English

Introduction to Literature and Composition

Grade 9; 1 Credit - Two Semesters; Honors Section Available

            In this full-year core course, students explore the various conventions intrinsic to literary genres, such as the novel, short story, poetry, and drama. Vocabulary is taught as an outgrowth of the literature as well as through vocabulary texts; grammar is taught as a means of writing effective prose. Composition is integrated with reading, listening/speaking, and thinking skills. Students in the course learn the process approach to writing and strive for clarity and conciseness of expression in written and oral assignments. They begin the process of citing sources, using the Modern Language Association (MLA) format.

            The honors section of this core course moves more rapidly and covers more material than the regular course. Though it includes those goals articulated for the non-honors sections, the honors-level course also includes enrichment in reading, composition and vocabulary. The Placement Committee, considering entrance test scores, other standardized testing, and elementary school grades, determines enrollment in this honors section.

 

Communication Skills

Grade 10; 1/2 Credit - Either Semester; Honors Section Available

            This core course improves skills in speaking, listening, writing, and reading.  Some activities covered include outlining, writing and presenting speeches, as well as expanding vocabulary knowledge and literature appreciation.  In addition, students participate in Student Congress, utilizing parliamentary procedure and, at the end of the semester, will perform an oral interpretation of literature and a PowerPoint presentation. 

            The honors-level section covers the material of the regular section of this course at a faster pace and requires students to compose and deliver an extra speech, a ten minute oratory, and read an additional literary work.  In addition, students attend a forensic tournament and present a seminar paper.  This course is taught in tandem with Academic Writing.  Enrollment in the honors section is limited to those students who have shown high aptitude in English, have departmental approval, and have approval of the Placement Committee. 

 

Academic Writing

Grade 10; 1/2 Credit - Either Semester; Honors Section Available

            The course’s goal is to familiarize students with the elements of composition, the potential of language, and the types of essays required for high school and college writing. This course introduces students to the writing process of prewriting, drafting and editing.  The course uses a series of model essays that emphasize structure, style and subject matter of various essay modes.  Then, students will write papers using these modes. These essays will culminate in the final assignment, a five-page research paper that uses the MLA format.  In order to enhance language use, the students will also study vocabulary and incorporate writing-based grammar exercises. 

            The honors level of this course covers a greater number of more difficult reading and writing assignments.  Enrollment in the honors section is limited to those students who have shown high aptitude in English, have departmental approval, and have approval of the Placement Committee. 

American Literature

Grade 11; 1 Credit - Two Semesters; Honors Section Available

            This core course will focus on a selection of themes in a variety of genres, including novel, short story, poetry, and drama.  The first semester deals with American literature to 1869; the second continues to the present.  Readings will examine the human condition as found in the common conflicts, emotions, and ideas that challenge American people.  Students will be asked to do a close and critical reading of literary works in order to comprehend their social, political, and cultural contexts.  In addition, students will enrich their vocabulary and literary terminology as well as refine their formal writing and communication skills. 

            The honors level of this course covers a greater number of reading and writing assignments than the non-honors sections.  Enrollment in the honors section is limited to those students who have shown high aptitude in English, have departmental approval, and have approval of the Placement Committee. 

 

AP English Language and Composition

Grade 11; 1 Credit - Two Semesters

            This advanced placement honors level course is offered to juniors who have a proven background in the study of English and writing who wish to work at the college level.  This course will be taken instead of American Literature. The course will advance the students’ critical reading skills in prose written in a variety of periods, disciplines, and rhetorical contexts; furthermore, it will help them to become skilled writers who can compose for a variety of purposes. American Literature will be emphasized. By their writing and reading in this course, the students should become aware of the interactions among a writer’s purposes, audience expectations, and subjects, as well as the way generic conventions and the resources of language contribute to effective writing.  Enrollment is limited to students who have shown high aptitude in other English honors courses, have departmental approval, and have approval of the Placement Committee. 

 

World Literature

Grade 12; 1 Credit - Two Semesters; Honors Section Available

            This core course fulfills the senior literature survey requirement.  This course introduces students to a variety of cultures and to the themes and values that preoccupy their writers.  Voices from Greece, Italy, France, Ireland, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Czechoslovakia, Russia, China, South Africa, South America, and the U.S. are represented in this course.  Special emphasis is given to British writers.  The written and oral assignments emphasize critical thinking, reading, and writing, as well as the use of the MLA format.  Vocabulary and literary terminology are studied as adjuncts to the readings. 

            The honors level of this course covers a greater number of reading and writing assignments than the non-honors sections.  Enrollment in the honors section is limited to students who have shown high aptitude in English, have departmental approval, and have approval of the Placement Committee.

 

AP English Literature and Composition

Grade 12; 1 Credit - Two Semesters

            This advanced placement honors level course is offered to seniors who have a proven background in the study of English and who wish to work at the college level. The course is focused thematically and includes the study of genre, language, meaning, and gender through a diverse array of texts.  The course stresses a close reading approach to the study of literature, precision and economy in the written analysis of texts, and the knowledge of terms and strategies needed for the AP English Literature Test.  Enrollment is limited to students who have shown high aptitude in other English honors courses, have departmental approval, and have approval of the Placement Committee. 

 

Creative Writing

Grades 11, 12; 1/2 Credit - Fall Semester

            A semester elective, this course will cover the study and practice of various forms of creative writing. Students will compose assignments in short fiction, poetry, drama, and creative non-fiction. Assignments will be assessed for both style and content; for the purposes of grading, the originality of students’ ideas will be considered, but so too will their ability to master the form of expression. We will begin each unit by reading models of published works. Course readings will include mostly contemporary examples of short fiction, poetry, personal essays, plays, and film and television scripts. Students’ final grades will be determined by assessments of the readings and a portfolio of their best creative work.      

No one composes a masterpiece in a first draft. Successful pieces will be those that abide by each step of the writing process, from the initial reflection to the final proofread. Students will be expected to revise, edit, and rewrite assignments with the goal of submitting polished, completed drafts. Once they have reached that point, students will be encouraged to pursue publication of their work through various channels, such as writing contests, the school literary magazine, and professional publications that accept this kind of work.

 

Digital Media

Grades 11, 12; 1/2 Credit - Spring Semester

            A semester elective, this course offers a range of educational opportunities including reporting, interviewing, writing and editing.  Students in the course are introduced to the journalistic styles including news, editorial, feature, column, and review, with complete assignments in each type.  In addition, elements of layout design, photography, art/cartooning, computer use and desktop publishing are taught.  The class emphasizes the development of critical reading skills, problem solving, social awareness, interpersonal relationships, responsibility, objectivity, and a willingness to deal with timely and/or controversial topics.  At the same time, the course demands a practical approach to "on-the-spot" writing and the continued use of good grammar and punctuation.  Enrollment preference will be given to students who already serve the school community as editors and contributors to school publications.

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