Literature & Writing Through the Great Books
ALL NEW STORIES FOR SPRING SEMESTER!
Teacher: Stephanie Berry
Cost: $256 or $64/month for 4 months
Material Fee: $40
Homework: required. Students must read the stories prior to class. This is a reading, discussion and writing class, so students must also be prepared to write short essays on a weekly basis. Instruction on literary writing will be provided. Minimum of 1 hour homework weekly.
Join us as we read from the Great Books series and add in some great discussions on events that confuse our characters, conflicts that our characters survive, and choices they make. The Great Books series is taught in an inquiry model, so the students arrive at what is true for them based on thinking about and discussing questions about their reading. In this model, students learn to question the surface of what a story is telling them, and to look deeper into what the author is wanting the reader to think about. Stories like Animal Farm can be read simply as a fable about talking animals that overtake a farm, or students can understand the underlying message about how freedoms can erode slowly; our warning on the truth behind communism. In either perspective, the story is a great read! But learning to understand underlying themes helps readers to discover more truths in history and life, and begin to see themselves in the pages that we read. What choice would I make? Is that the moral choice? Would I have the strength to make that choice? Oh no, do I do that???!
Students will be expected to read each passage twice prior to class and come prepared to discuss. But don't worry! The short stories range from 8-15 pages long, and the reading is very entertaining! Even students that have only a few hours per week available for reading, writing, learning about geography and cultural differences, and discussing our Great Books will benefit greatly from their exposure to America's very best writers, advanced vocabulary, high quality readings and deep discussions.
We'll read short stories, essays, poems, and works of fiction. All of the stories within the Great Books series carry deep and meaningful themes that help readers to not only develop vocabulary and analysis skills, but to also find out more about themselves and how they see the world.
Student perspectives to key inquiries will be posted to a protected blog for the class, so there will be weekly writing assignments. Students will EITHER be blogging their own response, or responding to blogs by a fellow student. We write our initial thoughts about the story on the board at the beginning of each class, and then discuss the story in class and see if we can find a deeper meaning. In this way, students learn the value of being in discussion about literature. It is only through the discussion that the deeper themes become visible. Once our understanding deepens, the writing prompt will be given out and a small number of students will write the about the story, with the rest of the class responding. Everyone will write a minimum of 4 papers (with revisions) in this class, and everyone will also learn how to help someone improve upon their paper, an invaluable skill to help their own writing.
The pace at which we progress through the Great Books will in some ways be dependent upon how well the students enjoy the topics. We will be reviewing new vocabulary on a weekly basis and I have created sporadic projects to help to develop themes within the books.