Seysl 704 literature across the curriculum fall 2012
Literature Across the Curriculum
Initial Tentative Syllabus
Amy Jo Southworth
Course Type: Asynchronous Online Course
Purpose of the Course
This online course will acquaint participants with the vast field of young adult literature. We will
explore the characteristics of a wide variety of YA literature from diverse authors and about diverse
populations (in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, disability, and sexual orientation). Many of the themes in
these texts also provide opportunities to get adolescents thinking and talking about important societal and
cultural issues. Because it is discipline based, those teaching in middle and secondary grades will
find materials particularly geared to them. In this course, you may encounter ideas that vary
somewhat from those you hold dear or from those you once believed were "etched in stone." Be
assured that there is no underlying goal to change your way of thinking. I only ask that you
explore and clarify issues for yourself.
- This syllabus is a general plan for the course: deviations will be posted on BlackBoard under
-Students with disabilities who require accommodations should contact me as soon as possible.
The course is designed to provide opportunities for students to:
1. Read a wide variety of trade books including traditional and multicultural literature.
2. Read professional literature concerning young adult materials.
3. Become familiar with major authors/illustrators/poets and awards of children's literature.
4. Select and evaluate children's literature for school use.
5. Develop an understanding of how to develop literacy through literature.
6. Create cooperative interdisciplinary units focused around a singular theme.
This course is aligned with the Education Unit’s commitment to preparing educational
professionals to work in diverse urban and suburban communities. Specifically, the knowledge,
skills, and dispositions that candidates will develop/demonstrate at the successful completion of
this course are directly linked to the Education Unit's seven principles: 1) discipline specific
competencies, 2) learning and development, 3) families and urban communities, 4) diversity,
inclusion, democracy and social justice, 5) language and literacy, 6) curriculum, instruction, and
assessment, and 7) technology.
In addition to the trade books which are listed below, you will be required to read and work from
the following book as well as selected course readings that will be posted:
***From Contemplation to Action: Promoting Social Justice Through Children’s Literature
(Rhodes, Wolf and Darvin, 2008) Cummings and Hathaway. This book is available from Amazon.com. All
of the royalties (which are very, very small) will be donated to Sunrise Day Camp which is a camp for children with cancer.
Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor
The Book Thief by Zusak Markus
Tibet through the Red Box by Peter Sis
Kira Kira by Cynthia Kadohata
Henry's Freedom Box by Ellen Levine
Children of the Great Depression by Russell Freedman
Carver: A Life in Poems by Marilyn Nelson
Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan,
Feed by MT Anderson
Group Assignment (you will be assigned to read one of the following texts)
The First Part Last by Angela Johnson
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
Tangerine by Edward Bloom
Bait by Alex Sanchez
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
You are required to check Bb at least biweekly and are responsible for all assignments and notes
that may be included. I will be available via email and should any question arise, please contact
me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Except when noted, you may read the books at your own pace
and post your reactions and responses at any time. Check your QC email regularly.
Relationship of Course to the Education Unit’s Conceptual Framework
This course is aligned with the Core Values of the Education Unit of “promoting Equity,
Excellence, and Ethics in urban schools and communities.” More specifically, the Education
Unit is committed to preparing teachers and educational professionals who:
1 Build inclusive communities that nurture and challenge all learners (Equity)
2 Demonstrate professionalism, scholarship, efficacy, and evidence-based and reflective
practice (Excellence); and
3 Value diversity, democracy, and social justice (Ethics).
Through the exploration of literacy as well as through the exploration of exemplary practices in
curriculum design, adaptation, and instruction, this course also embeds the Standards for
Reading Professionals established jointly by the National Council for the Accreditation of
Teacher Education (NCATE) and the International Reading Association:
1. Foundational Knowledge
2. Instructional Strategies and Curriculum Materials
3. Assessment, Diagnosis, and Evaluation
4. Creating a Literate Environment, and
5. Professional Development
Students with disabilities needing academic accommodation should: (1) register with and
provide documentation to the Special Services Office, Kiely 171; (2) bring a letter to the
instructor indicating the need for accommodation and what type. This should be done during
the first week of class. For more information about services available to Queens students
contact: Pratik Patel, Special Services Office; 171 Kiely Hall; 718-997-5870 (8:00 a.m. to 5:00
p.m.). E-mail address: email@example.com
USE OF STUDENT WORK
All teacher education programs in New York State undergo periodic reviews by accreditation
agencies and the state education department. For these purposes, samples of students’ work are
made available to those professionals conducting the review. Student anonymity is assured
under these circumstances. If you do not wish to have your work made available for these
purposes, please let the professor know before the start of the second class. Your cooperation is
Note on Plagiarism:
Any student who includes material not his or her own in papers, without proper citations, will
automatically receive a failing grade in the course.
