English Department

Course Offerings


ENGLISH 1 Full Year
This course provides the freshman student with a strong foundation in literature while emphasizing oral and written communication. Effective techniques for written composition will be stressed with an emphasis on writing fluency and the structure and style of the paragraph. Students will master the paragraph, including a thesis statement and the claim, lead-in, data, warrant paragraph format, leading to a multi-paragraph essay. The study of literature includes reading, discussing and analyzing writing styles and literary techniques in classic mythology, dramas and epics as well as contemporary novels. Vocabulary and grammar instruction are emphasized within the context of the writing and literature curriculum.

ENGLISH 1 HONORS Full Year

This course is designed for freshmen who have demonstrated in an entrance examination that they have superior understanding of English fundamentals. Besides covering most elements of the English 1 curriculum, this course will emphasize the theory and practice of analytical writing, oral communication and creative responses to literature. Readings in the first semester will focus on the classical tradition and readings in the second semester will be drawn from contemporary world literature. Students will read texts in various genres not only for comprehension of basic literary theories and terms, but also to stimulate ideas for multiple paragraph essays.

ACADEMIC RESOURCE LAB Full Year
This course is designed for freshmen who need additional academic support. Placement in the class is dependent upon grades in eighth grade coursework and entrance examination scores. Students work on English, math, organizational, test taking and study skills. Homework mastery is emphasized.

ENGLISH 2 AMERICAN LITERATURE AND WRITING Full Year

English 2 is a study of American literature that includes the comprehension and analysis of poetry, short stories, novels, non-fiction and drama. During this course, students will review the basic paragraph structure and expand their writing into multi-paragraph essays that include fully developed introductions and conclusions. English 2 also emphasizes critical thinking and speaking skills as well as vocabulary and grammar development.

ENGLISH 2 HONORS: AMERICAN LITERATURE & ADVANCED WRITING Full Year
English 2-H is a chronological survey of, as well as a study of philosophical trends in, American literature. It also examines in detail the theory and practice of effective writing with a focus on exposition, narration, comparison and argumentation. This writing culminates in the writing of a literary analysis research paper. Vocabulary focuses on the preparation for college entrance examinations. Speaking and listening skills continue to be improved.

ENGLISH 3: BRITISH LITERATURE AND ANALYTICAL WRITING Full Year
This course is a survey of British Literature, introducing students to literature and social trends in various periods and exploring the development of literature in the English tradition. Students will respond to literature in a skills-based environment, focusing on their proficiency in writing, critical reading and oral communication. Particular emphasis will be placed on writing the analytical essay.

ADVANCED PLACEMENT ENGLISH LANGUAGE Full Year

This course studies the nature of rhetoric and argumentation in preparation for the Advanced Placement English Language exam. The focus concerns how writers employ rhetorical strategies to impact a particular audience. Students are asked to engage with the language of British literary texts to unravel the tactics that a writer utilizes to achieve such impact; likewise, student writing will revolve around articulating those strategies, as well as employing them in their own writing. The content of the course covers a survey of British Literature from the Dark Ages to the present, including such works as The Canterbury Tales, Hamlet, Frankenstein, Heart of Darkness and the works of Tom Stoppard.

ADVANCED PLACEMENT ENGLISH LITERATURE Full Year
This course is designed to prepare students for the Advanced Placement Test given every spring. This class involves close reading and analysis of poetry, drama, fiction and the essay on the advanced level. There is special emphasis on the refinement of critical thinking and writing skills.

ENGLISH 4 - WORLD LITERATURE Semester

This course will introduce students to the literature of foreign cultures, with an emphasis on contemporary works in developing regions of Latin America, Africa, Europe and Asia. Some background study of foreign culture, history and philosophy will be integrated into the literature studied. Continued development of critical writing skills for college, vocabulary study, listening and speaking skills will be stressed.

ENGLISH 4 - SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY Semester
This one semester course allows students to see science fiction as prophecy, as myth, as a comment on our time, as an art form, and as mainstream literature. The study of science fiction literature and thought encompasses novels and short stories. Critical and evaluative papers are generated from the literature. Such writers as Asimov, Clark and Bradbury are featured in this course.

