildren for a long time.  They often haven't been considered "real" literature.   What gets ignored is the fact that every novel involves a quest, and it doesn't matter if the end goal of it is emotional freedom, better self-understanding, the solution to a murder, a magical ring, or an alien world.  The important part is that the characters must deal with the same problems every human deals with: relationships, sadness, hunger, fear, love, abandonment, and so forth.  Whether we clothe the characters in period costume, modern dress, faerie wings, or Martian spacesuits, the characters must accomplish what they set out to do or else fail.  Either way, they must go on that quest.

Many of the classics are downright boring and irrelevant for modern readers, especially younger ones.  If we want to turn kids into readers, we have to give them something interesting to read. Faulkner or Hemingway frequently just doesn't do it.

I teach at college level, and the comments I hear from kids If we want them to read the classics, get them hooked on sci-fi and fantasy first.  Give them werewolves and vampires and ghosts and aliens, and that can whet their appetite for reading mainstream and classic literature.

  Hear, hear!  My English department at the high school has been reading Kelly Gallagher's, Readicide, which makes much the same argument.  Not only do we often assign the classics, which aren't always appropriate to the readers, but then we overteach them.  Side by side journals, daily quizzes, lengthy character sketches, vocabulary work, read and respond prompts, etc. can suck the life out of any book.  It's no wonder that rather than building a love of reading in kids that we sometimes kill it.  Giving kids interesting choices to read doesn't mean giving up the classics, but it does mean striking a balance between sucking the life from books and letting books live.

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natashasfortune | Middle School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 25, 2009 at 12:23 PM (Answer #29)

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I did not read sci-fi growing up and picked it up by accident, really.  Trying to keep up with my middle school students, I read the Shadow Children books by Peterson Haddix and fell in love.  Now, I do literature circles (if you haven't tried them, you should) with science fiction and find the sci-fi virgins love it when prompted with the right book to begin their journeys and the readers of sci-fi are crazy in love with this change in curriculum.  I use Feed, a lot of M. Haddix Peterson, City of Ember, Downsiders, and Singing the Dogstar Blues just to name a few.

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jimvanpelt | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 25, 2009 at 9:55 PM (Answer #30)

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LOL!  "sci-fi virgins"

I think that the rich short story tradition of science fiction is often overlooked, particularly for reluctant readers.  I keep anthologies in my room to loan.  Many stories are short enough for a reluctant reader to finish in a single class period, and the right story can turn them on either to other works by the same author, other works in the same style or on the same topic, or even onto novels.

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daisydharma | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted December 5, 2009 at 8:56 PM (Answer #31)

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As someone stated earlier...there is little wiggle room in the curriculum for English classes.  However, teachers who really want to use Sci-Fi/Fantasy can find a way to work it in.  Essentially, I believe that many of us teacher how and what we ourselves have learned.  I tend to focus on Romantic and Modern fiction because that's what I focused on in college.  I also teach a lot of drama because that happens to be one of my research areas.  As a side note, I teach Creative Writing at my school and I actually spend a large portion of a semester on learning, understanding and writing Horror, Sci-Fi and Fantasy.  The students love it and it is a lot of fun.

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anthonda49 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted February 12, 2010 at 10:40 AM (Answer #32)

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Sci-fi and fantasy are becoming much more popular in entertainment today. Students will be more interested in reading things similar to what they see in movies and gaming. Before, when little sci-fi was taught, students couldn't wrap their minds around concepts so futuristic and abstract. My class in 9th grade read By the Waters of Babylon in the 1980's and could not interpret simple little clues showing how the past and the future had come together. A statue showing the letters ''ashing" was a nearly impossible leap to George Washington, even though the statue was described well enough to make the connection. With as much adolescent sci-fi literature coming to the screen, students minds will be more open. Practice reading this type of literature also helps broadens their reading conceptualization.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 28, 2010 at 7:09 AM (Answer #33)

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I think certainly in my teaching context we are seeing a change in this trend. Sci Fi and Fantasy novels are becoming gradually more and more accepted into the curriculum, though only for lower grades. Novels such as The Hobbit and Ender´s Game are being seen more and more, as are works such as Harry Potter and His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman. These works have definite literary merit, in my opinion, and it would be good for us all as teachers to seek to expand and develop the use of this genre in our curriculum. Above all, it "turns on" some types of student far more than other, more traditional novels.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 14, 2011 at 9:49 AM (Answer #34)

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I have not taught science fiction, although recently I have read and enjoyed many of the Star Wars books.  There are actually plenty of good science fiction books of high literary quality out there.   I have taught some that are in the fantasy and science fiction category, such as The Giver and The Hobbit.  Students usually struggle a little with the unusual words and settings, but it helps prepare them for other more complicated works later.

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