English 341: It’s Like This

Google+ Community

We will share most of our work in a Google+ Community. We can upload images, respond to each other’s ideas, and share links and artifacts here.


Course calendar can be found above and HERE.



The course is organized around a series of “make cycles.” These cycles will allow us to develop routines: discussing reading, creating/doing things with the reading, and sharing reading. Within each cycle, we will pose questions, write a review on Goodreads, and make an artifact that represents the ideas in our books. In addition, a few students will work as featured bloggers at the end of each make cycle. The job of our bloggers is to highlight some take away ideas from our work and curate some of our favorite books and artifacts. The featured bloggers will not be responsible for a “make” in that cycle, but instead will notice the interesting work the rest of the class is doing and highlight that work for our community.

  1. Make Cycle 1: Fairy Tales (Kim provides readings; links in calendar)
  2. Make Cycle 2: Series Books (Series of Unfortunate Events, Weenies, Babymouse, OR Origami Yoda Series)
  3. Make Cycle 3: Chapter Books (George, The War That Saved My Life, The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Out of My Mind, OR After Tupac & D Foster)
  4. Make Cycle 4: Free Verse Children’s Novels (The Crossover, Inside Out & Back Again, Enchanted Air, OR Brown Girl Dreaming)
  5. Make Cycle 5: Graphic Novels (Smile, Anya’s Ghost, El Deafo, Roller Girl, OR Flora and Ulysses)
  6. Make Cycle 6: Young Adult (YA) Novels (Ready Player One, Eleanor & Park, Bone Gap, Stargirl, OR Going Bovine)

In addition, trios will share picture books with us almost each week, so we can expand our picture book resources, particularly an awareness of diverse books and authors.

We will end the course by writing a reflection and manifesto about our beliefs related to the teaching of reading.

Here are the assignment descriptions:

Discussion Questions (6@5 pts each: 30 points) 

For each make cycle, you will post a passage you like, a quote, and a couple of questions that can guide our discussions. We will post in our G+ Community. This is informal work: a way for us to share in the inquiry work of the course. Due before class on alternating Tuesdays.

Picture Book Presentations (20 points)

Trios will be randomly assigned an author from the list below (trading with another person is totally fine). Find books by that author in CSUC children’s book collection, Butte County Library, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etc.

Presentation: Share book titles, author info, dates, awards. Give us a feel for one of the books. Read some of it out loud. Show the illustrations and discuss how the art work and type face contributes to the meaning of the book. Discuss what the book says about the child, about childhood and the world of childhood. Think about the plot, the symbols, the relationships, gender construction (what it means to be a boy or a girl?). What are the values underlying the book? Engage us in an activity connected to the book and its ideas.

Try to keep presentations to 15 min (I won’t time you, but it would be great to stay around 15 min). Links to our picture book authors below. I’ll give you time in class to plan with your picture book team.

Peter H Reynolds

Carol Boston Weatherford

Yuyi Morales

Kevin Henkes

Mac Barnett

Jon Scieszka

Ezra Jack Keats

Lauren Castillo

Mo Willems

Barb Rosenstock

David Wiesner

Matt de la Peña

Javaka Steptoe

  • Various due dates. See calendar.

“Makes”: Sharing Artifacts Based on Our Readings (5 @10 pts: 50 points)

We will end each make cycle by creating an artifact that represents the ideas in your book. You will have a lot of choice here in how you (or as a group) decide to share your book. You can create a visual map, a book trailer or short film, give an Ignite talk, act out a scene for our class, write a song, write fanfiction…lots of possible ways to share. You can decide to do your own thing or work in teams.  

You will also write a brief artist’s/writer’s statement explaining what you were attempting to do with this make: how did you approach this artifact? what worked? what did not work out as planned?

Due on alternating Sunday nights in our Google+ community. You can upload an image of your artifact, share a link, share a video, etc.

Here are some great examples from a previous semester.  Another example HERE.

Reviews on Goodreads (5@5 pts: 25 points)

You’ll create an account on Goodreads and write reviews for the books you read at the end of each make cycle. Goodreads is a great space to find recommendations and a community of readers.

  • Sept 22: series books review (Series of Unfortunate Events, Weenies, Babymouse, OR Origami Yoda Series)
  • Oct 6: chapter book (George, The War That Saved My Life, The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Out of My Mind, OR After Tupac & D Foster)
  • Oct 20: poetry & verse book (The Crossover, Inside Out & Back Again, Enchanted Air, OR Brown Girl Dreaming)
  • Nov 3: graphic novel (Smile, Anya’s Ghost, El Deafo, Roller Girl, OR Flora and Ulysses)
  • Nov 17: YA novel (Ready Player One, Eleanor & Park, Bone Gap, Stargirl OR Going Bovine)

Featured Blogger (25 points)

At the end of each make cycle, 7 students will write a blog. You can work in pairs/trios if you prefer (at the end of each cycle, this means we will have 4-7  blog posts that we can use for our final reflections at the end of the course).

The blog will summarize the reading we have been doing in that two weeks, reflect on the ideas we’ve discussed, highlight take aways we want to remember from our work, and feature some of the artifacts from peers. Bloggers will keep notes over the two weeks to support this curation and reflection work. We will write these in Google Docs and then Kim will edit and post to our course website.

Bloggers will not complete the make for that cycle, so that they can focus on their peers’ artifacts. Blogs are due to Kim by Tuesday mornings following your assigned make cycle.

  • Sept 26 Blog for Make Cycle 2: Series Books–Alison, Tracie, Jorden, Savannah, Colleen, Kim
  • Oct 10 Blog for Make Cycle 3: Chapter Books–Megan, Sean, Jamie L., Morgan, Tanpreet, Jodi S, Shannon
  • Oct 24 Blog for Make Cycle 4: Free Verse Children’s Novels–Hailee, Chantel, Jody M, Brittanee, Alondra, Taylor, Ariel
  • Nov 7 Blog for Make Cycle 5: Graphic Novels–Anna-Lena, Sydney, Isaura, Leslie, Ben, Katie, Teija
  • Nov 28 Blog for Make Cycle 6: Young Adult (YA) Novels–Sierra, Elizabeth, Mallory, Jamie B, Sarah, Abby, Kelsey

Here’s an example that may be helpful.

Reflection and Manifesto (30 points)

We’ll end the semester with a teaching reading manifesto and a reflection on what we’ve learned about the teaching of reading in our course.

You’ll start this paper by reflecting on your work in the class. Read through your discussion questions, think about our Reading in the Wild conversations, your artifacts, silent reading time, your participation on Goodreads, your blogs–what have you learned about teaching reading, about your own reading habits, about students’ reading practices? What is challenging about teaching reading, what is surprising, what do you look forward to?

Then, turn to the creation of a bulleted list…your personal manifesto about teaching reading. Think of it as a “This I Believe About the Teaching of Reading…” Here’s an example from one of my colleagues as it relates to writing: “Things We Know For Sure About the Teaching of Writing…”

Here are some examples from previous semesters:





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