Course Descriptions – English

English 9

English 9 provides an introduction to informational and literary genres and lays a foundation of critical reading and analytical writing skills. Through texts that range from essays, speeches, articles and historical documents to a novel, a play, poetry and short stories, students analyze the use of elements of literature and nonfiction. As they develop their writing skills and respond to claims, students learn to formulate arguments and use textual evidence to support their position.  To hone their listening and speaking skills, students engage with a variety of media types through which they analyze and synthesize information, discuss material, create presentations, and share their work.

English 9 supports all students in developing depth of understanding and higher order skills. Students break down increasingly complex readings with close reading tools, guided instruction and robust scaffolding as they apply each of the lesson’s concepts back to its anchor text. Students build their writing and speaking skills in journal responses, discussions, frequent free response exercises, and essays or presentations, learning to communicate clearly and credibly in narrative, argumentative, and explanatory styles.

English 10

English 10 builds upon students’ foundation of critical reading and analytical writing skills. Through texts that range from investigative journalism, essays, articles and historical documents to a novel, drama, poetry and short stories, students analyze the use of elements of literature and nonfiction. As they develop their writing skills and respond to claims, students learn to refine arguments and organize evidence to support their position. To hone their listening and speaking skills, students engage with a variety of media types through which they analyze and synthesize information, discuss material, create presentations, and share their work.

English 10 supports all students in developing depth of understanding and higher order skills. Students break down increasingly complex readings with close reading tools, guided instruction and robust scaffolding as they apply each of the lesson’s concepts back to its anchor text. Students build their writing and speaking skills in journal responses, discussions, frequent free response exercises, and essays or presentations, learning to communicate clearly and credibly in narrative, argumentative, and explanatory styles.

English 11

In English 11, students examine the belief systems, events, and literature that have shaped the United States. Starting with the Declaration of Independence, students explore how the greatest American literature tells the stories of individuals who have struggled for independence and freedom: freedom of self, freedom of thought, freedom of home and country. Students reflect on the role of the individual in Romantic and Transcendentalist literature that considers the relationship between citizens and government, and they question whether the American Dream is still achievable while examining Modernist disillusionment with American idealism. As well, reading the words of Frederick Douglass and those of the Civil Rights Act, students look carefully at the experience of African Americans and their struggle to achieve equal rights. Finally, students reflect on how individuals cope with the influence of war, cultural tensions, and technology in the midst of trying to build and secure their own personal identity.

English 11 supports all students in developing depth of understanding and higher order skills. Students break down increasingly complex readings with close reading tools, guided instruction, and robust scaffolding as they apply each of the lesson’s concepts back to its anchor text.  Students build their writing and speaking skills in journal responses, discussions, frequent free response exercises, and essays or presentations, learning to communicate clearly and credibly in narrative, argumentative, and explanatory styles.

English 12

English 12 asks students to delve into the mingled history of British and World literature. It asks students to imagine: Face to face with a human being unlike any you’ve seen before, do you feel fear, awe, or curiosity? Do you look for what you can give, what you can take, or what you can share? Do you find unfamiliar people and customs magical, mysterious, or monstrous? Students explore how humans interact with and influence each other—historically, socially, and otherwise—and examine the complexities of cultural identity in our global and fast-changing world.

English 12 supports all students in developing depth of understanding and higher order skills. Students break down increasingly complex readings with close reading tools, guided instruction, and robust scaffolding as they apply each of the lesson’s concepts back to its anchor text. Students build their writing and speaking skills in journal responses, discussions, frequent free response exercises, and essays or presentations, learning to communicate clearly and credibly in narrative, argumentative, and explanatory styles.

Introduction to Literature & Composition

Introduction to Literature and Composition covers literature study, reading, writing, and language. Students explore literature from around the world, including the following genres: short story, poetry, memoir, autobiography, drama, and epic. They read examples of informational writing, such as a letter, web site, magazine article, newspaper article, speech, editorial, and movie or book review. Along the way, they acquire and practice reading skills and strategies that are directly applicable to these literary and informational reading materials. In addition, students develop and practice writing and language skills. They employ the writing process to create narrative, expository, and persuasive compositions. They also learn to create and evaluate media presentations and oral presentations and to fine-tune their listening skills.

