All English courses in grades 6–10 require the students to read both required class reading as well as outside reading in the course of the year. The students are free to choose the books from lists supplied by the teachers.
English 6 seeks to expand students’ understanding and appreciation of literature and to develop their creativity and communication skills in composition. Units in both composition and literature are connected by two essential through-lines that shape emphasis in class and on projects: 1) How can I use writing to make my reader “get” what I am trying to say; 2) How does one’s experience shape the way one sees things? In their reading, students are introduced to major genres of literature including poetry, short stories, and novels. Selections focus on three themes: justice and fairness; adopting a different perspective; adolescence and relationships. Specific skills include participating in guided discussions, making inferences, finding evidence to support literary points, interpreting an author’s meaning, taking notes from literature to provide support for composition and discussion, and developing a literary vocabulary.
Writing instruction includes a wide range of expository and creative projects with an emphasis on paragraph development. Students study vocabulary, effective phrases, sentence structure, parts of speech, and the elements of a paragraph. They are asked to add cohesive detail, depth, and transitions to their paragraphs. They use informal writers’ notebooks to exercise their writing strengths, play with creativity, pre-draft more formal compositions, and collect ideas for possible future composi tions of their choice. In the spring students are introduced to planning and crafting a standard five-paragraph essay. Oral language skills are developed through participation in small and whole group discussions. Beyond the assigned readings below, students also engage in the ongoing Outside Reading program, which directs students to read and do projects within a rotation of genres.
Texts: Firegold, Calhoun; Witness, Hesse; Nothing But the Truth, Avi; The Pearl, Steinbeck; Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Rushdie; assorted short stories; Junior Great Books, Series Six (The Great Books Foundation); Vocabulary for Achievement: First Course, Richek et al, ed.
English 7 exposes students to major genres of literature (novel, short story, drama, poetry, biography, and others). Selections from these genres present a variety of perspectives and voices that fall under the overarching theme of “different perspectives, truths, and realities.” To supplement the required readings is a formalized outside reading program that allows students to explore further authors’ craft and better understand their own reading pace, productivity, genre interests. In reading, students are taught to understand both the literal and abstract levels of a text. In writing, students experiment with an assortment of different writing styles, including journal-as-springboard, poetry, short stories, description and analytical expository essays. The course teaches spelling, grammar and vocabulary within the context of required reading and student writing on quarterly projects such as the E.B. White Imitation, Twisted Fairy Tale, Literary Analysis Essay, Freebie, and the Unsung Hero Profile. Students maintain records of their writing and reading. Periodically, students are asked to reflect upon their progress as writers and readers. Students are also expected to participate in class discussion and in small group work.
Texts/Summer Reading: The Princess Bride, Goldman;To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee; Lord of the Flies, Golding; The Miracle Worker, Gibson; short stories and poetry; Writers INC
English 8 continues to expose students to different styles of reading and writing. Students read texts from the four main literary genres (novel, short story, drama, poetry). Selections from these genres represent a variety of perspectives or “voices” that fall under the overarching theme of “windows and mirrors.” In all readings, students are taught to under stand both the literal and abstract levels of a text. Students continue to experiment with an assortment of different writing styles including autobiography, vignette, memoir, short story, poetry, description, and analytical/expository essays. Students write both informal journal entries and several formal papers. To allow for further practice and mastery of mechanic fundamentals by the end of year, spelling, grammar and vocabulary are taught within the context of the required reading and student writing. Students maintain portfolios of their writing and records of their reading. Periodically, students are asked to reflect upon their progress as writers and readers. Students are also expected to participate regularly in class discussion and in small group work.
Texts: Farm City, Carpenter; The Catcher in the Rye, Salinger; Kaffir Boy, Mathabane; The Sunflower, Wiesenthal, short stories and poetry, class sets of Writers INC
ENGLISH 9: Composition and Literature
The primary goal of the English 9 curriculum is to improve and enhance writing skills so that every student leaves the ninth grade with a basic understanding of expository writing. Throughout the year, students work extensively on descriptive, comparative, and argumenta tive essays using guidelines and models from the Humanities Research and Writing Web Site. This writing program is supplemented by a study of literature, in which students read works from different parts of the world, and discussions explore the literary, thematic, and historical aspects of these works. We read texts from a range of literary styles: novels, memoirs, plays (both contemporary and Shakespeare), poetry, and graphic novels; a secondary focus of our reading is to expose students to differ ent types of texts, and the strategies used in tacking each. In the spring, students complete the I-Search, an extensive research project in which they investigate a contemporary topic primarily through personal interviews, and secondarily through library and Internet research. We teach grammar throughout the year. Vocabulary units supplement vocabulary from the readings.
Texts: 1984, George Orwell; selected short stories; Macbeth, Shakespeare; A Fine Balance, Mistry; selected poems; The Laramie Project, Kaufman et. al.;Maus I and II, Spiegelman; selected articles and profiles from The New York Times and The New Yorker.
