English Language Arts: Scope and Sequence

english-icon-100px


English 9

Recommended For: Freshmen
Prerequisites: None

Freshmen English is a year long, introductory course to the literary canon. Students study different literary genres, including short stories, novels, poetry, drama, and non-fiction, grammar, and critical thinking skills. Students read five to eight novels and plays from the classical canon, including Charles Dickens and the Victorian Era. In addition, students read major works by Homer, Shakespeare, Harper Lee, and many others. Students are required to read both in class and out of class. In addition, students will complete formal writing assignments reflecting on selected pieces of literature. Significant grammar and composition units are studied; creative writing is developed through modeling themes and techniques from literature. Students develop mastery of thesis, support, and argumentation in composition. In addition, students develop memorization and public speaking skills, and video recording is used for student self-critiquing. Graded writing assignments will include formal essays, timed pieces, and journal writings. Research skills, including internet research, culminate with the writing of a formal research paper. Students’ study of literature continues with an increased emphasis on developing critical thinking skills.

Throughout the semester, the focus will be on developing one skill in particular: asking questions. In this course, an expectation will be for all students to be actively engaged in the reading and writing process by formulating and sharpening key questions about literary texts. Learning how to become a discriminating reader by posing interesting questions will be a central task per semester. Students are to think of each text as an “open” text. An “open” text is one that presents the reader with a multiplicity of contradictory meanings, and the pleasure of reading and rereading such a text is precisely to explore those contradictions. Indeed, as students will discover, each person brings different ideas to a literary text and draws different conclusions from it. While valuing these differences, it will also be their work not to fall into a flattening of meaning: not all interpretations and ideas are equally valid or productive. It will be their work to each have an opinion, an idea that matters, and to figure out where we stand in relation to the thoughts and opinions of others.

 


Honors English 9

Recommended For: Freshmen
Prerequisites: Applicant must be a 9th grade student and have a final grade of B or above in 8th grade Language Arts (both semesters)

Honors English is a year long, introductory course to the literary canon. Students study different literary genres, including short stories, novels, poetry, drama, and non-fiction, grammar, and critical thinking skills. Students read five to eight novels and plays from the classical canon, including Charles Dickens and the Victorian Era. In addition, students read major works by Homer, Shakespeare, Harper Lee, and many others. Students are required to read both in class and out of class. In addition, students will complete formal writing assignments reflecting on selected pieces of literature. Significant grammar and composition units are studied; creative writing is developed through modeling themes and techniques from literature. Students develop mastery of thesis, support, and argumentation in composition. In addition, students develop memorization and public speaking skills, and video recording is used for student self-critiquing. Graded writing assignments will include formal essays, timed pieces, and journal writings. Research skills, including internet research, culminate with the writing of a formal research paper. Students’ study of literature continues with an increased emphasis on developing critical thinking and writing skills. A comprehensive written or other type of final assessment is required.

 


World Literature 10

Recommended For: Sophomores
Prerequisites: Applicant must have completed English 9

World Literature is designed to expose students to perspectives that differ from their own, ultimately leading them to a deeper understanding of other cultures and the works that represent them. The course is a study of representative works of world literature from Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance. The course emphasizes the study and consideration of the literary, cultural, and human significance of selected great works of the Western and non-Western literary traditions. An emphasis will be placed on writing, speaking, and research elements corresponding to California Standards. Therefore, students will thematically study, analyze, interpret, & critique various genres of literature and other media based on the historical and cultural context of the author and his/her culture.

An important goal of the class is to promote an understanding of the works in their cultural/historical contexts and of the enduring human values, which unite the different literary traditions. The course’s pedagogy gives special attention to critical thinking and writing within a framework of cultural diversity as well as comparative and interdisciplinary analysis.