Critical Reading & Effective Writing

Critical Reading and Effective Writing offers a balanced curriculum that develops both academic and life skills. Concepts are presented in creative and lively ways that reinforce learning goals and engage students. Literary selections include short fiction and poetry from around the globe, Shakespearean and modern drama, and contemporary novels. Nonfiction selections feature historical correspondence, diaries, logs, and famous courtroom arguments. Life reading skills target forms, applications, and work-related communication. Throughout both semesters, students build active reading strategies as they question, predict, clarify, and evaluate events and ideas presented in text.

The writing program builds confidence in young writers by targeting control of organization, effective sentences, and word choice. Students compose using the writing process. Grammar review and vocabulary development are included in every unit.

American Literature

American Literature is a literature and composition course offering organized as a survey of American literature. It can stand alone as a complete year of general study in English without a specific prerequisite, but its modular design allows flexibility in how the program is used in the classroom; teachers may use a single unit, lesson, or activity to supplement regular class content. The course builds literary and communication skills, including reading, writing, language appreciation and aesthetics, listening and speaking, viewing and representing, and research.

Within these general topic areas, special emphasis is placed on writing expository, research, and creative compositions; honing critical and analytic skills through close readings of literary, historical, expository, and functional documents; using context strategies and an understanding of etymology to build vocabulary; and practicing communication skills.

Reading selections cover a variety of genres and voices in literature and expository prose. Students read a survey of American literature from colonial to contemporary eras. They learn and practice workplace communication skills in special activities. Finally, students practice gathering, evaluating, synthesizing, presenting, and documenting information in a unit dedicated to writing research reports.

Summaries and annotations support fluency and comprehension of all reading material. Robust scaffolding in the form of process guides and graphic organizers helps reluctant writers to internalize strategies and develop composition skills. Select activities target text-handling skills and promote improved performance on commonly assessed literary analysis and response standards. Study sheets support engagement with direct instruction and develop note-taking and study skills.

British and World Literature

British and World Literature is a streamlined survey of British literature that illustrates the origins of English-language literature and reflects its reach beyond the British Isles. The course is standards-based. Each activity correlates to state standards in six core areas: reading, writing, language (appreciation and aesthetics), listening and speaking, viewing and representing (including media literacy), and research. The course gives students meaningful practice in fundamental literacy skills while introducing them to classics of British and world literature. Throughout the course, students are encouraged to think and respond independently, critically, and creatively to the subject matter, whether it’s a work of literature, a piece of nonfiction writing, or a media work. The course emboldens students to approach these works — both on their own terms and within a larger context — while providing them with the tools and encouragement they need in order to do so.

Summaries and annotations support fluency and comprehension of all reading material. Robust scaffolding in the form of process guides and graphic organizers helps reluctant writers to internalize strategies and develop composition skills. Select activities target text-handling skills and promote improved performance on commonly assessed literary analysis and response standards. Study sheets support engagement with direct instruction and develop note-taking and study skills.

Creative Writing .5

Creative Writing is an English elective course that focuses on the exploration of short fiction and poetry, culminating in a written portfolio that includes one revised short story and three to five polished poems. Students draft, revise, and polish fiction and poetry through writing exercises, developing familiarity with literary terms and facility with the writing process as they study elements of creative writing.

Elements of fiction writing explored in this course include attention to specific detail, observation, character development, setting, plot, and point of view. In the poetry units, students learn about the use of sensory details and imagery, figurative language, and sound devices including rhyme, rhythm and alliteration. They also explore poetic forms ranging from found poems and slam poetry to traditional sonnets and villanelles.

