Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Questions to Ponder

One of the bloggers I read recently posted questions she has been pondering as of late. I thought I would respond with my own musings. Two of the things Healigan is pondering: "the move to retreat to young adult fiction for high school students that our student teacher is researching in her classes (not very happily either)" and "the negative judgment of the classics as worthwhile."

I actually am quite passionate about using young adult literature in the classroom. I do not push the classics aside to read only YA novels, however. I usually use them as bridges to the classics. I have always been convinced that young adult literature is a valuable tool to use in the classroom. A book that gave me ideas for its use was From Hinton to Hamlet: Building Bridges Between Young Adult Literature and the Classics by Sarah K. Herz and Donald R. Gallo. I believe that common themes, archetypal characters, and symbols can be found in YA novels and the classics. YA novels have allowed me to have discussions in the classrooms that I never had previously. Young Adult literature is a topic that I will explore when we are finally finished for the summer!

Sneak Peak: One book that I feel that I have been successful with using is Chris Crutcher's Whale Talk. I have used it with Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities. I will post my lesson plans for these novels at a later date.


  1. Hi--what years and abilities do you teach? I admit I have different feelings about this topic depending on the year. This year, I taught mid level junior British Lit and Honors British Lit. So I was real interested in seeing what they thought of Terry Pratchett and Jane Austen, but did not add British YA. I have read some and loved it, but found that same things true of it as the "canon" the British sense of humor and view of the world is not ours--we did have a fund Monty Python day near the end of the year (though some of the kids said "you so crazy Ms Healey")

  2. In the past, I have taught 9th grade lit/comp (all levels), and I have used such books as Caroline B. Cooney's Goddess of Yesterday with The Odyssey. Currently, I teach 10th lit/comp pre-AP and 12th (British lit/comp)--which at my school is a mix of college prep and career tech. The Chris Crutcher novel was used with the 10th grade class. The only YA novel that I have tried with Brit. lit is Ophelia by Lisa Klein. I used it in a reading circle, but not with Hamlet! (I actually don't teach Hamlet; I teach Macbeth, but I LOVED the book. She recently published one called Lady Macbeth's daughter, but I didn't like it as much.) I have not had any other success using other YA lit with Brit. lit class; I just haven't found anything that I think fits. I do not read Terry Pratchet myself, but my husband loves him. If I ever taught AP lit, I think I might include Pratchet there because I just don't think, in general, that students will get the humor or appreciate it. So, I agree with you there. That is not to say that I haven't seen pockets of kids who I thought would enjoy it. I am looking forward to this summer when maybe I can find another book or two to use.

  3. I don't often dig into non-fiction, theory-type books in my free time, but I am VERY excited to pick up that book you rec'd by Herz & Gallo! Thanks!