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Course Description

Academic Year 2021-2022 • Grade 6 and above • Literature Sequence

The Thought Plickens: Learning to Think Critically

This class is primarily for students in 6th-8th grade. The purpose of this class is to prepare students of a younger age group for the more intensive reading and critical thinking (i.e. the five paragraph essay) assignments of high school. It will introduce the students to novels that have a deeper subtext, that are applicable to transitioning into their teenage years and in some cases an awareness to social structures in the world at large. In addition to the aforementioned overarching concepts of the novel, there will be a focus on reading for details as well. Students are essentially being taught to be literary detectives - seeking out general plot themes and picking apart the minutiae of character, narrative and historical background.

Course Website: The Thought Plickens: Learning to Think Critically

Sections and Teachers

Section 1:

Instructor: Alexandra Dascalu Nelson

Starts: September 7, 2021
Ends: June 10, 2022

Tuesday 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM ET • Thursday 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM ET

Tuition: $600.00



Recommended background

Grade 6 (age 12) level reading ability.

Teacher's notes:

Attaining the reading material from your local library is highly encouraged! Class schedules are flexible and can be altered from what is posted, as long as the proposed time/day change in possible for all students in the class. Please do not hesitate to contact the instructor to arrange class time. Course reading list will be made up of partially required reading and then filled out with books tailored to the students reading and comprehension level.

Textbooks and Materials

This textbook is required:

Anne of Green Gables , Authors: L.M. Montgomery Publisher: Bantam Doubleday Dell

ISBN: 055321313X

Best sources: Any edition from your local bookstore or library will do. Option for online search: thrift books, abebooks, powell's, better world bookstore, etc.

Other information: If possible there will be an online or PDF version available as well and posted to the website. If you are having trouble finding the edition, please contact me.


This textbook is required:

Ender's Game , Authors: Orson Scott Card

ISBN: 9780812550702

Publisher's website: Ender's Game

Best sources: Any edition from your local bookstore or library will do. Option for online search: thrift books, abebooks, powell's, better world bookstore, etc.

Other information: This book will be assigned based on the students reading level and age.


This textbook is required:

Little Women [Edition 1], Authors: Louisa May Alcott

ISBN: 9781593081089

Publisher's website: Little Women

Best sources: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/little-women-louisa-may-alcott/1116668150?ean=9781593081089

Other information: If you have your own edition or find another, unabridged version elsewhere, that is fine. Borrowing from the local library is encouraged, but this book may need to be checked out a couple times during our time with it.


This textbook is required:

The Jungle Books , Authors: Rudyard Kipling Publisher: Oxford World Classics

ISBN: 0199536457

Publisher's website: The Jungle Books

Best sources: Any edition from your local bookstore or library will do. Options for online search: thrift books, abebooks, powell's, better world bookstore, etc.

Other information: If possible there will be an online or PDF version available as well and posted to the website. If you are having trouble finding the edition, please contact me.


This textbook is required:

The Prince and the Pauper , Authors: Mark Twain Publisher: Penguin Classics

ISBN: 0140436693

Best sources: Scholars Online Bookstore

Other information: If possible there will be an online or PDF version available as well and posted to the website. If you are having trouble finding the edition, please contact me.


This textbook is required:

Treasure Island , Authors: Robert Louis Stevenson Publisher: Modern Library Classics

ISBN: 0375756825

Best sources: Any edition from your local bookstore or library will do. Option for online search: thrift books, abebooks, powell's, better world bookstore, etc.

Other information: If possible there will be an online or PDF version available as well and posted to the website. If you are having trouble finding the edition, please contact me.


This book is recommended but not required and its use is optional:

The Witch of Blackbird Pond , Authors: Elizabeth George Speare Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

ISBN: 0547550294

Best sources: Any edition from your local bookstore or library will do. Options for online search: thrift books, abebooks, powell's, better world bookstore, etc.

Other information: If possible there will be an online or PDF version available as well and posted to the website. If you are having trouble finding the edition, please contact me.


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