In addition to applying literary craft elements in guided creative writing exercises, students engage in critical reading activities designed to emphasize the writing craft of a diverse group of authors. Students study short stories by authors such as Bharati Mukherjee and Edgar Allan Poe, learning how to create believable characters and develop setting and plot. Likewise, students read poetry by canonical greats such as W. B. Yeats and Emily Dickinson as well as contemporary writers such as Pablo Neruda, Sherman Alexie, and Alice Notley. Studying the writing technique of a range of authors provides students with models and inspiration as they develop their own voices and refine their understanding of the literary craft.

By taking a Creative Writing course, students find new approaches to reading and writing that can affect them on a personal level, as the skills they gain in each lesson directly benefit their own creative goals. Students who are already actively engaged writers and readers learn additional tools and insight into the craft of writing to help them further hone their skills and encourage their creative as well as academic growth.

Reading Skills and Strategies .5

Reading Skills and Strategies is a course is designed to help the struggling reader develop mastery in the areas of reading comprehension, vocabulary building, study skills, and media literacy, which are the course’s primary content strands. Using these strands, the course guides the student through the skills necessary to be successful in the academic world and beyond. The reading comprehension strand focuses on introducing the student to the varied purposes of reading (e.g., for entertainment, for information, to complete a task, or to analyze). In the vocabulary strand, the student learns specific strategies for understanding and remembering new vocabulary. In the study skills strand, the student learns effective study and test-taking strategies. In the media literacy strand, the student learns to recognize and evaluate persuasive techniques, purposes, design choices, and effects of media. The course encourages personal enjoyment in reading with 10 interviews featuring the book choices and reading adventures of students and members of the community.

English Foundations I

English Foundations I supports adolescent literacy development at the critical stage between decoding and making meaning from text. Through intensive reading and writing skills instruction, deep practice sets, consistent formative feedback, graduated reading levels, and helpful strategy tips, the course leads students to improved comprehension and text handling.

Semester 1 provides instruction in basic reading skills and vocabulary building. The student learns what a successful reader does to attack words and sentences and make meaning from them. Semester 2 provides instruction in basic writing skills, introduces academic tools, and demonstrates effective study skills. The student learns step-by-step processes for building effective paragraphs and learns how to use academic tools such as reference books and outlines. To provide additional support, the course uses text features and visual clues to draw students’ attention to important information. The use of text features is also designed to help students internalize strategies for comprehending informational text.

Characters appear throughout the instruction to offer tips and fix-up strategies in an authentic, first-person, think-aloud format. Their inclusion makes transparent the reading processes that go on inside the mind of a successful reader. This extra metacognitive support serves to bolster student confidence and provide a model of process and perseverance.

Numerous practice opportunities are provided in the form of assessments that move from no stakes to low stakes to high stakes throughout a unit. This practice is centered on authentic and age-appropriate passages that are written in a topical framework and use controlled syntax and vocabulary. The difficulty of these passages gradually increases from a 3rd- to 5th grade reading level over the duration of the course. Additional support is offered through significant formative feedback in practice and assessment.

This course guides students through the reading, writing, and basic academic skills needed to prepare for success in academic coursework. At the end of the course, the student should be poised for continued success in the academic world. The content is based on extensive national and state standards research and consultation with reading specialists and classroom teachers. It aligns to state standards for reading and writing and to NCTE/IRA reading and writing standards.

English Foundations II

English Foundations II offers a year of skill building and strategy development in reading and writing. Semester one is a reading program designed to help struggling readers develop mastery in the areas of reading comprehension, vocabulary building, study skills, and media literacy. Semester two is a writing program which builds confidence in composition fundamentals by focusing on the areas of composing, grammar, style, and media literacy. Both semesters are structured around ten mini-units which offer interactive instruction and guided practice in each of the four learning strands. Students read for a variety of purposes and write for a variety of audiences. The workshops stress high interest, engaging use of technology, relevant topics, and robustly scaffolded practice. Students learn to use different types of graphic organizers as they develop and internalize reading and writing process strategies. They build confidence as they develop skills and experience success on numerous low stakes assessments that encourage growth and reinforce learning.

The reading program content is based on the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), International Reading Association (IRA), National Reading Program (NRP), and McREL, standards and aligned to state standards. The writing program is based on the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) standards and aligned to state standards