I got to teach one of my favorite lessons today: Bluebonnet/ Genre Mashup.
I came up with it last year when my fourth grade teachers asked me to review genres when I wanted to promote our Texas Bluebonnet Award Nominees. Being short on time, I decided to hit both topics at once. A quick review of genre definitions, and then we're on to Bluebonnets--I read an annotation of a book, and each group of students must decide which genre the book belongs to, holding up a pre-printed sign naming their decision. I then call upon a group or two to defend their answer, and we continue with more annotations/ genre labeling for the remainder of our fifteen-minute lesson.
I anticipated the confusion between realistic fiction and historical fiction. What I didn't anticipate was my halting explanation of science fiction.
I realized, as I was thinking aloud with the class, that so much of the science fiction of my past is now reality for our students. They live with cell phones (and wristwatch phones!), face-to-face long distance communication, instant messaging, touch screens, voice-activated technology...even replicators, if we consider the work being done with 3D printing in the medical and industrial fields.
I was left with examples of flying my own rocket from my backyard to a planet outside our galaxy, robots walking among us as an everyday occurrence, and time travel.
It leaves me wondering, though--are we narrowing the gap between science fiction and science as reality? What does this mean for children's literature? Maybe I need to explore this genre more deeply as a reader, to see what big dreams our futuristic science fiction writers have in store for us.