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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Antony T Smith
B EDUC 538
Bothell Campus

Adolescent Literacy

Examines current issues, research, and innovations in adolescent literacy research and practice. Considers the issues of motivation, comprehension, vocabulary, and multiple literacies including technology and home-school connections. Examines articles by research and teacher leaders in the field.

Class description

In this seminar we will examine current issues in adolescent literacy research and practice. Recent research and innovations in classroom practice have made adolescent literacy a hot topic. We will consider this topic in terms of motivation, comprehension, vocabulary, and multiple literacies including technology and home-school connections. We will read articles by research and teacher leaders in the field, pursue other texts of interest, and participate in book club discussions of current adolescent fiction. Projects for the course include planning and implementing comprehension strategy and vocabulary lessons, participating in book club discussions, and presenting an additional teacher resource or research study to the group. This course is part of the reading endorsement sequence.

Student learning goals

1.0 Common Core – Foundational Knowledge: Candidates have knowledge of the foundations of reading and writing processes and instruction.

3.0 Common Core – Instructional Strategies and Curriculum Materials: Candidates have knowledge of a wide range of instructional practices, approaches, methods, and curriculum materials to support reading and writing instruction.

General method of instruction

This is a hybrid course, with six face-to-face sessions and four online sessions. Themes, concepts, and activities will span these two different session, or module, formats. The course is designed for substantial student participation. In addition to using a variety of resources to provide a basis for common knowledge, students will work collaboratively and independently to identify and explore issues. Course grades will be based on assignments listed below. Criteria for each assignment will be distributed during class. Strong work is indicated by careful analysis of text, scholarly treatment of the issues, and substantial participation in online and in-class discussions. Late assignments without prior consent of the instructor, or for other than unplanned/emergency circumstances, will receive a maximum of 80% credit. Please proofread—by having someone else read your papers—prior to handing in written work. 1. Active participation 2. Online conversation 3. Text analysis and vocabulary lesson 4. Comprehension strategy lessons and reflection 5. Professional materials review

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

For face-to-face sessions, assignments are due the day of class when the session begins. For online assignments, assignments are due by 10 PM on the day of the week the face-to-face sessions are scheduled. Active Participation Please read the assigned texts in advance and come to class prepared to discuss issues raised in the readings. Study questions may be provided for you to consider in preparation for class discussions. In class, follow these guidelines: • Listen carefully to others when they speak • Ask questions when you do not understand what is being said • Extend a line of thought or conversation (e.g. “Could you please elaborate?” “How do you see what you have said as related to what we are discussing?”) Participation points, 10 for each of the six in-person sessions, will be awarded based on in-class discussions and related writing prompts. Online Activities Online activities are based on the two types of reading for this course: Chapters exploring issues of adolescent literacy, and works of fiction for young adults. Blogs: For this first type of reading, you will need to make posts to a blog that you will create on a social networking site. These blog posts will need to relate to concepts raised by assigned readings or in class discussion. A total of four blog posts are required (weeks 2, 4, 6, 8). During our first face-to-face session we will discuss blog-writing as a genre and will review the evaluation criteria for online activities (see below). Book Clubs: One ongoing assignment that will occur online is participation in a virtual book club. For this course you will read four works of adolescent fiction. The first, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Alexie, 2006), is assigned and is required reading. It will be discussed online in a whole-group discussion forum. The other three books will be chosen by you and will be discussed in small groups, or book clubs, both in class and online in book club discussions on the Ning social network. You will take part in two whole-class discussion forums online to explore themes in the Alexie text. Specific discussion prompts and activities, which will be explained in detail in face-to-face sessions, are as follows: 1. Session 2: Discussion forum: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, pages 1-66. Choose a quote to share and discuss, posing a question for others in your group to consider. Respond to others 2. Session 4: Discussion forum: Quotation and response (from O’Donnell-Allen, 2006) for Alexie, p. 130-230 Additionally, you will participate in a series of book club discussions exploring three different texts, choosing from the works of adolescent fiction listed on page 5 of this syllabus. The sequence of the online book clubs is as follows: 3. Session 6: Book Clubs 1st selection, conclusions: Choose 1 ‘essential’ quote or excerpt that reflects something important about a main character in the book. Share and discuss 4. Session 8: Book Clubs: Essential question for inquiry, relating to students’ interests and to a major theme in the book? Forum discussions, 2nd selection (conclusion)

Online Activities Evaluation: Online participation in blogs, discussion forums, and book clubs will be scored using a rubric for a maximum of 15 points each. Comprehension Strategy Lesson and Reflection Using ideas from chapters four, five and six of Adolescent literacy (primarily), you will develop an outline of a comprehension strategy lesson using the Alexie text as the reading material. This lesson outline will need to include a focus on metacognition and on an approach to facilitating and developing discussion of the text that incorporates metacognition. You will also write a brief reflection on the comprehension lesson development process. Specific instructions as well as a straightforward lesson-plan template will be provided in class. Text Analysis and Vocabulary Lesson Drawing upon ideas in chapter seven of Adolescent literacy (primarily), you will analyze the text from book club selection one and develop a sketch of a vocabulary lesson. You will also write a brief reflection on the vocabulary lesson development process. Specific instructions as well as a straightforward lesson-plan template will be provided in class. Professional Materials Review After most chapters in Adolescent literacy is a page called “Connections” that provides additional resources relating to chapter themes. Most of these resources are books, but there are also articles, reports, and websites. Based on your interests, you will need to choose one of these resources and write a review of it. This review will need to summarize the important points or elements of the resource, make connections to major themes in Adolescent literacy, and link to your own interests and/or teaching situation. Specific instructions will be provided in class.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Antony T Smith
Date: 03/02/2012