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1 Assessment of Need The treatment of LGBTQ youth in our society is unacceptable.

We as teachers need to foster a positive atmosphere for all our diverse students. You may be wondering what you can do as a teacher to facilitate this task. The first step would be to introduce students to a wider variety of YA Literature; this includes Alex Sanchezs The God Box. Why should you teach The God Box in the classroom? The answer is that students need to interact with LGBTQ literature in the hopes of fostering a learning environment that is inclusive and that inspires better treatment of LGBTQ students. Another reason YA Literature should be taught to our students is because it is important for students to have something to read that they can relate to. In What a Wonderful World: Notes on the Evolution of GLBTQ Literature for Young Adults (WAWW), Michael Cart explains that YA Literature gives students the lifesaving necessity of seeing ones own face reflected in the pages of a good book and they corollary comfort that derives from the knowledge that one is not alone (WAWW). This will engage students attention, foster a positive relationship with reading, and create life-long readers. We, as educators, must remember that when we read we want to find ourselves in the text and that is what makes reading enjoyable. Not too many years ago writers were discussing this same issue of seeing ones own face reflected in the pages during the Civil Rights movements. There is not much debate when a teacher wants to teach a novel relating to Native Americans or African Americans and it is time that LGBTQ novels recieve the same consideration. When educators allow students to read works that are created specifically for them, educators are acknowledging students as important members of society. In A.C. LeMieuxs The Problem Novel in a Conservative Age it says, One of the most important tasks of young

2 adulthood is, I think, the development of the ability to frame deeper, more probing questions (The Problem Novel). LeMieuxs assessment could be used with Sanchezs The God Box, which would fulfill Tennessee teaching standards CLE 3003.1.4, CLE 3003.8.4, and CLE 3003.8.5 for English III as well as, teaching standards CLE 3005.2.7 and CLE 3005.2.14 for English IV. The English III teaching standards state, Be aware of the power of language wellused as a reflection and change agent of its time and culture Analyze works of American literature for what is suggested about the historical period in which they were written Know and use appropriate literary terms to derive meaning and comprehension from various literary genres (Tennessee English). The above mentioned English IV teaching standards state, Listen actively in group discussions by asking clarifying, elaborating, and synthesizing questions and by managing internal barriers and external to aid comprehension...[and] participate productively in self-directed work teams for a particular purpose (Tennessee English). Students will participate and actively discuss topics that are relevant to their lives, which will help teachers meet the state requirements for Junior and Senior level English classes. Our goal as educators is to motivate students to become life-long readers. Students usually do not actively engage in reading when forced to read literary classics; therefore, it is imperative for teachers to use books that pertain to YA readers. In Creating Motivating Learning Environments: What We Can Learn from Researchers and Students (CMLE), Erika Daniels says, When students learn that they do have control over their choices, thoughts, and actions, it means that their teachers have created motivating learning environments. They are more likely to learn the material or complete the tasks because they feel it is their choice (25). By using YA Literature in the classroom, educators are showing students that they care about their reading needs. When educators use novels such as The God Box they are creating an open

3 dialogue in the classrooms and allowing students free expression. A successful discussion atmosphere will allow students to express all their ideas in a respectable mature fashion. Students in the upper level English courses are mentally mature enough to discuss the controversial topics found in The God Box. In "Using Young Adult Literature in the English Classroom (UYAL), Bushman and Haas argue that students have reached intellectual maturity, and most are able to think in a systematic manner, to reason by implication at the abstract level, and to bring together variables through synthesis as suggested by Piaget and Inhelder 1966 Research (UYAL 6). Educators should discuss their rational for using the book and their expectations before group discussions. When justifying the use of The God Box in the classroom one could argue that for a value system to be vital and viableactive and aliveit needs to be chosen, not imposed (The Problem Novel). As educators, it is our duty to our students to present material relevant to their generation in the classroom because the subjects YA novels present are current in relation to their day-to-day lives. Using The God Box as both an educational tool and social bridge shows students that educators are fully committed of their reading needs. In the Tri-Cities area of Northeast Tennessee, we are seeing more groups of diverse peoples moving to the area. It is imperative that students become socially aware of these diverse social groups. In the area in which I live, students have limited exposure to new groups of diverse people. By reading YA literature that deals with people of diversity, educators are giving students the tools they need to be successful members of society. Students who are socially aware are less likely to condone or accept bullying in any from in their school, which leads to a positive learning environment. When students move to the adult world, they will take their knowledge of social awareness and educate others, which will eventually lead to equality of all people.

4 Work Cited Cart, Michael. What a Wonderful World: Notes on the Evolution of GLBTQ Literature for Young Adults. The ALAN Review 31.2 Winter (2004). 46-52. Web. 01 July 2013. Daniels, Erika. Creating Motivating Learning Environments: What We Can Learn from Researchers and Students. The English Journal (Sept 2010) 100.1: 25-29. Print. LeMieux, A.C. "The Problem Novel in a Conservative Age." The ALAN Review 25.3 Spring (1998). Web. 01 July 2013. Sanchez, Alex. The God Box. New York: Simon & Schuster for Young Readers, 2007. Print. "Tennessee English Language Arts Standards: English III." English/Language Arts Curriculum Standards. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 July 2013. "Tennessee English Language Arts Standards: English IV." English/Language Arts Curriculum Standards. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 July 2013.