CUNY Policy on Academic Integrity
Academic dishonesty is prohibited in The City University of New York and is punishable by
penalties, including failing grades, suspension, and expulsion as provided at: http://qc.cuny.edu/?
**Syllabus is subject to change.
1 Becoming acclimated with Blackboard
2 Posting introductions
3 Obtaining reading material and reading the texts
4 Responding to forum prompts
Week 8: Two page synthesis of Core Text due: submit via email and post to discussion board
Week 9: Digital Book Group Project due: submit via email and post to discussion board forum
Week 11: Final individualized paper due: submit via email
The requirements for the course are: discussion board interactions and responses (30%), CORE
text synthesis (15%), Book Group Collaboration and Digital sharing (25%), and final paper with
lesson plan (30%).
Requirements in order of due dates:
Blackboard reader responses based upon paperback texts/media and participation via
blackboard and email (30%)
1. Reading Posts- For each of the assigned trade books/multimedia texts you will be
expected to post your personal responses as well as address any specific prompts that
may be posted for the books. Your personal response should briefly describe how you
responded to each selection and offer a thoughtful engagement with the issues and
themes raised in the literature using the course’s conceptual framework. If there are
prompts for a particular book, they will be posted on the discussion board. PLEASE
make sure to compose your responses in a word processing program and then cut and
paste them into Bb. Doing so will avoid the unfortunate situation of losing your data.
Grammar, spelling, and diction, must reflect attention to detail.
For each reading assignment you should write a minimum 250 word personal response
and a minimum 50 word response to at least two other classmates postings.
All posting will be done in the designated “discussion section” of Bb.
2. Trade Books/multimedia should be read by week 6 of class (read in order LISTED)
Reading Synthesis for Core text (2-3 pages) due during the 7th
Reading Synthesis: Please write a 2-3 page synthesis on the core text (From Contemplation to
Action: Promoting Social Justice Through Children’s Literature. You will reflect on the meaning
and practice of literacy, as well as literacy and identity. You may reference additional readings.
This paper will allow you to consider dominant school based assumptions of literacy. You will
also evaluate how your beliefs concerning literacy are developing and changing. **It is expected
that your response will refer to specific passages ie. be textually-based.
week of the course; submit as an attachment to discussion board and
This paper may be written in first person. It should adhere to APA format.
Digital Book Group Project: (25%)
As a group, you will be assigned a text from the list above. Each member of the group will create
a short plan for teaching an aspect of the text germane to his or her specific subject. Each plan
will be part of your group's unit.
For example, a group assigned Roll of Thunder... would have a social studies teacher mapping
the historical concepts such as injustice of segregation and the hypocrisy of Plessey vs. Ferguson
or the levels of radical resistance in a movement, while the teacher of English might teach the
various degrees of memoir and the allegory of the text, the math teacher would try to figure
monetary equivalents or figure the budgets of Mr. Granger and his tenants, while a music teacher
would focus on slave songs, the health teacher on foods, medicine, the physical education...
The central idea is that you are using literacy to highlight the ideas essential to your discipline
and to explore the various aspects of the human condition. It could be as short as a week for an
art teacher, or as long as three for a teacher of English. It should include a day-by-day plan
including objectives, activities, assessments and possible extensions. Keep in mind that your plan
should reflect the concept that you are teaching it as a collective unit; your lessons should not
**Please use Common Core State Standards to help you select texts and create the unit.
Write a collective 5-7 page paper that connects the text to 5-6 others that have not been assigned.
You should select one major theme that ties the works together. The paper should reference
specific parts of the texts you are using. Include an annotated bibliography of all texts. You may
want to use a collaborative paper-writing utility like Google docs.
Due: Week 9
Individual Final Paper: Applying Core Text due week 11th
The paper should be about 5-7 pages. Be sure to use direct quotes from the books. Be sure to
explain the quotations and analyze them in relation to the purpose of the paper.
Topic: Daniels and Zemelman (2004) argue for a balance of "mirrors and windows" when
presenting literary texts. They believe that "some of what students read in school should hold up
a mirror to them, by including their story, their culture, their experience. Also, books should act
as windows where students look at not their own reflection, but upon other people's, other time
periods, other stories, and values, and ways of life" (59).
Deconstruct this quote. How do parts of this quote relate to some of the texts read this
semester? Avoid summarizing the texts. (Suggestion: discuss 2-4 texts.)
A. As you conclude the paper, facilitate a discussion based upon support in Part 1. Include
your discussion prompt in this section. Then, synthesize and reflect on how the
B. How will aspects of this course be useful to your teaching life? (Reflective)
**You may label sections of the paper Part I and Part II.
Due: Week 11
Set-up of Blackboard:
*During the first week, I would suggest navigating through the site. Click on the side tabs
to view the content of each section and understand its function. During this week:
introductions should be posted, list of e-mail verification will be built, and book groups will
begin to be formed.
