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Learning Recommendations:  Students considering this course should enjoy reading, viewing, analyzing, and creating fantasy and science fiction compositions, and be motivated to participate in small group and whole class discussions daily.

General Description:  Students will explore fantasy and science fiction compositions in terms of literary and visual literacy theory, historical context, critical evaluation, and most importantly with respect to social and personal relevance. Students will learn not only to read and view critically, but also to respond effectively and creatively in various ways (e.g. writing, discussions, presentations, video, digital compositions, and artwork). While primarily focused on student choice and reading novel length texts through book clubs and independent selection, the course will also include a survey of films, art, poetry, short stories, screenplays, novellas, novel excerpts, and graphic novels related to fantasy and science fiction. Once acquainted with the history and evolution of each genre, students will then explore major subgenres before they evaluate the personal, social, and cultural ramifications of select novels. The course culminates with a student-created composition and presentation that demonstrates the student’s interpretation and critique of the genres.

Content:  All course content is anchored in Washington’s Common Core State Standards for 12th grade. Students can expect to cover 1. historical overview of the development of fantasy and science fiction, 2. definitions of key terms and techniques related to each genre, 3. in each work, primary focus on theme, with attention to narrative structure, style, figurative language, and characterization, 4. understanding the various trends leading to subgenres, 5. in select works, evaluation and discussion of class, gender, racial, and environmental representation  6. comparison and critique of crossover compositions, and 7. creation and presentation of original compositions (e.g. story, film, script, score, blog, multimedia, etc.) reflecting genre specific and crossover elements.

Novel selections are driven by student choice from book clubs and independent library check-outs. These novels are supported by teacher selected supplemental materials such as films, art, poetry, short stories, screenplays, novellas, novel excerpts, and graphic novels. Writing practice both in and out of class will include short and extended pieces demonstrating narrative, informative/expository, and argumentative craft.  Listening and speaking skills will include (but are not limited to) informal classroom discussions, Socratic Seminars, and formal presentations.

Strategies:  Students learn through a combination of:

  • student choice with book club and independent book selection
  • model texts and passages study (by author, teacher, and student)
  • digital collaboration tools
  • direct instruction, including lecture and note-taking
  • independently directed note-taking, reading, and analysis
  • large and small group discussions
  • independent and group project development and presentation
  • journal writing, both structured and unstructured
  • multiple draft writing in conjunction with peer review, evaluation, and feedback
  • book and media talks
  • reading and writing conferences with teacher
  • essential questions and thematic topics
  • teacher prescribed and student selected assessments
  • multimedia/genre project and presentation
  • critical lenses
  • narrative, informative/expository, and argumentative compositions (e.g. essay, student film, digital media curation, artistic rendering, etc.)

Homework:  When appropriate, students should dedicate twenty to thirty minutes each day to homework for this class. Additionally, students are expected to create and follow a daily reading scheduled agreed upon by the course instructor. Students should plan to this time outside of class to review notes, study for quizzes, and read. Some time to work on extended composition/presentation projects will be allotted during class, but completion of these assignments may require time beyond the recommended twenty to thirty minutes per day.