Course Requirements

How Can I Get an A in this Course?-- Former peers offer their advice.

The requirements work together to support the course's learning goals and objectives. The critical readings and periodic lectures will provide you with background information. In discussion and writing assignments you will develop your critical thinking skills. During work on your team project as well as in discussions you will learn about each others' perspective and examine your own. Finally the Learning Portfolio gives you a chance to integrate what you have learned.

Attendance and Participation (grading standards)

Attendance at all classes and at two Sunday meeting is mandatory. The success of this seminar depends largely on the degree to which you take responsibility for your own learning and that of your peers. Since our meetings consist primarily of discussion your regular attendance and active participation are crucial. Because of this format, the attendance policy for this class is very important. You are allowed one unexcused absence. Your second unexcused absence lowers your participation grade by one third of a grade. For each unexcused absence after your second, your final grade will be lowered by one third of a grade (e.g., from a B+ to a B).

Discussions are most lively when everyone shares their thoughts and ideas, and listens carefully to other students' comments, in class and at group meetings. You are expected to have finished the assigned reading before every meeting. In addition to the required readings, you may explore supplementary readings such as the ones listed under "Other Resources " on the syllabus. Overall, these readings are intended to fuel your interest and as resources for your written work. Whatever you are reading: Take notes and prepare written questions - the questions you have will be of help to everyone.

Team Project (full assignment)

Since this class by necessity only represents a limited selection of topics, texts, and theories, it leaves a whole range of critical areas untouched. This is your opportunity to explore the field of children's studies with three of your peers working on a subject of your group's choice.

Writing Assignments

Final Essay - Learning Portfolio (full assignment)
At the end of the course you are asked to create a learning portfolio to reflect upon the changes in your thinking about the subject of the course. Everything you will write in this course is eligible for inclusion in your portfolio. Your success with this final assignment will depend in large measure on your continuous effort. This is not a course in which you can put work off, or think about it later, or cram and do well. Look for topics that really engage you early on and pursue them in regular writing sessions.

Response Papers (full assignment)
You will be asked to e-mail or post weekly Response Papers during the course of the semester. Use them as an opportunity to express your thoughts more informally than in a paper and open them up for discussion with your classmates.

Posting on Child_Lit Listserv (full assignment)
On the child_lit listserv, authors, scholars and students of children’s literature discuss the theory and criticism of literature for children and young adults. By following the listserv throughout the semester, you will have a chance to witness how knowledge is created in dialogue and debate. Towards the end of the semester you will be asked to directly and meaningfully interact with participants on child_lit either by responding in a substantial way to an existing discussion or by raising a pertinent new topic. 
Sign Up Sheet


Paper (full assignment)
You will have a chance to develop an idea or question you raised in a response paper in greater depth when you write a formal 5-7 page paper. Giving yourself enough time will help you compose a clear argument in support of a strong thesis. It also allows for constructive early feedback from your peers. Papers are due in class. All papers are to be submitted in the form of a hard copy; no e-mail or other electronic submission will be accepted. If you hand in your paper late your grade will be lowered by one-third of a grade (e.g., from a B+ to a B) for each day the paper is late (including Saturdays and Sundays.)


Grade Distribution

20%   Class participation (discussion, mini presentations, peer feedback, course feedback)
20%   Response papers
15%   Paper
15%   Posting
15%  Team project
15%   Learning portfolio