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Young Adult Readers' Series: Monsters, Magic, and Mayhem

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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: YAMM

Select the appropriate tab from the list below.

Course Description

Description

Monster hunting is difficult work. Some monsters are hard to identify, teamwork is often necessary, and courage is required. A few monsters even deserve compassion rather than extinction. In this course, students read the first book of several different series--covering many literary genres--all involving teens confronting monsters, magic, and mayhem.

In Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by author Ransom Riggs, 16-year-old Jacob--a malcontent who'd always known he was strange, but never dreamed he was "peculiar"--becomes entangled in a most extraordinary adventure, involving haunting photographs come-to-life, magical time manipulation, and terrifying monsters. In Rysa Walker’s Timebound, a blend of science fiction and historical fiction, Kate agrees to travel through time to the 1893 Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition to outwit a man plotting to murder her grandmother and remake history for his own selfish purposes. Kate’s undertaking is made even more terrifying when she is kidnapped and imprisoned in a real live hotel of horrors run by the first American serial killer. Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments) begins as a murder mystery witnessed by 15-year-old Clary, which evolves into a missing person story when she joins a group of demon-hunting warriors to find and rescue her kidnapped mother. For the last book, each student is allowed to choose between The Monstrumologist, a gory, Victorian-styled horror thriller about the search to exterminate a pod of headless, shark-toothed, human-eating creatures or Beautiful Creatures, a Gothic mystery full of magic, romance, demons, and deadly curses. At the course’s end, students grapple with the questions about just what is a monster, anyway; how should different monsters be treated; and if a monster is truly dangerous, how far should a person be willing to go to destroy it.

 

Title: What is a Monster?

Some assignments include short videos, such as the discussion about monsters made by author/director John Landis, and others will require internet research for students to find additional images, documents, and other free media to complete writing and multimedia assignments. View the Home Page of the Monsters, Magic, and Mayhem 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’ 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...

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

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

  • 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 reading and writing 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, horror, humor, magic, 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 Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Look inside and read reviews of Timebound

Look inside and read reviews of City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments)

Look inside and read reviews of The Monstrumologist, or Beautiful Creatures

Materials Needed

  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs [Quirk Books; Reprint edition (June 4, 2013)] ISBN 978-1594746031
  • Timebound by Rysa Walker [Skyscape (January 1, 2014)] ISBN 978-1477848159
  • City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments) by Cassandra Clare [Margaret K. McElderry Books (February 19, 2008)] ISBN 978-1416955078
  • The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey [Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (July 20, 2010)] ISBN 978-1416984498
    OR Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl [Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (September 14, 2010)] ISBN 978-0316077033
    [Student may choose either The Monstrumologist or Beautiful Creatures as the final book for the course]

Detailed Course Information

Course Details

Lesson 1: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Begin reading Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
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 2: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Finish reading Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
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: Timebound

Begin reading Timebound
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: Timebound

Finish reading Timebound
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: City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments)

Begin reading City of Bones
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: City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments)

Finish reading City of Bones
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: The Monstrumologist or Beautiful Creatures

Begin reading The Monstrumologist or Beautiful Creatures
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: The Monstrumologist or Beautiful Creatures

Continue reading The Monstrumologist or Beautiful Creatures
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: The Monstrumologist or Beautiful Creatures

Finish reading The Monstrumologist or Beautiful Creatures
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 Monsters, Magic, and Mayhem 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

Monsters, Magic, and Mayhem Sample Assignment

To give you an idea of the type of assignments involved, the following is the first of ten lessons (Please note that the deadlines for your class may be different depending on the session in which you enroll):

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, and then play the sorting activity titled "Good Idea, Bad Idea" on the HomePage to find out how well you understand the important information contained in the Syllabus.

2. Begin reading Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, pages 12-181 (Prologue through Chapter 6) and watch the short video, What is a Monster? located on the HomePage.

3. Vote your opinion. Answer the following question in the Padlet Poll (don't forget to include your name!):
Young Adult author John Green thinks that “the photographs and text work together brilliantly” in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Do you agree? What do you think that the photographs add to the story?

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

a) Before Jacob stumbled upon his grandfather’s notes about the island of Cairnholm, he never even knew it existed, which seems to be the case for most of the rest of the world as well. Imagine that Cairnholm has decided to make an effort to attract more tourists. Help the people of Cairnholm spread the word about all it has to offer by creating a travel brochure featuring photos and 250-500+ words of textual information about the best things to see and do on the island. You might consider making an online flyer at Smore.com, producing a brochure at http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/Printing_Press/ , or using one of the other Web 2.0 tools mentioned in the CTY Guide to Web 2.0 tools or the Glossary of Web 2.0 Tools located in the Home Page of the classroom. Post your finished product by including a link or uploading a file in the Writing Assignment Forum.

or

b) In Chapter Two, we read about Jacob’s birthday party and the awkward way his family seems to be reacting to his “condition” caused by his grandfather’s passing. Imagine that you overhear Jacob’s mother telling a family member (perhaps Jacob’s Uncle Bobby or Aunt Susie) about what’s been going on with Jacob. Write a dialogue of 250-500+ words in which they discuss their concerns and their plan to try to help him. [Writing Aid: How to write and punctuate dialogue]

or

c) Select one of the photographs in the first 6 chapters of the book and create your own 250-500+ word story about the picture that might fit into the book. [Your story has to be different than the explanation for the photograph provided by the author!] Perhaps the photo is about one of Jacob’s friends or relatives, or is it about one of the “peculiars” who is not described in the book?

