Why teens need live theater in the age of YouTube

A good article from the Boston Globe. The plays I saw with my dad handed us a script on every uncomfortable topic parents and children both painstakingly avoid and desperately need to discuss. If YouTube’s current teenage audience is anything like my teenage self, they won’t take kindly to their parents telling them to get offline. At that age, my dad disparaging a website I genuinely loved felt like proof…

Controversial Content in YA Literature: A College Professor and Homeschooling Parent Answers an Aspiring Teen Writer’s Questions

I received this comment on my blog: [F]or my Senior Project I am writing a young adult short novel. I found the article on your blog, “Short Story Tips: 10 Ways to Improve Your Creative Writing,” very helpful. However, I was wondering if you had any opinions on the boundaries of what is appropriate content for the young adult genre. This is in regards to things like drugs, sex, and…

Enjoying my “Dystopia in American Literature” class.

After a kind of prelude in which we looked at Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle” and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” as proto-dystopias, my “Dystopia in American Literature” class looked at Jack London’s post-apocalyptic “The Scarlet Plague” last week. Because it’s an online class that never meets face-to-face, I’ve been posting regular 15-20m context lectures, in order to convey the kind of background info that I would ordinarily just slip…

Student: “Just wanted to let you know that your class has benefited me outside of just literature studies and thank you.”

In my online class on literary dystopia, I am asking students to post one-minute podcasts to share with each other, so the class doesn’t feel so lonely. About half of the students chose to do audio recordings, and half chose videos. While this isn’t a media production course, I am still giving tips on eye contact, lighting, and vocal delivery. A student just sent me this note, which I’m reproducing with…

In 2019, I have a college student who annotates readings like this!

I asked students in my online “Dystopia in American Literature” class to demonstrate “whylighting” — not just highlighting a passage, but adding a note explaining why it’s worth noticing. If this were an in-person classroom, I’d just walk around the room and glance over their shoulders to confirm that they’re dong the work. In this online class, I asked students to post screenshots and a brief reflection. Students who aren’t…