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Middle School Literature-Based Language Arts: STEM Novels and Science Fiction

Malikai Bass M.A
Average rating:5.0Number of reviews:(260)
In this seven week course, learners will read three novels that explore the range of ways science can interact with fiction including stem novels and speculative science fiction while developing spelling, grammar, and composition skills.

Class experience

Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.
Describe how a particular story's or drama's plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone
Analyze how a particular sentence, chapter, scene, or stanza fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the theme, setting, or plot.
Explain how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text.
Compare and contrast texts in different forms or genres (e.g., stories and poems; historical novels and fantasy stories) in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics.
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
Identify key steps in a text's description of a process related to history/social studies (e.g., how a bill becomes law, how interest rates are raised or lowered).
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.
Identify aspects of a text that reveal an author's point of view or purpose (e.g., loaded language, inclusion or avoidance of particular facts)
Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.
Analyze the relationship between a primary and secondary source on the same topic.
 Write narratives to develop real or imagined
experiences or events using effective technique,
relevant descriptive details, and well-structured
event sequences.
a. Engage and orient the reader by establishing a
context and point of view and introducing a
narrator and/or characters; organize an event
sequence that unfolds naturally and logically.
b. Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue,
pacing, and description, to develop experiences,
events, and/or characters.
c. Use a variety of transition words, phrases, and
clauses to convey sequence, signal shifts from
one time frame or setting to another.
d. Use precise words and phrases, relevant
descriptive details, and sensory language to
capture the action and convey experiences and
e. Provide a conclusion that follows from and
reflects on the narrated experiences or events.
4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the
development, organization, and style are
appropriate to task, purpose and audience
I began reading at the age of three and have averaged multiple books a week since.  I have a honor's in discipline in English from East Tennessee State University where my focus was on middle grades and young adult literature. I was a peer tutor for four years teaching college level English including preparing students to take the GRE for an additional two years. I have been teaching online book clubs for two years online and last year my average student who took standardized pre-post tests (The NWEA MAP Growth exam) improved their reading placement by two grade levels. 
I completed my undergraduate thesis on the subject of middle grades literature and won local and state wide awards including having the honor of presenting at a statewide conference for outstanding undergraduate research. In this thesis, I critically analyzed middle grades literature for representations of complex issues related to neurodivergency and disability across genres. 
Relevant Coursework: 
Read 3100 Teach Read for K-6. This course is exceptionally relevant to this course as it provided a foundation in the science of reading approach which provides explicit, direct, and accurate phonics based instruction to support all readers. This is utilized in this course despite the difference in age ranges through optional spelling activities to support learners who may have lagging skills in reading and spelling. 
Read 3200: Teaching Writing and Language Arts. This course provided frameworks and strategies for teaching writing in motivating ways to students and for understanding the development pathways of writing and language arts. 
Eng 3118: Honor's Lit Focus. In this focus I explored representations of American History, focusing on the complex history of  California, through a variety of literature for adolescents. This class also modeled engaging ways of teaching literature for this age group and dealing with complex subject matter. 
English 4077: Literature For Adolescents This class focused on the teaching, critical analysis, and exploration of literature for middle school students. It explored methods of education and dealing with complex subject matter as well as strategies for evaluating texts both academically and developmentally. 

I am also a life-long science fiction fan and have worked extensively in science education for over a decade which allows me to bring passion to the subject material of this class. 
Learners will need the printed workbook designed and provided by the teacher as well as a pencil and notetaking supplies.
Learners will need a copy of each of the three unit texts
A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Joy McCullough
The Walking Fish by Rachelle and Kopel Burke
The Jamie Drake Equation by Christopher Edge
In addition to the Outschool classroom, this class uses:
These novels, short stories, and poems contain age appropriate references to disaster and tension common to the science fiction genre but do not contain any on-screen violence or systematic injustice.
 In A Field Guide to Getting Lost, two minor characters are briefly lost in a state park but are rescued with no injuries and a character goes to the Emergency Room, due to the overreaction of a babysitter, after suffering an allergic reaction with no lasting effects. 
In The Walking Fish, a preteen character sneaks into a cave to try to make a discovery and suffers a minor injury (a broken ankle) they are rescued quickly and the scene is not written in an overly scary or dramatic way. 
In The Jamie Drake Equation, the main character learns his parents are getting a divorce. The divorce is handled well (Jamie does not witness adults fighting or treating each other disrespectfully) and the last scene of the novel shows both of Jamie's parents interacting happily to support Jamie at an event. Additionally, a main character's father is in danger due to his job as an astronaut but is rescued. 

Learners will use nearpod to complete activities during class-time. Learners will click a link in chat and enter their first name, initial, or nickname. They should not enter their full name and no other information is collected. Learners do not need to create an account or remember a password. 
A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Joy McCullough
The Walking Fish by Rachelle and Kopel Burke
The Jamie Drake Equation by Christopher Edge

Academic Sources:
Uncovering The Logic of English: A Common-Sense Approach to Reading, Spelling, and Literacy by Denise Eide
Kramnick, J. B. (1997). The making of the English canon. PMLA, 112(5), 1087-1101.
Thein, A. H., Beach, R., & Fink, L. (2013). Critiquing and constructing canons in middle grade English language arts classrooms. Voices from the Middle, 21(1), 10.

Meet the teacher

Average rating:5.0Number of reviews:(260)
Hello, I have thirteen years of experience in education. As an eclectic academic learner, I had lots of opportunities to benefit others with my unique understanding and gifted perspective as a twice exceptional learner. I hold a master’s degree in... 
Group Class


for 14 classes
2x per week, 7 weeks
45 min

Completed by 5 learners
Live video meetings
Ages 10-13
3-6 learners per class

This class is no longer offered
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