Syllabus: Posting of the initial syllabus and any syllabus updates
Assignment: Written Assignments are posted on the syllabus and will be individually posted
under this tab.
Course Documents: Any additional information for the trade books or any supplemental course
material (articles) will be posted under Course Documents.
Discussion Board: For each assigned text a forum will posted. In order to respond to a forum,
please click on the forum on the title, then “thread”. Cut and paste post. In order to respond to a
peer’s comment, click on the peer’s thread and click on “reply”.
-Other forum prompts will indicate to upload an attachment so that the class may be able view to
your work. Please be sure to save the content of the work in a Word Document.
-The synthesis, digital collaboration, and final paper should also be submitted to me via email at
-Any questions that you may have please submit via email as well.
Instructions for all submitted work:
1 Typed, double-spaced with a one-inch margin.
2 Page number on every page (including appendices or attachments, if any), at the right
3 Size 12 standard font.
4 Include a standard cover page.
5 Include a reference list. Use the APA reference style that is described in the Publication
Manual of the American Psychological Association.
Satisfactory work: All deadlines met, assignments meet requirements, participation in all
activities and learning experiences, general understanding of course content shown in reflection
papers, preparing for class with readings and ongoing assignments.
Above Satisfactory work: High quality work that shows time and effort, thoughtful reflections in
written work and discussions, showing insight and perception, applications of readings and class
discussions to assignments, active participation in activities, and work beyond the expectations
Below Satisfactory work: Assignments do not meet all requirements, poor participation in
activities and learning experiences, assignments submitted past deadline, weak evidence of
content knowledge shown in reflection papers, ill-prepared for discussions of readings,
unprofessional/disrespectful comments during class discussions. You will be informed if you are
performing below satisfactory work.
An essay is not like a math problem in which there is only one right answer. Grades, therefore, depend on
a number of variables: the material being emphasized in class, the expectations of students at the point in
the course the assignment is given, and the essay’s accomplishment of the goals of the assignment.
Coherent controlling purpose
Sufficient and relevant development
Clear sense of unity and order
Logical transitions between paragraphs
Effective introductions and conclusions
Smooth, readable prose throughout
Absence of clichés
Appropriate of clichés
Appropriate word choice
Grammar and Mechanics
Agreement of subjects and verbs
Agreement of pronouns and antecedents
Sentence structure (no comma splices, fused
Spelling, punctuation, and capitalization
Standard English usage and idioms
This essay is characterized by masterful control of purpose and by graceful expression. The content is of
compelling interest; the organization and style enhance the meaning. The author regards his or her
audience as intelligent and discriminating. The essay has no mechanical problems.
This essay has the clarity and coherence of a competent piece of writing, yet also has depth of content.
The organization is logically and rhetorically effective. It displays independent thought and a concern for
careful expression with no mechanical problems.
C: Competent or adequate
This essay is characterized by clarity of purpose and coherence of structure. It contains some originality
of thought, yet the content is usually not developed beyond the obvious, and the organization is
predictable. It has few, if any, mechanical problems (no more than three or so).
D: below expectations
This essay is characterized by any number of the following problems:
Inadequate, irrelevant, or illogical development
Little originality of thought
Reliance on clichés
Inappropriate word choices
Ineffective sentence style Many or significant
problems with grammar and mechanics
This essay is characterized by several problems in one or more of the areas specified in the “D” essay
Suggestions for Constructive Discussion Board Responses
Discussion board responses:
The discussion has two parts: a) original response to readings, b) replies to peers.
Helpful Hints in developing reflections:
1 Two Key Points I Have Questions About/Found Confusing/ Disagreed With: Cite at
least 2 specific pieces of information from the reading noting the chapter/page/author and
what remaining questions you still have, why you are confused, why you disagree. Cite how
these points relate to your specific teaching situation with personal reactions/analysis.
2 One Point I Would Like More Information About: Cite at least one piece of information
from the reading that you would like to explore further. Cite how this issue relates to you in
your specific teaching learning situation with personal reactions/analysis.
Some ideas for improving the quality of your discussion…
1 I recognize the importance of . . .
2 It is important to learn/know about . . .
3 I see this . . . in my classroom
For the most part, when you start with openers such as these, you are not adding anything
additional/new to the discussion. Provide some specific examples of what you are seeing in
school/class or in your environment related to the reading/discussion. Following are some ways
to elaborate on the discussion (these were offered by a graduate of our program, Suann Claunch
1 I agree with___ because____
2 I disagree with ___ because ____
3 I wonder about _____ because ____
4 According to ____
5 The evidence shows___
6 In my classroom, I see _____ and this seems to confirm/contradict _____
In other words, don’t just state an opinion. Support your point of view with specific examples
and connections to other readings, discussions, etc.