 

5. Contribute three (or more) thoughtful posts to the Official Discussion Forum in response to any of the following questions initiated by the instructor. Whenever possible, respond to another student’s reply, by agreeing, disagreeing, or pointing out something related AND adding your own new ideas to the discussion. Respond to others’ posts by clicking “Reply” at the bottom of their posts, addressing them by name, and commenting specifically on their ideas (NOT on their grammar, spelling, or writing abilities).

a) “Equal parts irritation and cooperation.” In the first two chapters of the book, we get to know Jacob as a character, and we learn about the unique relationship he has with his “best friend” Ricky. From what you know of Jacob so far, do you think you could be “best friends” with him? Why or why not? What about him do you like and what about him do you dislike in the first two chapters of the book before he visits the island?

b) No thanks for the memories. After hearing about the story behind the picture of Jacob’s father being photographed as a young boy wearing a bunny outfit one Halloween, whom do you think was more cruel: Jacob’s grandmother or his grandfather? Explain. Do you think that Jacob’s father should have shared his suspicions about his father’s activities with Jacob? Why or why not? What do you think motivated Jacob’s father to share them now with Jacob?

c) Monsters. Monsters are frequently mentioned or implied in this first half of the book. After viewing the video “What is a monster?” select someone or something that the author Ransom Riggs describes as a monster in the book and explain how this "monster" fits (or doesn’t fit) one of the definitions offered by John Landis in the video. Are any of the monsters suggested by Ransom Riggs "benign" or even "good" monsters as defined by John Landis? Are any of them real historical figures? Explain.

d) Miss Peregrine’s primer on peculiars. In Chapter Six, Miss Peregrine discusses the history of the peculiars. In what way are the peculiars seen as being almost monsters by so-called normal people—perhaps even by their parents? What are ymbrynes, and how are they important to the peculiars? Do you agree with Miss Peregrine’s statement that “Males lack the seriousness of temperament required of persons with such grave responsibilities” as ymbrynes (p. 160)? Explain.

e) “Like Peter Pan and his Lost Boys.” In Chapter Six, while Jacob eats dinner at Miss Peregrine’s, he is shocked when he finds out most of them are in their eighties since they don’t act like the eighty-year-olds he knows from Florida. He comments: “It was as if the constance of their lives here, the unvarying days—this perpetual deathless summer—had arrested their emotions as well as their bodies” (p. 170). Would you be willing to live the same day over if doing so allowed you to live almost indefinitely like the peculiars? Would you like to go live at Miss Peregrine’s today and remain forever at your current age? Why or why not? Would it matter if the day you lived over and over was a particularly pleasant day? Explain.

f) Predictions. As readers, we constantly make predictions, especially in a book full of mystery and magic like Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. While reading the first half of the book, what predictions did you make? Have any of your predictions been revealed as correct or incorrect in the first reading assignment (through Chapter Six—please, no spoilers if you’ve read ahead!)? Do you have any predictions for what may be revealed in the last half of the book which we will read in Lesson 2? What details from the reading have led you to make these predictions?

g) The Element of Style. Many commentators have admired the author Ransom Riggs’ writing style. Pick out a sentence or two from the book that you consider particularly well written and explain why the sentence is effective. Does your selection include any literary devices? Explain. (Be sure to choose a passage that has not already been done by your classmates, and include the chapter where it appears and page number if possible.)

6. Sharpen your critical thinking skills by contributing your own thoughtful question to the Student-Initiated Question Forum.

(Note: You are required to post your own question in this forum for each lesson. Students are welcome to answer each other's questions in the Student-Initiated Question Forum, but these responses are purely optional, and not a substitution for posting your own question about the reading in the Student-Initiated Question Forum or answering three discussion questions posted by CTY Instructor in the Official Discussion Forum.)

OPTIONALNot requiredFun and Challenges:

  • Use the list of "Mind-Expanding Vocabulary Words from Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" 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 Monsters, Magic, and Mayhem 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

Thanks for an excellent course! My son enjoyed reading all the books and doing the discussion questions. He also mentioned that the assignments and questions covered in this course required a much higher level of critical thinking and analysis than assignments done at school.
— CTY Online Programs Parent
 
I would recommend this course to other CTY students. It is pretty challenging and helps improve on analysis and critical thinking skills.
CTY Online Programs Student
 
My son has recently discovered the joy of writing. What used to take him hours to write now takes a fraction of that time. This class is perfect to reinforce his love of reading and develop his new enjoyment of writing.
CTY Online Programs Parent
 
I think the instructor's feedback has really inspired my daughter...she has learned several different writing styles and is finding her own voice when writing.
— CTY Online Programs Parent
 
The instructor's feedback and suggestions were really helpful and always helped him see things from a different perspective. I feel he has really grown as a writer in these few weeks.
— CTY Online Programs Parent
 
My daughter really loved this class since she's a bookworm and talking about these books with others was a great and new thing for her.
— CTY Online Programs Parent
 
My son read the instructor's feedback with a smile on his face. He used to enjoy writing, then lost the enjoyment. Thanks to his instructor, he now sees his talent for writing still exists and that writing can be a lot of fun. I can't express how happy this makes me feel!
— CTY Online Programs Parent
 
How lovely to get to read about Nelly Bly, who is one of my favorite women in history, and revel simultaneously in the fact that my daughter wrote that.
— CTY Online Programs Parent