The perfect lit. classUse your imagination. If you had no departmental restrictions or protected reading lists to hinder you, what would your perfect lit. class read? What grade level? Advanced,...

The perfect lit. class

Use your imagination. If you had no departmental restrictions or protected reading lists to hinder you, what would your perfect lit. class read? What grade level? Advanced, regular, or a mix?

I'd like to teach a juvenile fiction class to 9th and 10th graders. My reading list would include Stargirl, The Outsiders, The Giver,  A Wrinkle in Time, and more.

 

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

Posted on

I like Dickens! But I would really like to experiment with a year focussed on dystopian literature and sci-fi/fantasy, looking at novels like 1984, Brave New World, The Giver, The Wizard of Earthsea, Enders Game, Handmaid's Tale and The Road. Unfortunately I am not able to teach some of these books because of the school I work in :-(

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dbello | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

I think the perfect literature class would be one that is able to coordinate a history class of the same culture and time frame from which the literature was written. Regardless of the genre, writers are exposed to their enviornment. This is not to say that writers are subject to their enviornment, it only suggests that their experience on some level could influence their work. Many years ago as an undergraduate I scheduled my history classes with literature classes from the same time period. The insight I gained using this strategy was and still is indispensible to me. Although I teach history, the knowledge base I've acquired by reading the literature of the period has served to enhance my understanding of history.

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engtchr5 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

Anyone have any ideas on writing an essay on the philosophy of education?

It depends on who or what you're writing it for (excuse the ending preposition). For instance, if this is for college credit, your prof is probably going to be looking for lots of "eduspeak:" buzzwords and catch phrases that are popular within the educator community today.

As an example, talking about the 3 R's (Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships) would probably be a wise choice. Likewise, incorporating ideas gleaned from cooperative learning (see kaganonline.com) is probably a good idea as well. Professors even today still consider many of Harry and Rosemary Wong's ideas to be valid; just be careful which ones you use. That's about all I can offer. Hope it helps.

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timbrady | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

I would teach a course called "Utopian Literature." (Actually, I did teach this course many years ago.) The course would start with Plato's "Republic," and it is here that we would establish most of the continuing questions for the rest of the semester/year (the course works best over a full year because "The Republic" takes so long to read and understand). These questions would be things like: what does "equality" really mean (if anything)?; what is the nature of ethics (Myth of the Ring)?; how are we best governed; what do we learn about our reality from the Myth of the Cave? what is the nature of government; how should our "rulers" be educated? selected? how long should they govern? what are the limits of their powers? These are all wonderful questions, especially for our present age. I have always found student response to be great once they get past some of the reading difficulties.

It goes without saying that there is a great deal of keeping up with current events while we read this and all the books in the course, with a great deal of writing in response to the questions that develop.

We would continue with other books such as: "Utopia," (sometimes), "1984," and "Brave New World" (when things don't go all that well), "Erewhon," "Walden II," "We," "This Perfect Day," "It Can't Happen Here, "Looking Backward," and "News From Nowhere." All of this is adaptable.

Works for any students.

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mrerick | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted on

Ummm... I'm leaning towards a Gothic/Horror lit class.  Yeah, Poe can make a brief visit to the curriculum, but I'd like to read the following full length works:  Dracula, Frankenstein, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and then get into some contemporary horror like Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Ann Rice (or is it Anne?).

I'd also like to do a strictly Fantasy/Heroic lit class.  Bring on Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and many of the contemporary authors in this popular genre!

Any Lovecraft in that horror class?  IMO, it would be tough to teach a horror class with Poe and King and not include the main author that ties those two together.

Random non-sensical fact: Metallica (love them!!) starts all of their concerts with an entrance theme based on a poem by Lovecraft - very fitting.

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malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

I can proudly say I've never made it past about 40 pages of any Dicken's book in my entire life!  Even the ones my teachers thought I read.....shhhhhhhh

My perfect class would be advanced sophomores, and we would beat theme study to death.  I'd probably read Lord of the Flies, Great Gatsby, Catcher in the Rye, and Grapes of Wrath.  I'd probably split the year into quarters with those four units, spending all my time on just those readings with integrated writing and research projects.  Then, I'd march down to the supt's office and demand a guaranteed lifetime contract!

Ooooooooo...I am SOOOOOO telling! :)

See, I can politely disagree with mrerick..."Catcher in the Rye"????????  EEEEEEEKKKKK!!!  Quick, paper bag...must breathe in and out slowly...where's my copy of "Great Expectations"????!?!??!?! :)

Okay...now seriously...I love the idea of four separate books with four separate units for each chunk of the year.  That would be fabulous!  That is one thing I'm not thrilled about with our curriculum at my school - Each lit class is expected to get through at least 8-10 books.  Yes, I want the kids to read a lot, but sometimes I feel like I'm just shoving them through the books to get them done.

