Classes for early development through university prep courses + tutoring, foreign languages, development of artistic expression provided by talented and cooperative teachers.

Course Description

The English Language and Literature courses will enable students to develop critical reading, writing, and thinking skills through engagement with challenging works of American and British fiction, non-fiction, drama, and poetry. Students will learn how to close read and analyze texts through examination of structural, literary, linguistic, and rhetorical elements. Students will develop skills in a variety of modes of writing and increase knowledge of Standard English language conventions (grammar, usage, sentence structure, and mechanics). The courses will also focus on discussion of important ideas identified in the literature and their relevance in our lives today.

Model Curriculum Guide: To Kill a Mockingbird

9-10 grade students

Enduring Understandings and Essential Questions

  1. Human perception is an inconsistent thing, and it sometimes results in fears, prejudices, and discrimination.
  2. How is an individual’s freedom of choice compromised when fear influences the ability to choose?
  3. What are the causes of racism, sexism, and classism? How does the history of racism in the United States affect all of us today?

Skills Specification

Students will be able to…

  • …understand elements of the Southern Gothic genre.
  • …identify characteristics of the Depression Era and Jim Crow laws that provide historical context for the novel.
  • …analyze Lee’s use of symbolism throughout the novel.
  • …evaluate Lee’s use of language and how it influences the tone/mood of the story.
  • …recognize and interpret the role of social commentary.
  • …define point of view and analyze its function in the novel.
  • …think critically about and explain how prejudice manifests in today’s society and what can be done to combat it; examine personal, social, and institutional prejudices.
  • Evidence of Student Learning

  • An analytical/comparative essay focusing on the concept of perception and how it may vary from individual to individual
  • An examination of and reflection on selected ethical philosophies and dilemmas
  • Close reading analysis of selected passages
  • Reading notes based on pre-established guidelines
  • Class discussion and formal or informal presentation on character, theme, and other literary elements
  • Various expository, analytical, persuasive, and/or creative writing activities
  • Learning Plan

  • Research and present on life during the Depression and post-Civil War eras.
  • Create a graphic representation of Maycomb and its neighborhoods using evidence from the text.
  • Write diary entries from Atticus’ or Jem’s perspectives that explore Atticus’ philosophy concerning responsibility and justice.
  • Keep Scout’s scrapbook, gathering significant objects that relate to the plot.
  • Write a character analysis of one of the minor, but significant, characters (Calpurnia, Aunt Alexandria, Judge Taylor)
  • Write an analysis of how a main character has developed over the course of the novel (Atticus, Jem , Scout, Boo).
  • Create a Maycomb Code of Ethics and publish it on a poster.
  • (Writing Connection): Write a persuasive closing argument for either the prosecution or defense and have students deliver their arguments to a “jury.”
  • (Writing Connection): After conducting a close reading of Lee’s use of language in a short key passage, compose an essay examining how her word choice influences the reader’s perception of meaning.
  • Model Curriculum Guide: Pride and Prejudice

    11-12 grade students

    Essential Questions

    1. How and to what extent are values and beliefs about social issues (marriage, social class, gender roles) determined by historical and cultural contexts?
    2. How can the individual maintain autonomy and integrity when in conflict with social norms and values?
    3. What characterizes intimacy and respect in human relationships?
    4. How can one’s own personal qualities and prejudices distort his or her view of others?

    Skills Specification

    Students will be able to…

  • …analyze how satire is used for social commentary.
  • …demonstrate close reading skills in analysis of key passages.
  • …take effective reading notes.
  • …analyze how characters represent social values and attitudes.
  • …comprehend historical and cultural contexts.
  • …analyze characters’ and author’s attitudes toward marriage, social class, wealth, gender roles, and love.
  • …analyze how shifts in setting frame plot.
  • …compare and contrast controversies about marriage in Austen’s time with controversies about marriage today (for example, gay marriage).
  • …analyze how the use of letters in the novel reveals and develops characters.
  • …analyze characters in terms of development, attitudes, roles, and individuality versus type.
  • …compare and contrast the marriages depicted in the novel and analyze Austen’s attitude toward each.
  • …generate effective theses for a literary paper.
  • …communicate ideas effectively through writing and discussion.
  • Evidence of Student learning

  • Effective reading notes based on pre-established guidelines
  • Presentations (individual or group) on assigned or chosen characters, themes, and passages
  • Letter written in the voice of a character (to demonstrate comprehension of the use of letters in the novel)
  • Out-of-class paper or in-class essay based on thematic and literary discussion questions
  • Learning Plan

  • Read and discuss historical background material.
  • Discuss emerging themes in Chapters 1-10 and their universality.
  • Read and take notes.
  • Discuss themes, characters, passages, satire, attitude, literary and rhetorical devices, etc.
  • Share and discuss individual reading notes.
  • Prepare and present analysis of assigned or chosen characters (individually or collaboratively).
  • Analyze and discuss methods, purposes, and objects of satire in the novel.
  • Write letters from one character to another in the novel.
  • Debate ideas about marriage from various characters’ points of view.
  • Examine Jane’s dramatic self-realization in Chapter 36 and Darcy’s self-realization in Chapter 43.
  • Individually or collaboratively generate effective thesis statement for an in-class or out-of-class paper.
  • Apply ideas and issues in the novel to contemporary society and your own lives.
  • The Future Begins Here

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