Date of Award

Winter 12-15-2017

Level of Access

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS)

Department

Interdisciplinary Program

Advisor

Kreg Ettenger

Second Committee Member

Judith Hakola

Third Committee Member

Maryellen Mahoney-O'Neil

Abstract

In various schools across the state of Maine are teachers devoting their classroom time to exploring the rich history of Maine. At the high school level, many schools now offer at least an elective course in “Maine Studies” and Maine state standards require that local history is covered to a certain extent in high school history. Missing from these courses, however, is a study of Maine’s literature. Literature puts a realistic face to the events of history in a way that helps students see through the eyes of the people from that time period. Literature reveals internal emotions and conflicts in a way that history cannot, adding depth to a student’s understanding of a time period, cultural group, or region. This project is a curriculum for a Maine Literature course intended to be taught to high school seniors.

A key challenge to developing a course in Maine literature was developing a list of texts suitable to teach to high school students that really embraced the wide variety of works that Maine authors have created. Exploring the themes of identity and sense of place are the major focus of the course. To determine the list of texts that fit these themes, a series of surveys were sent out toteachers and librarians. Criteria such as length, reading level, and availability of books were applied to the lists of books drawn from these surveys to narrow them down to a list that could be covered in a year. While the bulk of the texts chosen for this class are fiction; nonfiction texts, poetry and short stories are sprinkled throughout the curriculum to cover a wider variety of perspectives and time periods in Maine literature. The curriculum is aligned to Common Core and Maine State standards and implements a wide variety of both formative (informally assessed for feedback purposes) and summative (formally graded) assessment methods.

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