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YAL - Young Adult Literature Presenter Unit 2009/2010

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Upstate
by Kalisha Buckhanon

 

YAL Presenter Unit 2009/2010

Subjects: English, Language Arts
Grade Level: 9th
Posted: 2009
Unit Created by: Susan Garr and Christine Johnson


What makes this a good YAL choice...

Told in the letters between Antonio and Natasha from 1990 through 1999, Upstate, by Kalisha Buckhanon, reveals the power of family ties and first loves. Antonio and Natasha struggle to keep their relationship together when Antonio goes to prison after being accused of murdering his father. Through their letters, readers experience parallel teenage lives. One life shares the hopes and dreams of a young black male dealing with life in prison, and the other life shares the secrets and successes of a young black female pursuing her dream of going to college and becoming a lawyer. This book makes a good YAL choice because of the teen issues it addresses: teenage love and loss, adolescent development, planning for the future, the school-to-prison-pipeline, domestic violence, college readiness, and coming of age. Young people will appreciate and learn from both characters’ will and determination to make their lives better no matter what obstacles come their way. — Susan Garr

 


YAL Conference Workshop
Upstate
Susan Garr and Akua Cason, Presenters

How can we design learning experiences that reach the teenage brain? Is the brain fixed or malleable? Is it shaped by experience or genes? Should students be made aware of why they do the things they do? What do they need for learning? And what control over all this do educators have? This workshop will use the novel, Upstate, as a vehicle to connect, explore, share and discuss brain-based learning and the implications for teaching. Interactive reading, writing, speaking and listening strategies for across the curriculum will be modeled. Focus: Building relationships and self advocacy skills, hosting classroom conversations on controversial topics, teaching decision-making skills and facilitating inquiry-based learning. — Workshop Description for YAL 2009