Throughout the semester, the focus will be on developing one skill in particular: asking questions. In this course, an expectation will be for all students to be actively engaged in the reading and writing process by formulating and sharpening key questions about literary texts. Learning how to become a discriminating reader by posing interesting questions will be a central task per semester. Students are to think of each text as an “open” text. An “open” text is one that presents the reader with a multiplicity of contradictory meanings, and the pleasure of reading and rereading such a text is precisely to explore those contradictions. Indeed, as students will discover, each person brings different ideas to a literary text and draws different conclusions from it. While valuing these differences, it will also be their work not to fall into a flattening of meaning: not all interpretations and ideas are equally valid or productive. It will be their work to each have an opinion, an idea that matters, and to figure out where we stand in relation to the thoughts and opinions of others.

Such texts that may be read within the course are Antigone by Sophocles, All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Marie Remarque, Don Quixote of La Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes, Lord of the Flies by William Golding and others.

 


Honors World Literature 10

Recommended For: Sophomores
Prerequisites: Applicant must be a 10th grade student and have a final grade of an A or B in 9th grade ELA or Honors English 9

World Literature is designed to expose students to perspectives that differ from their own, ultimately leading them to a deeper understanding of other cultures and the works that represent them. The course is a study of representative works of world literature from Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance. The course emphasizes the study and consideration of the literary, cultural, and human significance of selected great works of the Western and non-Western literary traditions. An emphasis will be placed on writing, speaking, and research elements corresponding to California Standards. Therefore, students will thematically study, analyze, interpret, & critique various genres of literature and other media based on the historical and cultural context of the author and his/her culture. An important goal of the class is to promote an understanding of the works in their cultural/historical contexts and of the enduring human values, which unite the different literary traditions. The course’s pedagogy gives special attention to critical thinking and writing within a framework of cultural diversity as well as comparative and interdisciplinary analysis. A comprehensive, written final exam is required on all reading and discussions from class.

 


English 11

Recommended For: Juniors
Prerequisites: Applicant must have completed World Literature 10

English 11 is a language arts course that focuses on reading, interpreting, and analyzing literature of the various periods and genres of the American literary tradition through thematic units. Students examine the significant connections between American literature and American culture, with emphasis on the American experience. Students also examine how the use of literary and/or rhetorical devices and literary elements illuminate the meaning of a text. Students compose a number of writings for a variety of audiences, occasions and purposes and in doing so, come to understand the roles each of these play in the shaping of a piece of writing. Through the completion of a research essay, students evaluate sources, examine and employ use of ethos and logos, and learn to structure an argument that takes its place in an ongoing conversation about an important topic of the day.

 


American Literature 11

Recommended For: Juniors
Prerequisites: Applicant must have completed World Literature 10

The core of the curriculum is a chronological or thematic study of American literature, its literary periods and major writers. Outside reading focuses on broader philosophical ideas, encouraging wider reading including classics by American authors. This course provides an intensive study of the works of several major American authors. Emphasis is placed on American history, culture, and the literary merits. Readings will include poems, novels, essays, autobiographies, short stories, social commentaries, political tracts, and philosophy, originating in different regions and social settings across the country. Some works are chosen from their historical importance, others for their thematic insight, others for their aesthetic virtues. Taken together, they form a rich collection of imaginative and critical writing, composed by former slaves and United States Presidents, by immigrants and expatriates, by Harvard professors and unknown spinsters.

To the contrary, the traditional canon is an essential element of this course, and the syllabus includes writers like Mark Twain, William Faulkner, T.S. Eliot, and Ernest Hemingway. The goal is to juxtapose their work with African American writing and actively pursue discussions arising from the similarities, differences, and variations that may present themselves. By placing an added focus on African American writers and issues of race, a specific “lens” is applied to this course. Thus, the parameters for this vision are defined. This can be the most effective way to approach American literature. As a whole, American literature is too massive to magically be “taken in” by a general method of study. The best way to enter into American literature is by applying a series of lenses. Race may be our focus now, but beyond this course, students may approach the works of other ethnic groups.

