I have written and published a semester long curriculum guide with five complete units on Values, Bullying, Racism and poverty with Ellen Foster, Suicide, Bullying and the Ripple Effect with Thirteen Reasons Why, and Mental Health.
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Round Table Lessons for Life – hard copy from Amazon
Round Table Lessons for Life – Kindle version from Amazon
Course Description and Rationale:
Round Table is an English elective designed for students who are interested in the discussion of ideas. The course will have a thematic approach, which will combine individual research and reading with public speaking, group discussion, and seminar. Most topics will encompass several areas of study. Students will choose from a variety of literary works and other media. Students will be required to produce at least two major independent projects as well as a number of speeches, essays, and seminars. In addition to the themes explored by the entire class, students will also set individual goals and themes to explore.
Canonical literature will always hold an important place in the English classroom, however it is important to understand the emerging power of young adult literature in reaching our young people. In a time of constant inundation of technology and social media, any opportunity to use literature to reach teens should be used. The Young Adult Library Services Association describes this literature beautifully, outlining its value in: its capacity to offer readers an opportunity to see themselves reflected in its pages. Young adulthood is, intrinsically, a period of tension. On the one hand young adults have an all-consuming need to belong. But on the other, they are also inherently solipsistic, regarding themselves as being unique, which – for them — is not cause for celebration but, rather, for despair. For to be unique is to be unlike one’s peers, to be “other,” in fact. And to be “other” is to not belong but, instead, to be outcast. Thus, to see oneself in the pages of a young adult book is to receive the reassurance that one is not alone after all, not other, not alien but, instead, a viable part of a larger community of beings who share a common humanity (Cart).
Round Table is an elective with an open curriculum so teachers can choose to take each class in any direction they so choose. I have decided to focus this course on social issues that teens face in contemporary society and in which they rarely find the opportunity to research and discuss in the ordinary course of school work. In the 21st century, teens are exposed to more severe experiences in death, substance abuse, mental illness, bullying; however, there is still an old-fashioned wall of silence, the idea that if an issue is not discussed, young adults will not have to deal with it. Since that seems patently untrue, Round Table takes these issues from behind the wall of silence with carefully chosen films and novels, articles and videos. There are multiple units that I have developed in order to accomplish this. I do not use every unit for every course, but judge the needs of each group of students.
Cart, Michael. “The Value of Young Adult Literature.” YALSA. Young Adult Library Services Association, 2008. Web. 29 Sept. 2013.
Goal 1: The learner will be an effective participant in group discussions.
Goal 2: Demonstrates willingness to participate in the seminar discussions by completing all pre-seminar activities to the seminar day.
Goal 3: The learner will demonstrate effective public speaking and research skills. Deliver an effective verbal presentation to the class at least once each semester or grading period.
Goal 4: The learner will demonstrate the ability to worth both independently and collaboratively.
Goal 5: The learner will analyze the personal, social, ethical, and cultural implications of selected readings, films, and class discussions.