English 11

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. 


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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