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The English Studies Department

The English Department strives to help every student attain maximum effectiveness as a communicator. This commitment is based on the premise that language is the key that unlocks a student’s potential. Through writing, reading, and discussion, the primary focus is to confront the moral foundations evident in classic and contemporary literature. Organizational skills and research techniques are developed through this program. Students are required to complete four years of an English sequence for graduation. Questions about appropriate leveling should be directed to the Department Chair.

Writing Guidelines

Formatting a Paper According to MLA Guidelines as Seen on OWL Purdue University Website

  • 1” margins on all four sides
  • Double spacing throughout the paper
  • Font used is the equivalent of 12 Times New Roman.
  • Name and page # on each page if document is more than one page
  • Four line heading on left side of page which includes in this order: student’s name (spelled correctly), instructor’s name (spelled correctly), class name, date (day month year—without punctuation)
  • Titles of papers are not underlined / italicized (unless they are titles of books or plays), nor are they ever bolded.
  • Paragraphs are indented.
  • Works Cited—not underlined, not bolded, and centered on page
  • Listing(s) on works cited formatted correctly. (This includes alphabetical order if more than one listing, correct margins for each listing, correct punctuation and information within each listing.)
  • In-text citation(s) formatted correctly.
  • Quotations of more than four lines are double indented.

Courses Offered

English pre-AP 1: 1 Credit

In this course, students will meet for six periods a week to study the basic structure and meaning of the short story, the novel, the Shakespearean play, and poetry. The curriculum uses the official Pre-AP 1 resources from the College Board, including norm-referenced tests. A strong composition and grammar program begins in this course focusing on the writing process, research techniques, and grammatical structure with emphasis on studying diction and syntax. Pre-AP courses are designed to support a variety of learners across levels of reading and composition and are not honors or advanced courses (per College Board rules). A strong composition and grammar program begins in this course focusing on the writing process, research techniques, and grammatical structure with emphasis on studying diction and syntax.  The curriculum includes: Romeo and JulietOf Mice and MenThe SunflowerThe Odyssey, a science fiction novel, a unit on mythology, and various essays, short stories and poems.

Concepts of English: 1 Credit

In this skills-focused course, students will meet for six periods a week to develop the skills necessary to be successful in the Pre-AP sophomore class. Students study the basic structure and meaning of the short story, the novel, the memoir, and poetry.  A composition and grammar program begins in this course, focusing on the writing skills, research techniques, and grammar and syntax required to be successful sophomore year.  The curriculum includes: Our Town, Of Mice and Men, The Sunflower, Fahrenheit 451, The Odyssey, and various essays, articles, short stories, and poems.

English II – pre-AP 2: 1 Credit

Pre-AP 2 English is for regular level students and builds on the foundation of Pre-AP 1 English. Students develop awareness of the writer (poet, novelist, playwright, essayist, reporter, writer of non-fiction) manipulates language to persuade, inform, and entertain.  Students will read closely and analyze a range of complex literary and informational texts. They learn to identify textual evidence for support in their discussions and writing, in addition to learning to identify how writers and speaker use specific words and sentence to persuade/change the thoughts, emotions, and actions of readers and listeners. The curriculum uses the official Pre-AP 2 resources from the College Board, including norm-referenced tests.

By the end of each unit, students complete two multiple choice tests as well as a writing tasks where they compose well- crafted and written nuanced analytical paragraphs and essays. To help the students have the vocabulary need for their reading assignments, Membean, the school’s vocabulary program, is integral to this course. Lastly, to help students become life-long readers and explore different types of books, over the course of the year, students will select and read four free choice high school level books, a different genre for each quarter. Pre-AP courses are designed to support a variety of learners across levels of reading and composition and are not honors or advanced courses (per College Board rules).

English III – AP English Language and Composition: 1 Credit

Prerequisite: Teacher Recommendation, writing sample and high test scores. This course engages students in becoming skilled readers of prose focusing on literature and in becoming skilled writers who compose for a variety of purposes. This composition course enables students to read complex texts with understanding and to write prose of sufficient richness and complexity to communicate effectively with mature readers. The study of language itself –differences between oral and written discourse, formal and informal language, historical changes in speech and writing-becomes the basis for this class. Texts include: On Writing WellThe Merchant of VeniceBartleby the ScrivenerThe Things They CarriedAs I lay DyingThe RoadThe Shallows and Death of a Salesman. Upon completion of this course students should be able to: analyze and interpret samples of good writing, identifying and explaining an author’s use of rhetorical strategies and techniques; apply effective strategies in their own writing; write in a variety of genres and contexts; understand the progression of ideas inherent in American literature. Students are expected to complete a research paper. This course prepares students to take the AP English Language Exam in May.

Homework Requirement: 1.5-2 hours per night

Sophomore Seminar: .25 Credit

Prerequisite: Teacher recommendation. In this weekly seminar, students will examine a wide range of texts paying close attention to the author’s reality, style of writing, and historical background. Readings include a Shakespeare comedy, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denosovitch, the Diving Bell and the ButterflyEinstein’s DreamsBrave New World, The Golem and the Ginni and fairy Tales. Awareness of diction and syntax is stressed.

Homework Requirement: 2 hours per week

Junior and Senior Seminars: .25 Credit

Prerequisite: Teacher recommendation. These weekly seminars provide students with additional opportunities to read, write and discuss literature. The junior curriculum is aimed at understanding the American experience. These students read Macbeth, The Autobiography of Fredrick Douglas, The Scarlet Letter, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Walden, Self-Reliance, The Great Gatsby and The Grapes of Wrath.  Students complete a research paper focusing on the theme of The American Dream. Seminars meet Friday mornings at 7:20 a.m.

