I mean that in a two ways. One, we are reading Dread Nation this week. Here we have an example of genre within genre. Dread Nation is certainly written for a YA audience. I think you will find many of the kinds of themes we've been talking about all semester long. However, DN is also an example of another genre--fantasy/horror. As genre's go, this is a pretty popular one for all ages. Many of you are avid readers of the genre. I have to admit, I'm not really. I've only read one Stephen King novel in my entire life (The Stand--one that is weighing heavily on my mind these days). And I could barely get through The Lord of the Rings bbooks.
No, most of my high level nerd cred comes from an unflagging devotion to the original Star Wars. Though I've come to believe that Rogue One is the best Star Wars movie ever made (it wasn't a boy who saved the universe--it was a girl!).
Anyway, I'll be very curious what you have to say about this novel in book club this week. And I'm equally interested in reading your responses to the challenge I am about to present to you. In the novel Dread Nation, as is the case for us living through Covid right now, school had to change. This summer, if enrollments hold, I'll teach a class about how to teach writing. And as part of that class, I've decided that I need to prepare my students for how to teach writing online for the very real possibility that, in the course of their lifetime, they might actually have to do that. Each week, I've asked you to think about how you would teach a test class a particular reading. But we've always assumed you'd have to do it face-to-face.
But the question is, what if you can't?
So, this week, let's imagine you are teaching during this very pandemic. You are working with 11th graders at Bridgewater Raynham. We taught a 9th grade class early on in the semester. Let's use the same profile for the class, but place them in 11th grade--I think that's a good age range for this novel. And, to be clear, there is a lot more going on in it, as you will see, than horror/fantasy.
But now you are teaching this novel to a class online. I'll make it easier for you: most of your students have computers at home and/or iPads. All of them have phones, of course. And they all have internet. Perhaps it helps for you to imagine you are a student in that class, dealing with all of the issues that you are currently dealing with or would have dealt with as an 11th grader. No imagine a classroom of yous. You can decide the kind of classroom management or synchronous technology you have to use.
Most important to remember is what you want students to get out of this experience as readers. What are the literacy goals and how will you achieve them in this online setting?