The Teen Book Club offers a selection of books across genres and topics. Participants get reading guides, activities, resources, and paper prompts.
|Class Type||Monthly Book Club|
|Start / End Dates||February 2022; Live Session February 25 at 1pm Eastern|
|Class Size||1-50 Learners|
|Enrollment||$15 Per Student|
|Enrollment with Feedback Add-On||$35 Per Student|
About this Book
Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein, is a landmark work in science fiction that was published in 1959. Winner of the 1960 Hugo Award for best novel, this highly influential and controversial work continues to influence and inspire tributes and debates about militarism, masculinity, social class, citizenship and warfare. It is notable for being a rare work of its time and genre to feature a non-white protagonist (Hispanic man) and to show women in active military service in large numbers.
Like Shakespeare’s and Tolkien’s works, Heinlein’s writings have greatly influenced and inspired many works within and outside its genre, despite being written in a different time. Books and video games about space marines, space exploration, science fiction with aliens, and many other stories have been inspired directly and indirectly by this work.
This will be a challenging read for many because it was written in a different mindset in response to wars and social issues of the time. To assist, the reading guide and discussions will provide ample historical and social context as well as connections to subsequent works that were inspired by this book. Readers are strongly encouraged to read this book as an exercise in critical thinking and academic engagement, especially as some of the material may be offensive or otherwise difficult to personally connect with.
Note that the movie by the same name is NOT comparable to the book in any way (it was disowned by Heinlein’s widow when it was produced). We will discuss some of the process that led to the film diverging from the book in story and themes as part of our critical engagement.
This month’s book is best paired with the next month’s book, Valor’s Choice by Tanya Huff, as it is a more current work written with contemporary audiences in mind. These two works will be compared and contrasted to assist readers in approaching difficult works with a scholarly eye to recognize tropes, foundational concepts, and artistic inspiration.
Book Club Overview
Are you looking for a low-pressure way to include reading? Do you want supplemental reading guides focused on understanding and vocabulary? Would you like project and paper prompts themed around books? Does your learner like to meet with others to discuss what they’ve read?
Dr. Sabrina Weiss and Dr. Michelle Parrinello-Cason are excited to bring you this and more in the SEA Tween and Teen Book Clubs!
The supplemental components of these Book Clubs brings these up to the level your students would get in middle school and high school literature classes.
At the same time, your family is free to pick and choose how much you use, so you can adapt each Club to fit your own schedule and time constraints. Each of these has suggested writing assignments that are thought-provoking, helping students dig deeper and investigate concepts more fully.
For an additional cost, Sabrina and Michelle will provide students with meaningful feedback that focuses on their strengths and challenges. Feedback will be given for rough and final drafts of projects and papers included in the class materials.
Class materials are housed on Teachable. Learners will use Discord and Zoom for interactive components. Those using the Feedback Add-On will use Google Drive and/or Dropbox to submit assignments.
The purchase of the online class component includes the following:
The amount of time really varies by student and how much they want to participate. Those who want to do all activities, explore all resources, and participate in online discussions leading up to the live meeting could easily spend 4-5 hours a week on the class.
Those who just want to read the book and show up to the live session may spend 2-3 hours per week.
Live Sessions Meet on Zoom
We’ll meet live on Friday, February 25 at 1pm Eastern / 12pm Central / 11am Mountain / 10am Pacific Time.
Story is about space marines fighting a war against arachnid aliens for a juvenile audience in the 1950s. Coarse language, sexism and racism will be in the book as part of the context of the time of the author and in keeping with the style of the story. Many topics like citizenship, national service, militarism, masculinity, and violent patriotism will be presented, sometimes in a positive light.
Please contact the instructor if you have concerns about the content or would like support for your reader on this book.
A Note about Discord
Discord is an accessible platform that allows for text and voice communications; we will only use text channels for our discussions and still use Zoom for our live meeting at the end of the month. Here is some information about Discord for parents and educators.
Participation in the Discord server is optional, so if you don’t want to use Discord, you can still use the other resources in the class and attend the live session, but Discord allows for more robust conversations and connections.
This space is really dependent on the participants being active and making it a community of readers discussing their ideas. Facilitators will post some threads to get discussion started, but learners are invited to make it their own!