ENGLISH 10: Composition and American Literature
In English 10 students develop close reading and writing skills at a more advanced level. Students continue to work with a variety of compositional modes including narrative, compare/contrast, analytical, and argumentative essays. The course focuses on major works of American Literature. Students grapple with themes from both traditional and contemporary works, and explore the use of characterization, dialogue, plot, theme and symbolism.
Texts: A Streetcar Named Desire, Williams; The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald; The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne; Beloved, Morrison; When the Emperor
ENGLISH 11: Western Classical Literature
English 11 is devoted to the development of reading, writing, and thinking skills and to the study of some of the major works of Western Literature from Homer to Shakespeare and beyond, with special attention given to the classical and Biblical traditions.
Texts: The Odyssey, Homer; Oedipus Rex and Antigone, Sophocles; from the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, the Book of Job, Mark, Matthew; The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer; Hamlet, Shakespeare.
During the senior year, students choose one elective each semester from among the offerings. Senior electives may vary from year to year. The following electives are typically offered during the school year.
ENGLISH 12: Alienation
In this course students read and discuss texts that deal with the experiences of outsiders or “others.” Students grapple with questions such as: What does it mean to be an “other”? Is “otherness” self-defined or defined by outside forces? Do we need “others” in order to know ourselves? What is the relationship between power and “otherness”? The class is run pri marily as a seminar; assessment is based on the student’s contribution to discussion and performance on papers and projects.
Texts: In Cold Blood, Capote; Metamorphosis, Kafka; Frankenstein, Shelly; Fifth Child, Lessing; The Stranger, Camus; Slaughterhouse Five, Von negut; Othello, Shakespeare.
ENGLISH 12: American Fiction & Poetry: Reading and Writing the
This course is a survey of the short story, with emphasis on American writers of the 20th century. The course traces the development of the short story through the 20th century, and examines the short story both from the point of view of the literary reader, and from that of the writer. Along with examining stories analyti cally, students learn to take apart stories from the perspective of a writer, analyzing writers’ use of elements such as plot, setting, character, narrative tone and point of view, etc. Assign ments include the writing of one’s own stories, as well as projects involving analysis and historical investigation.
Texts: course reader: writers include Hemingway, O’Connor, Calvino, Marquez, Carver, Moore, Welty, Kincaid, C. Johnson, Mukherjee, Alexie, Jen, Barthelme, Borges, et. al. (including a short section in which we read stories published in major magazines during the semester the course is offered).
ENGLISH 12: Women’s Literature
Over the past 100 years, the place that women writers have held in the fiction world has changed dramatically. Issues of gender, race, ethnicity, and socio-economic status are key aspects of this genre. This course, adapting to reflect these ever-changing personal and political themes in society, explores the role of women’s literature in a broader world and cultural discussion. Students, in a seminar format, will explore literature from the U.S., Canada, the Middle East and India, while also personally exploring how their own cultural context plays into these themes in their own lives. Students will write several critical essays as well as a creative/personal/fictional piece about the crossroad of gender and culture in their own lives.
Texts: The God of Small Things, Roy; The Handmaid’s Tale, Atwood; The Woman Warrior, Hong Kingston; Persepolis, Satrapi; Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë.
ENGLISH 12: Japanese Literature and Culture
This is an experiential course on the literature and philosophy of Japan. Students will read the entire Tao Te Ching and selections of Japanese prose and poetry from Murasaki to Kawabata. We will discuss Eastern concepts of reality (e.g. non-dualism, karma) and compare them to our more familiar Western concepts. Students will be responsible for a limited number of papers and a major experiential project.
Texts: Tao Te Ching, Lao Tsu; The Tale of Gengi, Shikibu; “Patriotism,” Mishima; Kitchen, Yoshimoto; selected haiku
ENGLISH 12: World Literature: The Big Book
Some of the greatest literary pleasure comes from sinking your teeth into a substantial novel; and some of the most substantial, most revered novels are too big to be approached in most classroom settings. But if you’ve looked forward to tackling a Really Big Book, and thought a classroom would make for the best opportunity to revel in the myriad joys that can only be offered by such a book, your chance has arrived. In the spring, we’ll tackle Tolstoy—probably Anna Karenina, but possibly War and Peace—and immerse ourselves in the profound pleasures of Russian literature. Along with the novel we’ll examine criticism, short writings by Tolstoy’s contemporaries, and efforts that have been made at adaptations of the novel. But mostly we’ll just read. There are few writers in any tradition as great as Tolstoy—now’s your chance to learn why.