ENGLISH 4 - CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN AUTHORS Semester
This one semester course explores the changing face of contemporary American literature, focusing on living American authors, poets and playwrights. Students will read both traditional and experimental works from popular contemporary authors. Critical papers, poetry projects and drama field trips allow students full participation in this course.

ENGLISH 4 - SPORTS IN LITERATURE Semester

This one semester course will allow students to explore sports and literature. Through reading, writing and class discussions, students will explore how sports function in our society and what it reveals about our culture. This class will also draw upon history, geography, philosophy, politics and culture in order to explore sports to its fullest. Students will be required to read novels, poetry, short stories, biography/autobiography and nonfiction and analyze these works for ideas as well as style. Students will write both critical and creative responses to material from a variety of sources including books, magazines, newspapers and electronic media.

ENGLISH 4 – FILM AS LITERATURE Semester
This one semester course will explore the history and form of film, with an emphasis on scene and film structure, genre and theme and the historical and sociopolitical significance of film. The course will provide students with the tools for critically analyzing film and understanding how film speaks as an artistic or literary form. Students will learn to "read" the forms, conventions and meaning of films in a critical manner. As a result, they should be able to confront new films that they see within the context of the historical, ideological and aesthetic trends of modern cinema. Additionally, they should be able to think, write and speak critically about the form, style and content of those films.

ENGLISH 4 – MYSTERY AND DETECTIVE FICTION Semester
This one semester course covers the genre of mystery and detective fiction from its 19th century origins, to the classic Golden Age puzzle, to the American hard-boiled detective fiction of the 1990s. The course examines the development of the traditional mystery story and the hard-boiled detective story in terms of how each reflects the values and social issues of the culture that produced it. Students will examine the history and structure of mystery and detective fiction through short stories, novels, plays and film from both American and European authors.

Junior & Senior Electives

CREATIVE WRITING Semester
In this one semester writing course, students discover their own writing talents through a workshop atmosphere while exploring a variety of literary forms, to include short stories, poetry, drama, non fiction and journal writing.

IRISH LITERATURE Semester

Irish Literature is a one-semester course designed to expose students to the diversity of literature that has come out of Ireland, striving to bring students into contact with Irish texts that reveal the fragmented and diverse identity of a nation torn by crisis. Students will read from Irish folklore and mythology, the novel, poetry, drama and short story in addition to discussing historical events in order to gain an appreciation for the literary heritage of Ireland. Students will write both critical and creative responses to authors including W.B. Yeats, Seamus Heaney, Sean O’Casey, James Joyce and J. M. Synge. Evaluation of students will include essays, oral presentations and active class participation.

Open Electives (All grades)

SPEECH & RHETORIC 1 Semester
This course is an introduction to public speaking. It is an opportunity for the student to gain self-confidence and learn successful communication skills. The student will become proficient in extemporaneous, impromptu, persuasive and expository speaking. In addition, the student will learn the basics of argumentation, parliamentary procedure and group discussion. Students will be required to keep up with current events throughout the semester, as these will often be topics for speeches and discussions. Reading and research techniques will also be applied. Tournament competition is available, but not required in Speech & Rhetoric 1.

ARGUMENTATION AND DEBATE Semester
Working from a starting point of Aristotle and his canons of rhetoric, this course offers an examination of the theory and practice of argumentation with emphasis on parliamentary, public forum and policy debate formats. Emphasis also placed on learning to make and refute claims and inferences, diverse research methods and the use of evidence, effective means of cross-examination, a workshop type setting to aid in argument construction as well as focusing on varying styles of presentation.

ADVANCED SPEECH & RHETORIC Semester

This course is designed to allow students who have had previous instruction in research and speaking to put into practice these skills through competition and performance. Throughout this course, the student will be asked to be a mentor/coach for others, meet the requirements set by the forensics directors in preparation for speaking contests and apply oratorical skills in a public relations forum. Activities will include research of various topics, preparation of debate cases and participation in a variety of speech forms and competitions.

JOURNALISM 1 Semester

This course allows students to survey mass media and develop techniques of journalism. After studying the history of journalism, students learn interviewing techniques and journalistic writing styles. In addition to writing stories suitable for publication, students learn how a newspaper is produced and staffed, learn the basics of media law and participate in a number of individual and group projects. The course is helpful for students interested in working on the school newspaper and/or yearbook.