English Course Descriptions

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English 9: Reading, Writing, and Research

Students read widely in the genres of world literature from classic and contemporary texts. Students read major works by Homer, Shakespeare, Harper Lee, and many others. The study of the principles of grammar and composition leads to formal essays of analysis. Instruction in essay writing emphasizes the importance of thesis, outlining, and development. College-preparatory vocabulary is formally studied and reinforced through cumulative testing. Introduction to the method and style of MLA research culminates a yearlong research project on the life, times, and works of Charles Dickens.

Honors English 9: Reading, Writing, and Research

This course is designed to prepare students for high school and college success with a comprehensive college-preparatory reading and composition curriculum. Students read eight to ten novels and plays from the classical canon, including yearlong reading for an MLA research project on Charles Dickens and the Victorian Era. In addition, students read major works by Homer, Shakespeare, Harper Lee, and many others. 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. Cumulative vocabulary testing includes 350+ words and literary terms. The curriculum offers students the skills they need to succeed on the SAT.  Prerequisite: Completion of English 8 or equivalent with grade of A or a grade of B with teacher approval.

 

Avid discussions, moot court, debates--all are an important part of the English curriculum at R-MA.

English 10: Reading, Writing, and Research

Students read widely in genres of classic and contemporary literature. Students read seven to ten novels and plays and a wide array of masterpieces of poetry and nonfiction. They focus on the study of types of rhetoric and are challenged to write a variety of essays—narrative, expository, descriptive, argument, and cause and effect. The study of nonfiction writing culminates with the sophomore speech contest. Rigorous vocabulary study continues with cumulative testing in preparation for the PSAT, SAT, and ACT. Students are guided through the process of writing a multi-source, fully-documented MLA research paper.

Honors English 10: Reading, Writing, and Research

This course is designed to prepare students for high school and college success with a comprehensive college-preparatory reading and composition curriculum. Students read eight to ten novels and plays from the classical canon. Full-length texts include works by Sophocles, Shakespeare, Hugo, Tolstoy, Stevenson, and Huxley. Students read standard texts of nonfiction in the categories of history, biography, and criticism as part of the second-quarter MLA research project. In the third quarter, tenth graders participate in a speech contest; video recording is used for student self-critiquing. Creative writing is developed through modeling themes and techniques from literature. Cumulative vocabulary testing includes 350+ words and literary terms. The curriculum of the two classes offers students the training needed to succeed in Advanced Placement courses.  Prerequisite: Completion of English 9 or equivalent with grade of A or a grade of B with teacher approval.

English 11: American Literature

Juniors undertake a formal survey of American literature that provides an appreciation of the rich heritage of our culture as well as a sense of the American identity and the prominence that American culture has achieved in the world. Students explore the novels, plays, poems, and nonfiction writings that have defined our nation. Students are guided step-by-step through the process of writing a multisource, fully-documented research paper. Students continue to develop thinking, writing, and speaking skills to a level that will help with success on the SAT and ACT, as well as help prepare students for college application letters and the interview process.

Honors English 11: Advanced American Literature

Advanced students of English may take this general survey of American literature. While much of the course will focus on the American genre, selections in world literature will allow a more comparative approach to the American experience around the globe. As in the English 11 course, students explore the novels, plays, poems, and nonfiction that have defined our nation. Students are guided step-by-step through the process of writing a multisource, fully documented research paper. Students continue to develop thinking, writing, and speaking skills to a level that will help with success on the SAT and ACT, as well as success with college application letters and the interview process. Prerequisite: Completion of English 10 or equivalent with a grade of A or a grade of B with teacher approval.

 

Students read a wide variety of texts throughout the school year. In addition to what they are required to read for English class, they have the opportunity to participate in the Alpha Readers Book Club.

Advanced Placement Language and Composition

The course aims to develop students as skilled readers and writers and to expose them to a variety of prose written in many periods, disciplines, and contexts. Students taking the course gain an awareness of the importance of purpose, audience, and subject when approaching writing.  Narrative strategies are explored. The course affords students the opportunity to read and write in a variety of forms—narrative, expository, creative, and argumentative.  Students gain mastery in the process of drafting, revising, editing, and polishing a piece of work. In developing sophisticated reading and writing skills, students explore and describe how language works. They learn to observe and analyze the words, patterns, and structures that create subtle effects of language. They learn to demonstrate working knowledge of parts of speech, structural patterns, awareness of connotation, and shades of meaning. They learn to synthesize material from diverse sources and to document formal MLA research papers. The course provides an opportunity for exceptionally able students to be challenged and to excel. Advanced Placement testing is given in the spring.

English 12 (College Prep Personal/Research Writing)

In this two-semester course, students are further prepared for the rigors and the challenges of collegiate writing by not only reading about what successful professional writers have had to say about the craft but also by practicing it each and every day. Major texts from the course include Ken Macrorie’s Telling Writing, Stephen King’s On Writing, and Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, to name a few. Informal, personal, and descriptive writing is the focus of the first semester, which is then followed by an intensive look at research best practices during the second semester. In addition to writing frequent short-to-medium-length formal and informal writing assignments each quarter, students will be asked to select several of their best pieces of both styles for a year-end portfolio project.

Advanced Placement Literature and Composition (Dual-enrolled as English 101, 209 with Shenandoah University)

In this year-long Advanced Placement class, students with top-notch reading and writing skills are given the opportunity to take the next step in their literary journey. This dual-enrolled class, which allows students to earn both high school and college credit hours upon successful completion, begins with a full semester spent reading, analyzing, and writing about the poetry of the 18th-19th centuries. The course, which focuses primarily on textual analysis and literary exegesis, then turns towards its focus toward renaissance drama and modern short fiction to close out the second semester.

Major texts for the course include to the poetry of Walt Whitman and John Milton, the plays of William Shakespeare, and the short fiction of Flannery O’Connor and others. In addition to the multiple, very challenging texts students will be required to read in this course, they will also be asked to do a significant amount of research writing, in order to bulwark the skills necessary for them to rise to the collegiate level. Prerequisite: Completion of English 11 or equivalent with a grade of A or a grade of B with teacher approval.

H. Utopia/Dystopia

In this year-long honors course, students with a passion for politics, economics, and philosophy will read, research, and write about the imaginary worlds of social harmony, or disharmony created by some of the best writers in the genre. Starting with Plato’s Republic, written in 380 B.C.E., the course proceeds to follow the utopian/dystopian discourse up to the present moment as filtered through the minds of such greats as Charlotte Perkins-Gilman, Zevgeny Zamyatin, George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, B.F. Skinner, and Margaret Atwood.

In addition to the seminal literary works of the genre, students will also analyze, research, and write about several non-fiction texts and documentaries all in an effort to arrive at an understanding of the political, economic, cultural, and religious systems that shape our world today. Students' understandings will then be put to the test in an extensive year-ending competition in which they will be asked to create and defend their own utopian societies against those of their peers. Prerequisite: Completion of English 11 or equivalent with a grade of A or a grade of B with teacher approval.