 


Honors American Literature 11

Recommended For: Juniors
Prerequisites: Applicant must be an 11th grade student and have a final grade of an A or B in 10th grade ELA or Honors English 10

The core of the curriculum is a chronological or thematic study of American literature, its literary periods and major writers. Outside reading focuses on broader philosophical ideas, encouraging wider reading including classics by American authors. This course provides an intensive study of the works of several major American authors. Emphasis is placed on American history, culture, and the literary merits. Readings will include poems, novels, essays, autobiographies, short stories, social commentaries, political tracts, and philosophy, originating in different regions and social settings across the country. Some works are chosen from their historical importance, others for their thematic insight, others for their aesthetic virtues. Taken together, they form a rich collection of imaginative and critical writing, composed by former slaves and United States Presidents, by immigrants and expatriates, by Harvard professors and unknown spinsters.

 


British Literature

Recommended For: Seniors
Prerequisites: Applicant must have completed American Literature 11

Students will read a wide variety of British literature from the Anglo-Saxon invasion through the first half of 20th century. In addition to the assigned text, students will also be responsible for outside independent reading. Emphasis is placed on historical background, cultural context, and literary analysis of selected prose, poetry, and drama. Readings in the first semester of the course range from Beowulf and The Canterbury Tales through works by Sir Thomas Malory, Edmund Spencer, Christopher Marlowe, Sir Walter Scott, John Donne and Andrew Marvell to discuss works from the Anglo-Saxon invasion to the Middle Ages and the 18th Century. Readings in the second semester of the course consist of major works of British Literature from 1789 to the present, including such texts by Blake, Byron, Wordsworth, Keats, Shelly, Tennyson, Browning, Arnold, Carlyle, Hardy, Conrad, Yeats, Woolfe, Joyce and Eliot. Upon completion, students should be able to interpret, analyze, and respond to literary works in their historical and cultural contexts.

Students will be responsible for learning through tests, quizzes, group and individual presentations, and a variety of writing assignments. The writing will stem directly from the reading and provide students the opportunity to improve expository and persuasive skills. Class writing activities will also include some informal, personal narrative, and creative writing to help clarify ideas and stimulate discussion about the readings. The course focuses on the specific history and development of British literature. Therefore one main objective is for students to learn information about writers, their works, and literary movements.

Throughout the semester, the focus will be on developing one skill in particular: asking questions. In this course, an expectation will be for all students to be actively engaged in the reading and writing process by formulating and sharpening key questions about literary texts. Learning how to become a discriminating reader by posing interesting questions will be a central task per semester. Students are to think of each text as an “open” text. It will be their work to each have an opinion, an idea that matters, and to figure out where we stand in relation to the thoughts and opinions of others.

 


Honors British Literature

Recommended For: Seniors
Prerequisites: Applicant must have completed American Literature 11

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to a wide range of British literature. It is a survey course and will cover all major literary time periods from Medieval English to Postmodern and Contemporary British voices. Students will read poetry, novels, plays, speeches, satires, and essays throughout the year, and will be expected to respond thoroughly to the texts using a breadth of both written and oral assessments. Students will be encouraged to read closely and to value textual evidence at all times. Thorough annotations of novels and texts will be expected.

 


Creative Writing

Recommended For: Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors
Prerequisites: None

Creative Writing is an extensive introduction to the writing of poetry and prose. Through close reading of the works of published authors and poets, students will examine the elements of writing, and through a variety of  writing exercises and prompts, students will create writings of their own. Students will complete prose writings—essays, short stories, narratives, etc.—and a number of poems in a variety of formats and styles  Specifically, students will examine and practice elements and techniques such as setting, tone, style, structure, plot, theme, diction, figurative language, symbolism and poetic forms. Students will share their work with other students in a workshop format and often with the class as a whole. A command of grammar and mechanics as well as literary terms and devices is essential for success in this class.

 


Mythology

Recommended For: Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors
Prerequisites: None

This class is a thematic introduction to ancient mythology. The theme is; life and death in the ancient world. The course will follow heroes as they struggle with the deaths of their companions and their own inevitable demise. We shall move from Gilgamesh through the Greek, Jewish, Christian, Indian and Islamic traditions. We will examine the appropriate art history, compare and contrast with student's expectations and prior knowledge and develop essays to show understanding.