Young Adult Lit/Crit

April 28, 2008

Reflection on Sci-Fi Seminar

Filed under: seminar feedback, Seminar Topics, Seminar! — traverse02 @ 2:26 pm

My seminar this past Thursday went very well. Josh, Jon, Erin and I had a very free-flowing discussion of science fiction in YA literature and how it can enrich our students’ reading lives. The articles I addressed in my seminar showed how science fiction is usually looked down upon as cheap fiction for untalented writers who want to make a quick buck by starting new franchises heavy on action and technology gone mad. While this is true in some ways, the three books I presented were grounded in realism. The science fiction elements were presented very naturally across Little Brother, Be More Chill, and Life As We Knew It. I used these texts because I wanted to show that sci-fi isn’t always about aliens and space travel. These three young adult novels related very human stories. They offer commentary on humanity’s dependence on technology and a variety of social issues faced by young people in our modern world. I also brought along some of my personal favorite sci-fi novels, comics and films to show how these entry-level sci-fi stories can provide a good base for much deeper territory as our students grow older. Many, like the aforementioned Little Brother and the film, Equilibrium, would be perfect companion pieces to 1984 or Fahrenheit 451 and so on and so forth.

I focused on sci-fi because I grew up on it, and since we were asked from the beginning of this course to reflect on our reading lives, I felt it would be best for me to talk about a genre that I am very passionate about. Based on our discussion, which flew by time-wise, it seemed as though I was able to get the group interested, and this, I feel, is the most important aspect of teaching. I can definitely see myself incorporating seminars like this in my own classroom. From what I have experienced as a participant and facilitator, they are engaging and affecting.



April 23, 2008

Performance Seminar

Filed under: Seminar! — jwill7 @ 7:09 pm

Hello everyone.  This is my invitation welcoming anyone to my seminar on YA Literature featuring performing teens.  My seminar is scheduled for two weeks from tomorrow’s class, May 8th.

I will be talking about the following titles:

Lemonade Mouth:  A very entertaining story told from five differing perspectives about the rise of high school garage band.  By far the best book I’ve read this year!

Dramarama:  Summer theater camp is the backdrop for a tale of a turbulent friendship between an unusual theater obsessed girl and her homosexual best friend.

No More Dead Dogs: Sports and Performing Arts square off in the life Wallace Wallace, who once saved the day on the football field and might have to do the same on the auditorium’s stage.

Everyone’s A Critic:  The title is my catch phrase, so naturally I had to get this one.  The second in a series that began with The Four Dorothys.

What I thought would be cool about this topic is that kids can read about kids who are heroes by acting, dancing, and making music.  These stories are told on a level where young readers can easily place themselves in the roles, either for the read or for real!


Sports Seminar

Filed under: Seminar! — Mandy @ 5:35 pm

This is my invitation for you to join my sports seminar next Thursday. I will be focusing on how sports, especially in young adult literature, have the potential to build and/or reveal character. The texts have selected are most appropriate for high school adolescents, and they include:

Dairy Queen by Catherine Murdock: D.J. Schwenk isn’t you average high school girl. She does manual labor on her family’s farm every day, and is determined to try out for her school’s football team, following in the footsteps of her two older brothers. In the meantime, she agrees to train the quarterback from her rival school, while trying to deal with all her familial problems.

Amazing Grace by Megan Shull: Grace Kincaid was a tennis superstar and paparazzi favorite. However, despite all the fame and money, her unhappiness drives her to postpone her tennis career and hide in the Alaskan wilderness so that the media can’t follow her and so she can begin a normal teenage life.

Raiders Night by Robert Lipsyte: Matt Hydek is the co-captain of his high school football team, which has a promising season ahead. However, his team is plagued by drugs, egos, and a newcomer, who is treated inhumanely, forcing Matt to question his morals and character.

Peak by Roland Smith: Peak just made headline news for scaling a skyscraper in NYC. His estranged father promises to take him out of the country until his story dies down in the media. Peak goes with his dad, and the two of them hatch a plan to make Peak the youngest climber to ever reach the top of Mount Everest.

Please join  me!


Mystery Seminar Invite!

Filed under: Seminar! — katefrazer @ 2:34 pm

I would like to extend an invitation to my seminar on the mystery genre.  We will be looking specifically at titles that will appeal to middle school males and exploring what it really takes to write a mystery story.  The three main texts I’ll be focusing on are:

Rat Life by Tedd Arnold
This novel takes place shortly after the Vietnam in a small U.S. town.  Todd, the main character, finds himself mixed up with a teenage war veteran named Rat and a body floating in the river.  Todd’s unique character and the mystery around him unfold together. 