Maybe with my Shakespeare class, I could divide it into four units - poetry, histories, comedies, tragedies - or something like that.  I'm still batting ideas around in my head over how best to organize it.

8-10 books!!!!!! You must not be on a block schedule. I can barely get through one Shakespeare, Antigone, and one novel. I have sophomores, who are tested to death, and a lot of our time is taken up either getting ready for a state test or taking that test. We're also on a 12-month schedule (9 weeks on, 2 weeks off, 7 weeks in summer), so we're always either just coming back from break or eagerly awaiting a break. How can you cover that many books? Do you use lit. circles?

I don't even know what a block schedule is! :)  I just plan for them to spend anywhere from 2-5 weeks on each book - some of them go faster than others ("Hound of the Baskervilles," for example, is a 2-week book, while "Henry V" is 5 weeks).  I get 4-5 done first semester and the rest done second semester.  I also supplement with a poetry unit in the spring, as well as having the kids learn lines from whatever play they're reading for our Shakespeare Festival.

What are lit circles???  That sounds very interesting!

In the block schedule, we have the students for 90 minutes a day for 18 weeks. That's it. We have to cram a whole year's worth of material into that time, plus making sure we cover all the standards for the state test.

Lit circles are small reading groups, sort of like a book club within the class. Groups either take turns reading books or read a book and report on it to the whole class.

Check out this web site for a better explanation:

http://www.webenglishteacher.com/litcircles.html

 

That is amazing...90 minutes per day, 18 weeks, an entire year?  Phew, I guess I won't complain about the 8-10 books I have to get through in a year!

I looked at the lit circles idea, but because my classes are so tiny (8th English - 4 kids, 9th English, 6 kids, 10th English - 3 kids), it would probably be difficult to implement. But I think they sound great!  Thanks for the info! :)

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

I can proudly say I've never made it past about 40 pages of any Dicken's book in my entire life!  Even the ones my teachers thought I read.....shhhhhhhh

My perfect class would be advanced sophomores, and we would beat theme study to death.  I'd probably read Lord of the Flies, Great Gatsby, Catcher in the Rye, and Grapes of Wrath.  I'd probably split the year into quarters with those four units, spending all my time on just those readings with integrated writing and research projects.  Then, I'd march down to the supt's office and demand a guaranteed lifetime contract!

Ooooooooo...I am SOOOOOO telling! :)

See, I can politely disagree with mrerick..."Catcher in the Rye"????????  EEEEEEEKKKKK!!!  Quick, paper bag...must breathe in and out slowly...where's my copy of "Great Expectations"????!?!??!?! :)

Okay...now seriously...I love the idea of four separate books with four separate units for each chunk of the year.  That would be fabulous!  That is one thing I'm not thrilled about with our curriculum at my school - Each lit class is expected to get through at least 8-10 books.  Yes, I want the kids to read a lot, but sometimes I feel like I'm just shoving them through the books to get them done.

Maybe with my Shakespeare class, I could divide it into four units - poetry, histories, comedies, tragedies - or something like that.  I'm still batting ideas around in my head over how best to organize it.

8-10 books!!!!!! You must not be on a block schedule. I can barely get through one Shakespeare, Antigone, and one novel. I have sophomores, who are tested to death, and a lot of our time is taken up either getting ready for a state test or taking that test. We're also on a 12-month schedule (9 weeks on, 2 weeks off, 7 weeks in summer), so we're always either just coming back from break or eagerly awaiting a break. How can you cover that many books? Do you use lit. circles?

I don't even know what a block schedule is! :)  I just plan for them to spend anywhere from 2-5 weeks on each book - some of them go faster than others ("Hound of the Baskervilles," for example, is a 2-week book, while "Henry V" is 5 weeks).  I get 4-5 done first semester and the rest done second semester.  I also supplement with a poetry unit in the spring, as well as having the kids learn lines from whatever play they're reading for our Shakespeare Festival.

What are lit circles???  That sounds very interesting!

In the block schedule, we have the students for 90 minutes a day for 18 weeks. That's it. We have to cram a whole year's worth of material into that time, plus making sure we cover all the standards for the state test.

Lit circles are small reading groups, sort of like a book club within the class. Groups either take turns reading books or read a book and report on it to the whole class.