Homework Requirement: 1 hour per week

English IV – AP Literature and Composition: 1 Credit

Prerequisite: teacher recommendation, appropriate writing sample, and high standardized test scores.
AP English IV focuses on developing the types of interpretative skills and writing competencies that prepare students for advanced work at the college level and to excel on the AP exam. Selections are drawn from a wide range of historical periods. Students must read widely and reflect on their reading through extensive discussion and writing. Students must assume considerable responsibility for the amount of reading they do outside of class, completing written logs on all readings. Authors covered include Wilde, Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, Voltaire, Bronte, Ellison, Woolf, Eliot, and Orwell. Each semester, two 800-word analytic papers are required. Expository essays, often based on A.P. test questions, are completed weekly in class. Students complete a portfolio for their final exam.

Homework Requirement: 1.5 hours per night.

Those students not taking AP English as juniors or seniors select a course from the options below. These courses may be taken at grade level or honors level.

Journalism: .5 Credit

This senior elective focuses on journalistic ethics, news writing, editing, advertising, web analysis, and design.  Emphasis is placed on interviewing techniques, writing skills, and photography layout.  Students examine professional news copy as well as write their own copy with the hope of publishing in The Crown Prints.

Homework Requirement: 2 hours per week

World Literature I – Pillars and Axes – Texts that focus on Internal Conflicts: .5 Credit

This semester class will explore the impact of literature as it affects moral decisions. Texts will include: A Doll’s House, Metamorphosis, The Nose and The Overcoat, Hamlet, and So Long, See You Tomorrow. Students will also complete original research by creating a 1000 word biography of a living role model. Students will earn honors credit if they read The Picture of Dorian Gray, write a 1500 word paper, and perform 25-30 lines from Hamlet.

Homework Requirement: .5 hour per night

World Literature II – The Individual in Society: .5 Credit

This semester class will focus on the role that one person plays in society, and how an individual can make a difference. Texts will include OedipusAntigone1984Brave New WorldMacbeth or The Taming of the Shrew, and Enemy of the People. Students who wish to earn honors credit will also read The Trial by Kafka, write a 1500 word paper, and memorize 25-30 lines of Shakespeare.

Homework Requirement: .5 hour per night

The Hero and Anti-Hero – .5 Credit

This semester class will study architypes and discover the role of the hero in literature and in life. Texts will include: Cyrano,  All the Light We Cannot SeeCatcher in the Rye, and Othello or Julius Caesar. Students who wish to earn honors credit will also read the Stranger by Camus, write a 1500 word paper, and memorize 25-30 lines of Shakespeare.

Homework Requirement: .5 hour per night

Rhetoric – Truth is Stranger than Fiction- Non-fiction reading and writings: .5 Credit

This semester class focuses on non-fiction texts including Nickeled and Dimed, Unbroken, and various essays of varying formats. Rhetorical strategies are emphasized, students will write in-class weekly and complete an 800 word research paper. Students may earn honors credit if they read The Shallows, write a 1500 word paper, and create a portfolio to be presented to the English department chair.

Homework Requirement: .5 hour per night

Public Speaking: .5 Credit

Option for 12th grade, second semester. This one semester course sharpens oral communication skills by building on specific public speaking abilities and heightening critical listening skills. Students learn the fundamentals of voice control, nonverbal delivery, and audience analysis. Each student prepares and delivers both extemporaneous and planned speeches. Required speeches include: informative, interpretive, demonstrative, and persuasive. For the final exam in May, each student prepares a speech and presents it at Oratory Fair.

Homework Requirement: 2 hours per week

Film: .5 Credit

Elective for first and second semester. In this course, the primary goals are to develop the habits of analysis, criticism, understanding and appreciation of film in a disciplined and creative manner, beginning with a general overview of film theory and research followed by a closer look at twelve specific films. Much of what students learn about language and culture is filtered through the visual media. The course moves beyond text analysis (plot, theme, character) to cinematic concepts such as framing, lighting, editing, and sound without becoming too technical. The course traces the history of cinema in the United States, and explores the star system, the importance of directors, the combat film, romantic comedy, and film noir. Films are screened in class and discussions follow each screening. Early films include those by Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, and the Marx Brothers, Citizen Kane, and Singing in the Rain. Modern directors, such as Penny Marshall, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are studied as well.

Homework Requirement: .5 hour per night

Drama: .5 Credit

This semester class will study The Tempest by Shakespeare, Pygmalion by Shaw, and Our Town by Wilder to examine dramatic techniques and styles. Then, as the semester final, students will perform scenes from these plays.

Homework Requirement: .5 hour per night

Creative Writing: .5 Credit

This semester class will study a variety of great writing and students will create a portfolio of their own poetry, short stories, and a children’s book.

Homework Requirement: .5 hour per night

New Media & Communication: .5 Credit

In this class, students will delve into our current media landscape, thinking critically about our ultra-connected world. We will examine the role of legacy media, social media, and disruptive media. Students will scrutinize, argue, and write about the effects of these shifts. The class will include a comprehensive understanding of logical fallacies, an introduction to debate, and public presentation of arguments. The class will incorporate project and problem-based learning.

Homework Requirement: .5 hour per night

Personal Growth and Reflections: .5 Credit

This course is designed to encourage students to explore wellness topics and tools to increase self-awareness and gain personal insight. Topics will include individual values and beliefs, goal setting, decision-making processes, and critical and creative thinking. Students will examine patterns of inter- and intra- personal communication by studying topics in developmental psychology and personality theories. Students will also explore tools for self-discovery and techniques for personal growth such as self-assessments, mindfulness, journaling, and creative art making. Students will be required to complete a variety of readings, assignments and exercises and participate in group discussion.

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