Before Great Books Comes Ground Work Live Intensive
Registration is open for spring semester 2021.
About the course: This live, online course is designed to prepare secondary students for high school literature courses. Based on Mortimer Adler's classic How to Read a Book and Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning, the course will introduce a variety of essential literary skills. We will focus primarily on this skill-building, covering such topics as…
active reading skills
how to study and discuss literature
vocabulary and spelling improvement through literature
how to write about literature through literary essays, such as personal response, discussion questions, and literary analysis
how to take notes and use the Freytag Pyramid for plot comprehension
how to answer discussion questions well
As the semester draws to a close, we will synthesize all of the skills we've studied by applying them to one of the most influential children's books ever written--Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll. In addition, students will complete a "children's great books" project during the semester, for which they will read a broad selection of literature that has been important to children and teens through throughout Western history.
Grade level: The course is designed for students in grades 6-9 but is open to all secondary students. It is ideal for students who have never formally studied literature or who would benefit from a review of essential skills.
Dates/days/times: January 7-May 20, 2021, Friday, 11:15-noon (EASTERN time zone). There will be no class on March 11 or April 15. Orientation: Thursday, January 6, 12:30 p.m. EST.
NOTE: As a rule, this course is scheduled according to student availability. It meets one day/week for 18 weeks (the typical length of a semester). If students prefer it and personal schedules allow, the course can be condensed to a two-day/week schedule lasting six weeks. The course is prefaced with an orientation to ensure that all students know how to use the necessary Google apps and how to prepare their assignments.
Days/times: For a class size of two or more students:
semester courses: 1 day/week for 50 minutes
six-week courses: 3 days/week for 50 minutes.
For a class size of one student:
semester courses: 1 day/week for 30 minutes
six-week courses: 3 days/week for 30 minutes
Please note that although classes are shorter for single students, the tuition remains the same. The weekly schedule will be set according to student availability and consensus.
Note: Classes will not be recorded. Students who miss a class will need to catch up through independent study.
Technical requirements: webcam, microphone, and the following Google apps: Gmail, Hangout, Meet, Drive, and Classroom; scanner or digital camera for handwritten assignments (NOTE: Although I am seeking another platform due to rising Google privacy concerns, Google is my only option at this time, because the apps used in the course synchronize for smooth, student-teacher interaction. I recommend that interested families with Google concerns register for an account but limit its use only to these courses. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.)
HOW TO REGISTER : Complete the registration form at the bottom of this page. A tuition invoice will be emailed to you once your registration is confirmed.
Before Great Books Comes Groundwork has been tested in a live classroom setting as a full-year course and is being adjusted to fit an intensive, eight-week format. If students are interested, a follow-up course may be a possibility. This would be a study of several cornerstone literary works, such as Robin Hood.
All students and/or parents must agree to sign up for and use a Gmail account, and all students must have a working webcam, microphone, printer, and scanner (phone okay). We will use the following Google apps: Gmail, Hangout, Drive, and Classroom.
Although The Denim Beret seeks to meet the needs of all students and therefore does not make a point of integrating theological content, I do approach literature from a Christian perspective. Christian themes may be discussed in class without restraint when they naturally arise either in a novel or in a class discussion. Any such discussion will be kept both positive and ecumenical.
While large online programs have access to state-of-the-art virtual classroom software, The Denim Beret does not. It is a micro-business and must necessarily operate as simply as possible. Please understand that I cannot be held responsible for technical difficulties with Google services. Every effort will be made on my end to prevent problems with the audio and video, and I am also looking into ways to record classes. In the event that a student cannot participate in a video call due to unpreventable technical difficulties, however, I will ask the student to participate via audio only. If the student cannot participate via audio, I will provide a written version of that lesson for the student to read. After two instances of a student not being able to participate due to technical difficulties, families will have the option of receiving a pro-rated refund and withdrawing from the course.