Check out this web site for a better explanation:

http://www.webenglishteacher.com/litcircles.html

 

malibrarian's profile pic

malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

I can proudly say I've never made it past about 40 pages of any Dicken's book in my entire life!  Even the ones my teachers thought I read.....shhhhhhhh

My perfect class would be advanced sophomores, and we would beat theme study to death.  I'd probably read Lord of the Flies, Great Gatsby, Catcher in the Rye, and Grapes of Wrath.  I'd probably split the year into quarters with those four units, spending all my time on just those readings with integrated writing and research projects.  Then, I'd march down to the supt's office and demand a guaranteed lifetime contract!

Ooooooooo...I am SOOOOOO telling! :)

See, I can politely disagree with mrerick..."Catcher in the Rye"????????  EEEEEEEKKKKK!!!  Quick, paper bag...must breathe in and out slowly...where's my copy of "Great Expectations"????!?!??!?! :)

Okay...now seriously...I love the idea of four separate books with four separate units for each chunk of the year.  That would be fabulous!  That is one thing I'm not thrilled about with our curriculum at my school - Each lit class is expected to get through at least 8-10 books.  Yes, I want the kids to read a lot, but sometimes I feel like I'm just shoving them through the books to get them done.

Maybe with my Shakespeare class, I could divide it into four units - poetry, histories, comedies, tragedies - or something like that.  I'm still batting ideas around in my head over how best to organize it.

8-10 books!!!!!! You must not be on a block schedule. I can barely get through one Shakespeare, Antigone, and one novel. I have sophomores, who are tested to death, and a lot of our time is taken up either getting ready for a state test or taking that test. We're also on a 12-month schedule (9 weeks on, 2 weeks off, 7 weeks in summer), so we're always either just coming back from break or eagerly awaiting a break. How can you cover that many books? Do you use lit. circles?

I don't even know what a block schedule is! :)  I just plan for them to spend anywhere from 2-5 weeks on each book - some of them go faster than others ("Hound of the Baskervilles," for example, is a 2-week book, while "Henry V" is 5 weeks).  I get 4-5 done first semester and the rest done second semester.  I also supplement with a poetry unit in the spring, as well as having the kids learn lines from whatever play they're reading for our Shakespeare Festival.

What are lit circles???  That sounds very interesting!

amethystrose's profile pic

Susan Woodward | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

Ummm... I'm leaning towards a Gothic/Horror lit class.  Yeah, Poe can make a brief visit to the curriculum, but I'd like to read the following full length works:  Dracula, Frankenstein, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and then get into some contemporary horror like Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Ann Rice (or is it Anne?).

I'd also like to do a strictly Fantasy/Heroic lit class.  Bring on Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and many of the contemporary authors in this popular genre!

mrerick's profile pic

mrerick | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted on

I don't know what it is about Catcher - love that novel.  Holden is one of "maybe THE" my favorite characters.

I was thinking about this topic while grinding out Romeo and Juliet with a class of 18 freshmen boys and had a thought similar to what Jen posted in #15.  How much fun would it be to take a group of AP seniors through a semester of just Shakespeare but completely avoiding the Big 5?  Instead, pick stuff like Richard III, Merchant of Venice, The Tempest, etc.  Maybe even buy big, fat complete anthologies so you could work with different plays each year so it doesn't get old for you.  Wonderful...

linda-allen's profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

I can proudly say I've never made it past about 40 pages of any Dicken's book in my entire life!  Even the ones my teachers thought I read.....shhhhhhhh

My perfect class would be advanced sophomores, and we would beat theme study to death.  I'd probably read Lord of the Flies, Great Gatsby, Catcher in the Rye, and Grapes of Wrath.  I'd probably split the year into quarters with those four units, spending all my time on just those readings with integrated writing and research projects.  Then, I'd march down to the supt's office and demand a guaranteed lifetime contract!

Ooooooooo...I am SOOOOOO telling! :)

See, I can politely disagree with mrerick..."Catcher in the Rye"????????  EEEEEEEKKKKK!!!  Quick, paper bag...must breathe in and out slowly...where's my copy of "Great Expectations"????!?!??!?! :)

Okay...now seriously...I love the idea of four separate books with four separate units for each chunk of the year.  That would be fabulous!  That is one thing I'm not thrilled about with our curriculum at my school - Each lit class is expected to get through at least 8-10 books.  Yes, I want the kids to read a lot, but sometimes I feel like I'm just shoving them through the books to get them done.

Maybe with my Shakespeare class, I could divide it into four units - poetry, histories, comedies, tragedies - or something like that.  I'm still batting ideas around in my head over how best to organize it.