Vanish Actby John Feinstein
This book is both mystery and sports!  How can kids not love it?  Stevie and Susan Carol, budding teenage journalist and unofficial detectives, jump into the controversy surrounding a kidnapped player from the U.S. open.  Lots of action, suspense, and tennis!

The Christopher Killer by Alane Ferguson
Forensic science is the center of this novel.  Cameryn manages convince her dad, the county coroner, that she would make a great assistant.  Suddenly the nice quiet town they live becomes victim of a serial killer.  Cameryn is wants to solve the mystery, even if she ends up in some pretty dangerous situations.

These three books are all quite different, yet by there are many elements of the mystery genre that shine through in each one.  My seminar will look at just what these are and how students can learn from studying “How to write a mystery story.”

April 21, 2008

Autism: the classroom, the literature, the seminar

Filed under: Seminar! — Joyce @ 8:26 pm

As April is Autism Awareness month, I offer a humble seminar on this important topic.

1 in every 150 children in America has autism.

With IDEA, immersion, and early intervention, children who have been diagnosed on the spectrum are able to join mainstream classroom settings more and more. Will you teach a person who has autism? Will you teach the sister or brother of a person who has autism? Will you teach the classmates, peers, and communities of a person who has autism?

The answer, to all of these, is yes.

In my seminar we will discuss literature that includes characters who have autism. We will discuss how literature has changed over time to reflect growing knowledge about the disorder, and ways to enlighten and empower students who live in a time when autism is all around us.

In this seminar we will talk about how autism has been used as metaphor and how metaphor can be difficult for people with autism.

In this seminar we will prepare for awareness. Please join us.


March 26, 2008

Seminar Signups!

Filed under: Seminar! — sunyprof @ 7:15 pm

BEFORE we meet tomorrow, please sign up on the blog for seminar folders from Allison or Sarah. I know they would like to know who is interested in participating in their seminars. Thanks! KES

Children of War: Sarah’s (Cheery) Seminar

Filed under: Seminar! — sostrom @ 8:29 am

Come one, come all (or at least three of you) to a provocative and informative seminar on children of war – specifically in Sierra Leone, Rwanda and Cambodia.  We will also look past the war to the lasting effects and the difficulties that come with moving on and starting over after experiencing the horrors of war.

The seminar will include information about the violence in these countries, encourage discussion about why and how to include this topic in your classroom and provide activities to do with your students.  I hope you will join me for a challenging and important discussion.


Blog Signups for Seminars

Filed under: Seminar! — sunyprof @ 8:25 am

Please sign up on the blog for seminar (we will not do this in class on TH) on the 3rd with Sarah or Allison. That is the fairest way to do this so it’s first come, first served. Allison’s invitation is below. Thanks! KES

March 15, 2008

Seminar for 3/20/08**

Filed under: Seminar! — kariredmond @ 7:11 pm

Okay guys… don’t make me use peer pressure here! I need two more people for my seminar- so sign up please!

Especially if you want to hear about this AMAZING book that came out March 4 called You Know Where to Find Me about what happens after a young adult commits suicide, and who is left to pick up the pieces. A provacative story about loss, coping, and the effects of suicide on other teenagers. I am REALLY excited about this novel and you should be too.

Also: another book on my seminar list is called Impulse gives insight into the “recovery” of three teenagers who were unsuccessful at commiting suicide, and in a very unique stream of consciousness style, gives an up close and personal view of how these teens felt so tragically desperate to end their lives.  Another really great addition to my library that I would love to share with you guys!

 So SIGN UP (don’t make me beg or bribe) 🙂


March 11, 2008

More About My Poetry Seminar

Filed under: Seminar! — erinlbowman @ 3:14 pm

After diving into my topic, I have some more information to get you pumped up for my seminar.

For the seminar, I will have three focus topics:

1- Poetry written by teens- This will showcase a variety of teen poems and collections of poems that teens have written. The collections that I have gotten my hands on reafirm what we talked about with Chris Crutcher last week; teens are having the experiences written in his and other censored books whether we like it or not. I will share some powerful works written by teens, and we can discuss how poetry written by teens both  gives us a telescope into their lives and is much more “real” than poetry written “for” teens.

Though this is what I wanted my whole seminar to be on, there is not a whole bunch of collections of poetry by teens that I could find so…

2- Poetry written for a high school audience- Using collections by various authors I will talk about how certain poems and topics catch the attention of a YA audience . I will also discuss “out loud” poetry and how to get teens to preform their poems.

3- Middle School Poetry- Author Sara Holbrook has composed many collections of poetry that is aimed at the middle school audience with great reviews from kids. I hope to share some of her work with you (if I can get my hands on it).

Hopefully this helps!


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