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Young Adult Readers' Series: Dangerous Games and Rebellions

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Open to: Grades 7-9

Prerequisites: Qualifying verbal score and/or qualifying math score [Note: While students are not required to be verbal qualifiers, they must be proficient readers and writers of English to gain value from the course. An optional, free, self-graded, 20- question readiness assessment is available.]

Course Format: Web-based classroom

Course Length: Session-based: 10 weeks (fall, winter, spring, late summer) or 12 weeks (early summer); Session Dates and Application Deadlines

Course Code: YADG

Select the appropriate tab from the list below.

Course Description

Description

Not all games are fun in dystopian worlds, where order is maintained by oppression, propaganda, and violence. In this course's four suspenseful, thought-provoking thrillers, teen-age rebels challenge evil political systems and misguided policies to fight for more free, fair, and humane societies.

In The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, the decadent and corrupt Capitol controls its surrounding twelve districts by forcing them to send two teenagers to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Two teens from one of the poorest districts, Katniss and Peeta, fight to survive the games and the totalitarian system that thrives by subjugation and deceit. In Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, the world's government has bred young Ender Wiggin to be a military genius and trained him through physically brutal war games.The hope is to prepare him for the next encounter with aliens seemingly intent on destroying the human species. Can this goal be accomplished without destroying Ender's own humanity? In Divergent by Veronica Roth, sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior has been raised to be selfless by her parents, members of Abnegation, one of the five factions that divide their society. But after learning from a placement test that she is "divergent,” considered dangerous because she has an equal aptitude for several different factions, Beatrice decides to choose Dauntless, the faction known for their risk taking and courage. Renamed "Tris," her decision--and her secret--will subject her to extreme tests of physical and mental endurance, participation in political rebellions, and unexpected romance. In Neal Shusterman’s provocative thriller, Unwind, three runaway teens, impulsive but good-hearted Connor, clever Risa, and confused Lev, travel through a quasi-underground railroad to escape a system that allows frustrated parents and underfunded state homes to rid themselves of troublesome or unwanted teens through the guise of "unwinding," in which the teenagers are said to be “alive, but in a divided state” since their bodies are salvaged for parts.

Title: Fahrenheit 451
Description: Conversation about Book Burning

Some assignments include short videos such as this brief excerpt of the movie Fahrenheit 451, and others will require internet research for students to find additional images, documents, and other free media to complete writing and multimedia assignments. Visit the Home Page of the Dangerous Games and Rebellions classroom.

About the Young Adult Readers' Series for Verbal and/or Math Qualifiers in Grades 7-9:

In this digital age, the availability of the internet has made memorization less important than critical thinking. Students must learn to carefully investigate the credibility of claims and judge the validity of opposing arguments. Students must also become adept at making their own persuasive arguments.

In CTY Online Programs’s Young Adult Readers' Series, students enhance their critical reading, thinking, and writing skills through high interest, thought-provoking books, analytical discussions, and creative writing assignments. Course assignments were developed to meet or surpass most of the Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading. Students are given many opportunities to create multimedia content using web 2.0 tools. Students receive individualized written feedback from their instructor and engage in online written discussions with classmates from around the world. Writing assignments include narrative stories; expository and compare/contrast essays; and persuasive writing. Classes are not live; work is posted in virtual classrooms at the students’ convenience as long as deadlines are met.

Intended for teens reading at a high school level or above, students:

  • Read four high-interest, thematically connected, age-appropriate books

  • Receive individualized written feedback from their instructor about each lesson's work
  • Participate in online written discussions with CTY Online Programs classmates from around the world, making inferences, determining motivations, evaluating arguments, and providing textual evidence to support their opinions

  • Post writing assignments such as narrative stories, newspaper and journal accounts, persuasive writing, and essays that encourage students to take on different points of view, summarize details, compare books with movies, and discuss central ideas

  • Learn how to use web 2.0 tools

  • Learn sophisticated vocabulary words and literary devices with the help of online games

Parents Ask...

  • Since the course is asynchronous, students do not have to meet together in the classroom at any one particular time.

  • Work is posted in the virtual classrooms at the student’s convenience as long as each lesson's deadlines are met.

  • Students typically read and share written responses every other day (fall, spring, and early summer sessions) or daily (midsummer intensive session).

  • It does not matter whether a student has already read one or all of the books before the course begins because the emphasis on citing the text requires careful re-reading.

  • Students must already be proficient readers and writers of Standard Written English. [Instructors discuss grammar only when it affects meaning.]

  • An optional, free, self-graded, 20-question readiness assessment is available.

  • These critical reading courses are designed to be ungraded, enrichment courses; instead of a grade, instructors provide specific feedback about each student's work at the end of each lesson and a detailed final evaluation at the end of the course. Parents or guardians may request a final grade if needed for school credit

About Appropriateness

Parents should be aware that books selected for this course are intended for young adults, not elementary school children and, like life itself, contain elements of suspense, danger, violence, sadness, humor, romance, adventure, and heroism. All books invite thought-provoking and controversial discussions. Parents are encouraged to look inside the books and read reviews before deciding that a young adult critical reading course is appropriate for their student. If you would like to discuss the appropriateness of a critical reading course for your child, please email ctyonline@jhu.edu or call 410-735-6144.