8-10 books!!!!!! You must not be on a block schedule. I can barely get through one Shakespeare, Antigone, and one novel. I have sophomores, who are tested to death, and a lot of our time is taken up either getting ready for a state test or taking that test. We're also on a 12-month schedule (9 weeks on, 2 weeks off, 7 weeks in summer), so we're always either just coming back from break or eagerly awaiting a break. How can you cover that many books? Do you use lit. circles?

malibrarian's profile pic

malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

I can proudly say I've never made it past about 40 pages of any Dicken's book in my entire life!  Even the ones my teachers thought I read.....shhhhhhhh

My perfect class would be advanced sophomores, and we would beat theme study to death.  I'd probably read Lord of the Flies, Great Gatsby, Catcher in the Rye, and Grapes of Wrath.  I'd probably split the year into quarters with those four units, spending all my time on just those readings with integrated writing and research projects.  Then, I'd march down to the supt's office and demand a guaranteed lifetime contract!

Ooooooooo...I am SOOOOOO telling! :)

See, I can politely disagree with mrerick..."Catcher in the Rye"????????  EEEEEEEKKKKK!!!  Quick, paper bag...must breathe in and out slowly...where's my copy of "Great Expectations"????!?!??!?! :)

Okay...now seriously...I love the idea of four separate books with four separate units for each chunk of the year.  That would be fabulous!  That is one thing I'm not thrilled about with our curriculum at my school - Each lit class is expected to get through at least 8-10 books.  Yes, I want the kids to read a lot, but sometimes I feel like I'm just shoving them through the books to get them done.

Maybe with my Shakespeare class, I could divide it into four units - poetry, histories, comedies, tragedies - or something like that.  I'm still batting ideas around in my head over how best to organize it.

mrerick's profile pic

mrerick | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted on

I can proudly say I've never made it past about 40 pages of any Dicken's book in my entire life!  Even the ones my teachers thought I read.....shhhhhhhh

My perfect class would be advanced sophomores, and we would beat theme study to death.  I'd probably read Lord of the Flies, Great Gatsby, Catcher in the Rye, and Grapes of Wrath.  I'd probably split the year into quarters with those four units, spending all my time on just those readings with integrated writing and research projects.  Then, I'd march down to the supt's office and demand a guaranteed lifetime contract!

malibrarian's profile pic

malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

Okay...fuddy duddy here...I'm actually working on a class called "Shakespeare and the English Renaissance," and it's going to be all REALLY OLD READS!!!!! :)  It'll be a 13th-level English class that kids can take if they've moved ahead in our English curriculum - I'm pretty sure I'll have a couple of students ready next year for it.  But in addition to reading, we'll be analyzing film versions of the plays, comparing the First Folio to modern editions, discussing, discussing, discussing...acting out scenes from the plays...reading poetry...anything Elizabethan that I can cram into one year's curriculum!!!  Heck, maybe I'll even make them dress like their favorite character from a play!!!  Who knows?!?! :)

Man, there were a lot of exclamation points in that paragraph...I think I need to go to bed! :)

  Jen-  I hope you didn't take offense!  You are definitely innovative and dedicated.  I would gladly take a class with you! 

I wasn't saying that the older texts aren't valuable, and of course, anything Shakespeare is transcendent.  I would just like to see more "grabbing" texts for middle schoolers.  Oh, somebody out there help me out of the hole I've unitentionally dug!

Jamie, I promise I will never take offense at what you write!!!!!!  Unless, of course, you outright say, "Jen, you are such an idiot...quit making kids read such stupid books!"  Then, I suppose, I would have to sulk a bit!!! :)

I did not take offense at what you wrote...I was just being silly in my response.  I do LOVE old books...I think I mentioned before that I'm the reason our 8th graders read "A Tale of Two Cities"!!!  ACK!!  EEEKKKK!! :)  And I would have stood in line to hear Charles Dickens read his works aloud.  I suspect I'm an accident of the 20th century - I should have been born several centuries ago...but only if I could have had shampoo and toothpaste!!! :)

I LOVE the ideas that are coming out in these discussion boards.  Of course they're not all my cup of tea, and sometimes they are, but I simply can't do any of them because of where I teach.  However, I do have control over our school library, and a great many of the books you all have mentioned are going to be added very soon (look out amazon.com...here I come!)!

By the way, does anyone know off the top of their head how many Lemony Snicket books there are?  My daughter just read the first three and asked me to get "the rest" for our school library...I think there are a lot, though, aren't there?

jeff-hauge's profile pic

jeff-hauge | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

Ooooo what a question.
The reading list would be:
Hamlet
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
As I Lay Dying
Stephen Crane stories (not Red Badge)
Gatsby and Diamond as Big as the Ritz
Death of a Salesman.

I think Seniors after the AP test, when the pressure is off would be nice. 14 kids in the class, around 11 AM.

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