English Electives

The senior year in English is designed to develop intellectual curiosity, interpretive and expressive abilities, imaginative thinking, and work ethic. All courses emphasize the development of sound skills in analytical, interpretive, and creative writing; critical reading and research; vocabulary and public speaking; and the use of relevant technologies. Instructors provide a review of grammar, mechanics, and usage as needed and utilize interdisciplinary resources when appropriate. Students will demonstrate mastery of course content through a variety of assessments. Even though courses differ in subject matter, the shared pedagogy relies heavily on the collegiate models of discussion-based classes, writing intensive seminars, and public speaking opportunities. Senior English options include two full-year course options, four semester options, AP Language and Composition, or AP Literature and Composition.

Yearlong - Senior English: Language, Culture, and Identity through Dialogue and the Literary Text

The literary text is used as a vehicle for reflection for discussions, dialogue, and debate on issues of language and identity construction and for allowing students an opportunity to live vicariously in other ethnocultural worlds. The focus is on autobiographical as well as fictional narrative with diversity as a means to our understanding of the “self” in relation to the “other.” Students will explore literature and media, both fiction and nonfiction, that focuses on the experiences of those who live within and between cultural worlds, struggling to find voice, meaning, and balance in their lives. Students will also examine language in its many forms (first and second languages; spoken and written; syntax and semantics), culture in its variety (nations, social institutions, people, social groups), and identity (essentialism and social constructionism). A key focus will be on the power of narrative as a means to understanding oneself. The literary text will be used to connect with language, culture, and identity; learning about others and, in the process, learning more about our own life story. The course will culminate in a final public oral presentation project that incorporates multiple creative and analytical formats. [One credit.]

Yearlong - Senior English: Multiliteracies

In addition to reading traditional texts, multiliteracies explores the impact and influence of mass media and popular culture by examining texts such as films, songs, video games, action figures, advertisements, CD covers, clothing, billboards, television shows, magazines, newspapers, photographs, and websites. These texts abound in our electronic information age, and the messages they convey, both overt and implied, can have a significant influence on students’ lives. For this reason, critical thinking as it applies to media products and messages assumes a special significance. Understanding how various texts are constructed and why they are produced enables students to respond to them intelligently and responsibly. Students must be able to differentiate “between fact and opinion; evaluate the credibility of sources; recognize bias; be attuned to discriminatory portrayals of individuals and groups, including women and minorities; and question depictions of violence and crime" (Canada Ministry of Education, 2006). New London Group's 'A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies,’ which addresses how to teach literacy skills in a 21st century, digital age is considered. This framework's main components include situated practice, overt instruction, critical framing, and transformed practice. Basically, this framework speaks to the need for changed pedagogies around literacy instruction. [One credit.]

Fall & Spring Semester - Senior English: Senior Composition and the Writer’s Workshop

This class provides students the opportunity to develop their writing through a variety of skills, including, but not limited to exposition, narration, persuasion, research, and impromptu responses. The emphasis is on composition and writing for college. Using a workshop format, this course focuses on writing as a process, with a strong emphasis on revision. Students will enhance their ability to read and analyze selected models of prose writing, as well as synthesize other authors' ideas. They will also refine their grammar skills and explore technology available in school libraries. Student progress is evaluated throughout the semester in a manner that authorizes students to take an active role in their writing and learning. A student’s overall performance is evaluated at the end of the semester based on a comprehensive writing portfolio review. [Half credit.]

Fall Semester - Senior English: Short Fiction

Students in this course read not so much as critics looking for themes and symbols, but more as apprentice writers searching for elements of craft and structure, the most fundamental, yet most elusive components of the author’s creative effort. The discovery of these components yields a gold mine of instructional material to be used by students to generate original stories after reading and interpreting fiction sources. Classes combine careful discussion of assigned readings with brainstorming, oral tellings, and writing exercises. Students present new fiction to the class each cycle for critique and compose frequent critical responses to the readings. To gain a better appreciation for the amazing wealth to be found in the heritage of our short fiction and to learn from as many masters as possible, we study many of the works included in The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction. A public reading for the school community, a portfolio of original fiction, and submission of one piece for publication complete the course. [Half credit.]

Spring Semester - Senior English: Literary Analysis: The Lost Generation

After World War I, a group of enormously talented American writers fled to Paris seeking intellectual freedom and cultural refuge. Together with their European counterparts, this “Lost Generation” lived a decadent, bohemian lifestyle. They partied late into the night, drank to excess, engaged in casual romances, and at the same time produced some of the world’s great fiction, poetry, and art. As a countercultural movement, members of the Lost Generation, together with such contemporaries as Freud, Marx, and Nietzsche, challenged conventional ideas and values, inspired profound intellectual, cultural, and literary changes, and forged new world views. Concurrent developments in art, architecture, music, and fashion transformed popular culture and social mores in America. To gain an understanding of this rich and complex period, we will study selections of prose and poetry from such Lost Generation writers as Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Joyce, Eliot, Pound, H.D., Loy, Woolf, and Stein; the influence of such influential thinkers as Freud, Marx, Nietzsche, and others, and the development of literary modernism. We will also investigate the art, architecture, and popular culture of the period. Our approach will be multicultural, multi-genre, and interdisciplinary. [Half credit]

Spring Semester - Senior English: Written Expressions

This course emphasizes creative writing, playwriting, screenwriting, and other forms of fiction/nonfiction writing. Students will refine their skills in writing and analyzing stories, plays, and poetry. Projects, readings, and assignments will cover the various genres that allow students to pursue individual interests. Class discussions focus on the analysis and consideration of different writing styles and genres including, but not limited to, fiction, poetry, and drama. Students explore writing in greater depth than in previous courses of study, examining how various genres impact writing style and what it means to create voice in writing. The course format is a workshop that includes daily writing. Students will give and receive feedback and peer edit in small and full class groups. Students are also required to read and annotate fiction and nonfiction. All students participate in a wide variety of approaches to literacy development and apply what they learn to the art of writing creatively. [Half credit.]


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