 Parents are urged to "look inside" the books and scroll down to "read reviews" to judge whether the content is appropriate for their student.

Look inside and read reviews of The Hunger Games
Look inside and read  reviews of Ender's Game
Look inside and read reviews of Divergent
Look inside and read reviews of Unwind

Materials Needed

Detailed Course Information

Course Details

Lesson 1: The Hunger Games

Begin reading The Hunger Games
Vote your Opinion in the Poll: Which dystopian books (other than those included in this course), do you recommend or want to read?
Post ONE of the Written assignments (your choice) to the Writing forum
Contribute three (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Board
Contribute your own question to the Student Discussion Board

Lesson 2: The Hunger Games

Finish reading The Hunger Games
Vote your Opinion in the Poll
Post ONE of the Written assignments (your choice) to the Writing forum
Contribute three (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Board
Contribute your own question to the Student Discussion Board

Lesson 3: Ender's Game

Begin reading Ender's Game
Vote your Opinion in the Poll
Post ONE of the Written assignments (your choice) to the Writing forum
Contribute three (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Board
Contribute your own question to the Student Discussion Board

Lesson 4: Ender's Game

Finish reading Ender's Game
Vote your Opinion in the Poll
Post ONE of the Written assignments (your choice) to the Writing forum
Contribute three (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Board
Contribute your own question to the Student Discussion Board

Lesson 5: Divergent

Begin reading Divergent
Vote your Opinion in the Poll
Post ONE of the Written assignments (your choice) to the Writing forum
Contribute three (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Board
Contribute your own question to the Student Discussion Board

Lesson 6: Divergent

Continue reading Divergent
Vote your Opinion in the Poll
Post ONE of the Written assignments (your choice) to the Writing forum
Contribute three (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Board
Contribute your own question to the Student Discussion Board

Lesson 7: Divergent

Finish reading Divergent
Vote your Opinion in the Poll
Post ONE of the Written assignments (your choice) to the Writing forum
Contribute three (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Board
Contribute your own question to the Student Discussion Board

Lesson 8: Unwind

Begin reading Unwind
Vote your Opinion in the Poll
Post ONE of the Written assignments (your choice) to the Writing forum
Contribute three (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Board
Contribute your own question to the Student Discussion Board

Lesson 9: Unwind

Finish reading Unwind
Vote your Opinion in the Poll
Post ONE of the Written assignments (your choice) to the Writing forum
Contribute three (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Board
Contribute your own question to the Student Discussion Board

Lesson 10: Summary Assignments covering all four books

Vote your opinion in the Poll
Post ONE of the writing assignments (your choice) to the Writing forum.

Note: You are provided with a list of “Mind-Expanding Vocabulary Words” from each book that you can use to help better understand the book and increase your knowledge of vocabulary words in general.

OPTIONAL--Not required--Fun and Challenges:

  • Learn Literary Terms by playing the online Literary Terms games and puzzles.
  • Share your favorite stories and authors with other students in the Recommended Reading Wiki.
  • Participate in the Dangerous Games Adventure Wiki, a group writing activity

Time Required

This course requires approximately three hours for each of the ten lessons. Students should expect to spend approximately 3 hours per week working on the course.​

Note: Students do not have to meet in the classroom at the same time. Work is posted in the virtual classrooms at the student's convenience as long as deadlines are met.
 

Sample Assignment

Demo

Dangerous Games and Rebellions Sample Assignment

To give you an idea of the type of assignments involved, the following is the first of ten lessons:

Instructions for Lesson One

All work is due by the following Sunday at midnight. (That's the end of Sunday, not the beginning!) This means that your assigned reading should be started early and completed by Thursday night--at the latest--to allow you enough time to finish all the assignments (reading, videos, poll, writing, official discussion forums, student-initiated question forums, games, and wikis) by Sunday night.

1. Study the Syllabus at the top of the Home Page.

2. Begin reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, pages 3-194 (Chapters 1-14).

3. Vote your opinion. Answer the following question in the Padlet Poll (don't forget to include your name!) 
Which dystopian books (other than those included in this course), do you recommend or want to read?

4. Post ONE of the following two writing assignments (your choice) to the Writing forum:

a) Use a search engine to find an online article, blog, or review about the topic of

  • what is new in young adult fiction,
  • dystopian fiction, or
  • The Hunger Games (or another book read in this course)

Attach the article as a pdf, and then write a 250-500+ word summary of the article. Be sure to mention whether the author's approach indicates the article was meant to be expositive (trying to inform) or persuasive (trying to persuade) and point out evidence to support your conclusion.

or

b) Select a chapter or two consecutive chapters of the first half of The Hunger Games (Chapters 1-14) and write a 250-500+ word summary of the important events. Be sure to mention how the chapter(s) carries forward a theme that you consider to be important in the book and point out evidence to support your conclusion.