To participate successfully in class, learners will need the following:
- A copy of the book Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein*
- Microphone and camera for in-class participation
- Discord for online discussions (free account; optional)
- Zoom (free account)
- PDF reader for accessing materials
* Note that there is another book titled Starship Troopers that is based on the movie, written by William Layman. DO NOT GET THIS BOOK. We will read the original book by Robert Heinlein only.
Dr. Sabrina Weiss
Dr. Sabrina Weiss specializes in developing theoretical models that represent the ethical and social dimensions of issues at the intersection of science, technology, and society.
Visit Dr. Weiss’ Profile & Policies
We have thoroughly enjoyed ancient history with Sam Matalone Cook and would love to continue following the history courses under her instruction. Michelle’s writing workshop was a welcomed addition to our semester and the ease of adding on a quick workshop to the semester was appreciated. I do wish that I could take classes, too. The great selection makes me jealous; Fairy Tales and Feminism would be so incredible to join in and to learn with Sam! And the LGBTQ+ history and US courses! Blair’s enthusiasm for science comes across strongly and is encouraging for the young learners. So many great classes- so little time.
Sheila and Elisa
So many great classes- so little time.
My Zoom-averse daughter looked forward to the weekly online meetings. Michelle does such a wonderful job at speaking with young people and guiding discussions. My daughter was motivated to work hard on her assignments and has asked to take another class from Michelle. E.F.P.
Michelle does such a wonderful job at speaking with young people and guiding discussionsTeacher: Michelle Parrinello-Cason
I really appreciated your enthusiasm, support, and kind words in your video feedback messages to him. That goes a long way! [Learner] is going to a brick and mortar school next year for the first time since fourth grade. We submitted the two papers he wrote in your class to the high school he applied to go to next year, and they recommended he start in Advanced English! Woohoo! Jill G.
We submitted the two papers he wrote in your class to the high school he applied to go to next year, and they recommended he start in Advanced English!Teacher: Michelle Parrinello-Cason
The video lectures were clear and packed full of helpful and important writing lessons. The video and written feedback was clearly personalized, very detailed, and extremely beneficial for my learner. Michelle truly demonstrates compassion and expertise in her classes! Kristi R.
Michelle truly demonstrates compassion and expertise in her classes!Teacher: Michelle Parrinello-Cason
I only wish we had found Michelle sooner! I’ve been homeschooling my son off and on for years. Writing is very challenging for him and it is so difficult to take feedback from a parent. I have begged so many of his teachers to please offer direct, concise, written feedback and give him the opportunity to revise. I knew this would be the only way he could improve. This class was everything I’ve been asking for for years…..except I didn’t have to ask! It is designed this way and it worked brilliantly! My son gets to attend an adventure school in the fall, but if we homeschool the following year, the first thing I will do is sign him up for whatever Michelle is teaching. E.F.P.
I only wish we had found Michelle sooner!Teacher: Michelle Parrinello-Cason
I really appreciate how organized the class was, how clear the expectations and guidelines were and how professional and encouraging the feedback delivery was. Darcey
I really appreciate how organized the class wasTeacher: Michelle Parrinello-Cason
I just want to take a few minutes to send a huge thank you for the way you deliver (have delivered) feedback to [Learner]. He tends to put a lot of pressure on himself and doesn’t often take feedback or constructive criticism well. You have managed to give him a boost of confidence and an opportunity to look inward to appreciate feedback from others. I’m so glad we found you! This experience is exactly what I hoped for in our homeschooling journey! Karen
I’m so glad we found you! This experience is exactly what I hoped for in our homeschooling journey!Teacher: Michelle Parrinello-Cason
He was so invigorated and excited after today’s meeting. It awakens something in him he craves and can only get from discussions like the one today. Bevin Early
He was so invigorated and excited after today’s meeting.Teacher: Michelle Parrinello-Cason
I especially enjoyed the final project for this class, which was something I had never tried before, using creative writing as a way to debate philosophy and contrasting view points. It was quite a bit challenging, ultimately leaving me satisfied with the ending result.
I used creative writing as a way to debate philosophy and contrasting view pointsTeacher: Michelle Parrinello-Cason
For us, this is “authentic learning.” We discussed how community college classes and other virtual online high school classes might be accredited and “weigh” a lot in terms of grades and credits, but SEA Online Classes is where her mind and creativity are challenged and inspired. I’d like to emphasize the part about creativity. She felt invited to engage creatively. SEA Online classes are where the love of learning happens.