"Who We Are & What We Dream: Comparative Science Fiction"
Science fiction provides commentary on who we are and on our dreams -- and nightmares -- about the future. This comparative literature class for 10th-12th graders, taught by a former futurist, delves into classic and contemporary science fiction to examine how science fiction has evolved and how our attitudes towards science and our thinking about the future have changed over time.
This honors-level online class is interactive but asynchronous to better accommodate high school students' busy and complicated schedules: students can work across time zones, submit assignments, and discuss the week's readings as their schedules permit throughout the day. "Who We Are & What We Dream" is not self-paced, though: there are weekly deadlines with different assigned readings each week. Our classroom is a private Google Group.
In 15 weeks, students read 25 science fiction novels, novellas, and short stories spanning nearly 200 years. We consider how a work of science fiction channels its time period's hopes -- and fears -- about science, technology, and the future, and students reflect on if and how the issues raised continue to be relevant today.
Students are expected to read up to 200 pages per week (25-30 pages per day) and to engage in timely, thoughtful online discussion. Although this class does not require any papers, each week students are expected to respond to short-answer questions related to the readings and to each other's ideas, giving students ample opportunity to practice putting their thoughts into writing.
Because of the pace and content, this high school literature class is for avid readers ages 14 and up. Many students choose "Who We Are & What We Dream" as a creative, robust, intellectually engaging post-AP English class. Because students generally put in more than the 120 hours assumed to be equal to a high school credit, "Who We Are & What We Dream" can count as a full, accelerated English credit if families so choose.
Additional writing option: for students who would like additional writing experience, a selection of essay topics will be available at the end of the class. I am happy to provide feedback on student essays for an additional fee, or parents are welcome to evaluate their students' work themselves. Either way, this additional writing option is available to enhance an already robust literature class.
"I wanted to thank you for the Science Fiction class because it was one of my favorite classes I have ever done; the reading diverse, and the questions both challenging and thought provoking."
"This class has really opened up a new frontier as far as discussion goes, and I have never really taken anything like it before. Thank You for Everything!"
"Your sci-fi class was a total 'impulse purchase' for us, but one of the biggest hits of high school. My son has mentioned it in numerous college essays.❤️"
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