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.

Shared Docs & Prompts

Shared Docs & Prompts

We’ll link to our shared discussion notes here. Most of the time you will post in the notes by book choice. So, for example, if you are reading Series of Unfortunate Events, you’ll post questions/quotes there. 

You can also find our in-class prompts and quotes here. You may find this helpful to guide your reading.

1) Do a close analysis of one of the characters from your YA Novel:

  • What are his/her physical characteristics?
  • How does he/she interact with other characters?
  • How does he/she interact with the world around him/her?
  • What are this character’s behavioral traits?
  • Choose a sentence or two that is significant for this character. What do we learn about this character from the passage you’ve selected? What do we know about children/childhood from this character?
  • Draw your character: what do you think he or she looks like from the description? What’s your interpretation?

2) Overall, tell us about your YA novel so far. Are you liking it? Would you recommend it? Why or why not?

Take Away Ideas for Miller. Link to doc HERE

Tuesday, Sept 12

Work with series books. Here are some questions to get you started, but feel free to talk about whatever interests your group:

  • What do you know about your series so far?
  • What roles are played by adults (parents, teachers…)?
  • What’s the tone (the feel/mood) of the series?
  • What identities are offered to kids in your series?
  • What does this series seem to want its readers to talk about?
  • What are the underlying theme(s) of the series?
  • What connections did you make when reading this series (connections to your own life and experiences, connections to other texts like books, films, etc., connections to your knowledge of the world). How did making those connections help you better understand the book(s) and what it seems to be saying?

Thursday, Sept 7

Make Cycle Routines: Two Week Cycles

Week One of Make Cycle:

  • Tuesdays: Start reading new book: always have current book and next book with you. Time for silent reading in class. 
  • Thursdays: Continue book discussions and picture book presentations

Week Two of Make Cycle:

  • Tuesdays: Pose questions in G+ Community about current readings and work with Miller chapter
  • Thursday: picture book presentations and prep/work/brainstorm for “Makes”

Sundays: End two week cycle with Goodreads review and sharing “Make” in G+ Community

Bloggers write reflections about the two week cycle and feature peer’s makes. Bloggers do not need to complete the make for that cycle. They are noticing peer’s good work instead. 

Repeat for next make cycle

Miller QW: what are take aways for you from Miller’s intro and first chapter? What do you remember about reading in school? What made you want to read and what turned you off to reading? What about now?

Share out with your teams and find a passage for us to talk from as a class.

Mac Barnett TED talk

Tuesday, Sept 5

Work with your questions and passages. We’ll share out what you discussed.

  • In what ways does Emma Donoghue undermine the conventions of the fairy tale?
  • In what ways are the women in these stories the same? In what ways different?

Exquisite Corpse poem

Thursday, Aug 31

To Read: “Cinderella” (Tatar pp. 101-137) “Cinderella’s Life at the Castle”

To Do during class:

Tatar identifies two kinds of tales that folklorists say belong to the “Cinderella” cycle: stories where a young woman is abused by her stepmother and stepsisters and stories where a young woman must fend off the illicit advances of her father. Investigate these stories for ideas about gender roles and relationships—write out your ideas about the ways each kind of story reveals social attitudes towards women, men, and their relationships.  Use at least two stories from the “Cinderella” cycle as evidence for your ideas.

In Search of Cinderella

From dusk to dawn,

From town to town,

Without a single clue,

I seek the tender, slender foot

To fit this crystal shoe.

From dusk to dawn,

I try it on

Each damsel that I meet.

And I still love her so, but oh,

I’ve started hating feet.

        Shel Silverstein

..And Then the Prince Knelt Down and Tried to Put the Glass Slipper on Cinderella’s Foot

I really didn’t notice that he had a funny nose.

And he certainly looked better all dressed up in fancy clothes.

He’s not nearly as attractive as he seemed the other night.

So I think I’ll just pretend that this glass slipper feels too tight.

–Judith Viorst

Tuesday, Aug 29

What makes a story a fairy tale? How do you know a story is in the fairy tale genre? Let’s make a list of elements we expect to see.

Which of those elements appear in LRRH?

Download (DOC, 38KB)


  • Consider the following quotes:

“The whole point of stories is not ‘solutions’ or ‘resolutions’ but a broadening and even heightening of our struggles.”

“Often stories embody the moral contradictions and inconsistencies in our personal lives, and thus give context and meaning to the social and political narratives of society at large.”

      –Robert Coles, child psychiatrist, author The Call of Stories

If Coles is right that “the whole point of stories is not ‘solutions’ or ‘resolutions’ but a broadening and even heightening of our struggles,” what might stories in the “Little Red Riding Hood” cycle be about?  What kinds of human struggles, both real and metaphoric, do these stories address and explore?  Refer to specific details from the stories in the cycle in your response.

  • In the introduction to the book, Tatar lays out the debate around the cultural role of fairy tales. She explains, “Some advocate for the recuperation and critique of the classic cannon; others have called for the revival of ‘heretical’ texts (stories repressed and suppressed from cultural memory) and the formation of a new canon; still others champion rewriting the old tales or inventing new ones” (xiii). She goes on to quote Dworkin who sees fairy tales as imprinting cultural absolutes; Dworkin argues that we take the roles offered in fairy tales as “real identity.”

Unpack this debate given your reading of the Little Red Riding Hood Cycle; what is afforded by these various “tellings” of this story? What are the implications of these tales in terms of identity construction? What roles are offered in the tales for children to imagine? How is this helpful/problematic? Point to specific tales as we think through these ideas.

  • In your opinion, is Red Riding Hood better off following Bugs Bunny home in “What Bugs Bunny Said to Red Riding Hood”?  Why or why not?  Explain your thinking.

Thursday, Aug 24

QW: What kind of reading do you do outside school? Do you read differently outside of school? Does your out of school reading connect with the reading you do for school? How so? Or why not?

In the Williams’s article, the author questions the way we construct “readers”:

“…what does it mean to identify our students (or ourselves) as readers? What characteristics do we as teachers assume someone possesses when he or she is (or is not) a reader? And how does that affect what we expect from students when we assign them a text to read?”

Try to answer those questions: what are the characteristics of a reader? How do his ideas compare with your experiences with reading in and outside of school?

Find another passage in your group to talk through with us: what does the passage say, what does that mean in your own words, why does it matter?

Our expectations of reading in our class. What do we mean by reading? Reading with a teacherly eye…

Tuesday, Aug 22

As you read Love That Dog, look for clues about Miss Stretchberry’s pedagogy. Please discuss with your group:

  • What is she doing with her students?  How do you imagine her classroom being arranged?  What activities do you think go on in connection with the poetry unit?  Why is her work with students effective?