High School English Elective: 0.5 credit (one semester)
[Comparable to MSBSD course #1730, Contemporary Alaskan Literature]

Course Description

In this course students will read, study, reflect upon and respond to selections of Alaska Adventure literature by a variety of authors. The selections include non-fiction, fiction, and poetry representing diverse styles and genres. The primary focus of the course is attentive reading, reflective thinking and analytical thinking. Students will write thoughtful responses that reflect their knowledge, interpretation,analysis and evaluation of the readings.

Course Content

Excerpts from works by Margaret Murie, Belmore Browne, Nancy Lord, Richard Nelson, Barry Lopez, and Art Davidson.

Short stories and excerpts from works by Nancy Lord, Jack London, and Seth Kantner.

Poems by Robert Service, Sheila Nickerson, John Haines, and Richard Dauenhauer.



  • The Readers Companion to Alaska
  • The Last New Land, Stories of Alaska Past and Present
  • Write Source: A Book for Writing, Thinking, and Learning, Student Edition Grade 10, 2006, Great Source Education Group Inc

Instructional Strategies

  • assigned reading
  • guided response to readings (journal writing and other written activities)
  • use of audio and video sources
  • use of examples to demonstrate ways to write and think about a written work
  • illustration of process for reading a text for analysis, comparison, and/or evaluation
  • use of student writing exemplars
  • use of examples of elements of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry
  • discussion/ literature circles
  • review and quizzes to support retention of factual material (elements of literature)
  • online and telephone support

Learner Outcomes
Students will be able to:

  1. read and respond to literature
  2. use active reading techniques such as questioning, predicting and interpreting
  3. demonstrate strategies for outlining and summarizing
  4. reflect on relationships between selected readings and other texts or their own experience
  5. compare or contrast main ideas between texts
  6. compare and contrast a similar theme or topic across several genres
  7. evaluate the strength and soundness of an author’s ideas or argument using supporting evidence from the text
  8. identify and describe literary elements and techniques in prose and poetry and analyze the purpose the literary element serves
  9. identify or describe (citing evidence and support from text) plot, setting, character, point of view and theme.
  10. compare and contrast cultural events, ideas, settings, and influences in different pieces of literature.
  11. identify works of Southwestern literature and their various genres
  12. demonstrate understanding and use of proper writing conventions

Assessment Tasks

  • Keep an on-going journal of written responses to literary selections, using both reflective and analytical writing.  (This is a guided reader-response journal shared with instructor and other students for evaluation and comments.  It functions as a portfolio to capture the evolution of a student’s ideas and ways of thinking about the literature they are reading.)
  • Evaluate the strength and soundness of an author’s idea(s) or argument(s) using supporting evidence from the text  (WRITING RUBRIC-Literary Analysis)
  • Write a description of some of the literary elements in a text and explain the purposes the literary elements serve.
  • Compare and contrast cultural events, ideas, settings, and influences among three different texts
    (WRITING RUBRIC- Compare and Contrast)
  • Write a persuasive essay using the writing process  (WRITING RUBRIC-Persuasive Writing
  • Participate in group discussions of literature, evaluation by self, peers and instructor.
  • Quizzes and Exams (covering the elements of literature)

State and/or National Standards Addressed in this Course

Alaska State Standards


A: A student should be able to speak and write well for a variety of purposes and audiences
A student who meets the content standard should:
1) apply elements of effective writing and speaking; these elements include ideas, organization, vocabulary, sentence structure, and personal style;
2) in writing, demonstrate skills in sentence and paragraph structure, including grammar, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation;
4) write and speak well to inform, to describe, to entertain, to persuade, and to clarify thinking in a variety of formats, including technical communication (course emphasis is on written communication)
B: A student should be a competent and thoughtful reader, listener, and viewer of literature, technical materials, and a variety of other information (course emphasis is on reader of literature).
A student who meets the content standard should:
1) comprehend meaning from written text and oral and visual information by applying a variety of reading, listening, and viewing strategies (course emphasis is on reading strategies)
2) reflect on, analyze, and evaluate a variety of oral, written, and visual information and experiences, including discussions, lectures, art, movies, television, technical materials, and literature (emphasis on literature)
3) relate what the student views, reads, and hears to practical purposes in the student’s own life, to the world outside, and to other texts and experiences.
C: A student should be able to think logically and reflectively in order to present and explain positions based on relevant and reliable information
A student who meets the content standard should:
1) develop a position by

  1. reflecting on personal experiences, prior knowledge, and new information;
  2. formulating and refining questions
  3. identifying a variety of pertinent sources of information
  4. analyzing and synthesizing information; and
  5. determining an author’s purpose

2) evaluate the validity, objectivity, reliability, and quality of information read, heard, and seen;
3) give credit and cite references as appropriate
4) explain and defend a position orally, in writing, and with visual aids as appropriate (course emphasis is on writing)
D: A student should understand and respect the perspectives of others in order to communicate effectively
A student who meets the content standard should:
1) use information, both oral and written, and literature of many types and cultures to understand self and others;
2) evaluate content from the speaker’s or author’s perspective;
3) recognize bias in all forms of communication; and
4) recognize the communication styles of different cultures and their possible effects on others.