5. Contribute three (or more) thoughtful posts to the Official Discussion Forum in response to any of the following questions initiated by the instructor. 

a) Themes. What are some of the important themes of The Hunger Games? Provide evidence from the text to support your opinion.

b) “Games?” Katniss describes the Hunger Games as both a punishment and a festivity that is "torturous and  humiliating" in Chapter 1. Do you think that the games would be more morally justifiable if they were considered only as a punishment for the districts who were the losers of a rebellion? Do you agree or disagree with Katniss that making the games a source of entertainment for the districts makes the games even worse? Explain. 

c) Katniss and her mom. Describe Katniss' attitude toward her mother. Do you think that the daughter's attitude toward her mother is fair? Why or why not? Do you think that her mother deserves to be forgiven? Why or why not?

d) “I volunteer.” Do you find it believable that Katniss would insist on taking her sister's place? From what you know about Gale, are you surprised that he helps Katniss by taking Prim away from the stage? Explain.

e) Mind games? Give some examples from the book of times that Katniss assumes that someone else's behavior is a matter of strategy rather than honest feelings. What does that say about Katniss' own character? Describe occasions in the book when you think she is right, or occasions when you think she is overly suspicious.

f) All about Peeta. Describe Peeta as he is portrayed by the author in the first half of the book. Does he strike you as too good to be true? Are there any occasions in the first half of the book when you don't trust him or think that Katniss shouldn't trust him? Explain why or why not. Do you believe he is sincere when he admits during his interview with Caesar that he has had a crush on Katniss for years? Do you think Peeta is a realistic character? 

g) Flashbacks. Katniss has several flashbacks throughout the first half of the book. Describe some of these and explain how they affect the story, addressing literary devices such as suspense, tone, mood, and conflict.

h) Cinna. How is Cinna different than other people of the Capitol? Support your ideas with specific details from the text. Can you find or infer any explanation for why he seems to be so different? 

 

6. Contribute a thoughtful question of your own to the Student-Initiated Question Forum. (Note: You may choose to respond to a question on the Student-Initiated Question Forum, but your response is optional. You are still required to post the four thoughtful responses to the Official Discussion Forum containing questions created by the CTY Instructor.) 

OPTIONAL--Not required--Fun and Challenges:

  • Use the list of "Mind-Expanding Vocabulary Words from The Hunger Games" to help better understand the book and increase your knowledge of vocabulary words in general.
  • Share your favorite stories and authors with other students in the Recommended Reading Wiki.
  • Participate in The Dangerous Games Adventure Wiki, a group writing activity.
  • Play Literary Terms Review games.
  • Post a response to one of the questions in the Student-Initiated Question Forum.

Technical Requirements

This course requires a properly maintained computer with high-speed internet access and an up-to-date web browser (such as Chrome or Firefox). The student must be able to communicate with the instructor via email. Visit the Technical Requirements and Support page for more details.

This course requires that the student use a web browser with the Adobe Flash plugin. Note that many tablets and handhelds (particularly the iPad) do not support Flash and cannot view the lessons.

 

Reviews

This was our son's first CTY (or other online) course, and so we weren't sure quite what to expect. But it was a very positive experience, thanks to the thoughtful course design, the instructor's encouragement, and the gradual interaction among the students. 
-CTY Online Programs Parent

I would definitely recommend this course to other students since it introduces a new way to critical thinking and writing. It was really fun and interesting to discuss the books with other kids.
-CTY Online Programs Student

What I love about this class so far is how you can take what a child loves about a story, and help them see - while they're really listening - that the story is so much more than what is already written down. Oh, and that writing about the stories you love can be satisfying when you learn how to write what you really think.-
-CTY Online Programs Parent

The discussion posts were really exciting and unique because you are given the opportunity to collaborate and explain ideas and responses. The student-initiated question forum was really wonderful because you were given the chance to write your own question about the book.
-CTY Online Programs Student

The course and the feedback exceeded our expectations. Very thoughtful responses led us to great conversations.
-CTY Online Programs Parent

It is a great way to read books and improve writing. I love reading and I need more tips on writing essays and things like that.
-CTY Online Programs  Student

As I read my daughter's writing, I really feel it has evolved (positively) since her writing during this past seventh grade year. She had been challenged by her English teacher to be more thorough providing evidence and facts to support her assertions, and it is great to see her working on this element. 
-CTY Online Programs Parent

Not having grades makes this writing experience much better for my student; he loves the comments without the associated judgment of a grade.
-CTY Online Programs  Parent

The instructor was timely with her responses and I was really impressed with the time she clearly put in to reading all of the material from my child even though this was a highly condensed and intense course.  She had really good suggestions for improving the writing and asking thoughtful questions that would push my child to think more about the material in the book.
-CTY Online Programs Parent