ENGLISH 12: Literature and Film
The course will examine the important connec tion between literature and film adaptations. While students are generally familiar with the “movie” version of a novel they may have read, in this course they will critically examine the choices a director makes when adapting a story for the screen. Through critical essays, reading of novels, film viewing, and personal and class analysis, the course will examine the similarities and differences between cinematic and novelis tic storytelling. Topics for discussion will include cinematic technique; the differing uses of point of view in film and novels; the use of visual symbols in films and novels; and the similarities and differences in the handling of themes in films and the novels they are based on.
Texts and films: Citizen Kane, Welles; Heart of Darkness, Conrad; Apocalypse Now, Copolla; The Woman in the Dunes (Abe; Teshigahara)
ENGLISH 12: Shakespeare
In this one-semester course students explore three of Shakespeare’s plays, including a comedy, a history, and a tragedy. Students study Shakespeare’s use of poetic form (including his handling of verse and imagery), the role of dramatic genre, and the expression of theme. They also study character and motive from the actor’s perspective, analyzing speeches in terms of the dramatic beats, and do dramatic readings. Finally, the students write interpre tive essays.
Texts: As You Like It, Henry IV (Part One), King Lear, Shakespeare
ENGLISH 12: Wit Lit: The Art of Satire
In this course students read and discuss texts that not only make us laugh, but also make us notice social ills and human weaknesses. Stu dents will think about how the author gets his/her point across and what the author wants us to do about the problems identified. The class will be run primarily as a seminar; assessment will be based on the student’s contribution to discussion and performance on papers and projects. The culminating assignment asks students to write their own satires, which will be shared with the whole class.
Texts: A Modest Proposal, Swift; Pride and Prejudice, Austen; The Importance of Being Earnest, Wilde; Alice in Wonderland, Carroll; Monty Python and the Holy Grail; assorted poems and songs
ENGLISH 12: World Literature: Comparative World Mythology
Joseph Campbell, building on Jung, claimed that dreams were private myths, and myths were public dreams. People certainly have been telling these stories long before books were printed and read. This class will con sider what can we learn about being human from the stories we tell. What do Quetzalcoatl, Wanjiru, the Buddha, Isis, Jesus, Sita, Bear Man, and Obi Wan Kenobi have in common? Are ancient myths relevant today? Are there modern myths? How does gender play out both in the stories themselves and the way those stories are interpreted? In this class we will read classic myths from around the world, examine the role of archetypes and consider their influence on art, literature and culture in the modern world. Specifically, we will focus on the archetype of the hero/heroine. Assignments include short analysis papers, outside reading, class presentations, and creative myth writing.
Texts: The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell; Mythology, The Voyage of the Hero, David Adams Leeming; excerpts from a variety of mythology collections; excerpts from Star Wars and other films
ENGLISH 12: Modern Drama/Playwriting
This course will introduce students to the theories and practice of drama in the intel lectually exciting period from the 1870s to the 1960s. Students will, as a result of their study, be able to understand the roots and tenden cies of contemporary drama. Students will also have an opportunity to write their own plays based on the styles of this period, and to read/act in their own and others’ plays. Dramatic and literary theories covered include episodic structure, realism, naturalism, impressionism, expressionism, epic theatre, absurdism, and existentialism. Students are required to read a play a week, write three major essays or plays, and write several short scenes in the styles they are studying.
OTHER ENGLISH ELECTIVES
The purpose of this class is to learn various styles of journalistic writing and to publish the school newspaper, The Hawk's Eye. Not only do students learn specifics in writing strong news stories, editorials, features, reviews and sports stories, but they also come to under stand all aspects of newspaper production including layout and design, interviewing skills and journalism ethics. The school newspaper is an extremely important part of the high school community as well as the entire Head-Royce community. The paper provides students with an avenue to air their opinions and to write about serious and light topics. The importance of publishing a responsible school newspaper will be stressed. Course is limited to 30 stu dents, selected by advisor and editorial board.
SPEECH AND DEBATE I
The purpose of this class is to introduce stu dents to debate and to develop a basic mastery of critical thinking skills. The students develop their skills by undertaking team policy debate and one-on-one value debate, and by learning to speak extemporaneously on current events topics. All students are required to participate in two Saturday tournaments against other northern California schools for the first semester, and three Saturday tournaments for the second semester. In addition, students are afforded the opportunity to participate in several invitational tournaments against teams from many of the nation’s finest schools.
SPEECH AND DEBATE II
The purpose of this class is to continue the development of skills which students learn in Speech and Debate I, with an emphasis on improving research and critical thinking skills. The students will develop their skills by under taking team policy debate or one-on-one value debate, and by learning to speak extemporane ously on current events topics. All students are required to participate in two Saturday tournaments against other northern California schools for the first semester, and three Satur day tournaments for the second semester. In addition, students are afforded the opportunity to participate in several invitational tourna ments against teams from many of the nation’s finest schools. Varsity level students also become mentors for beginning level students, insuring that students learn the material with sufficient proficiency to begin to pass along their knowledge to other students.
Prerequisite: Speech and Debate I or consent of instructor.
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Updated February 15, 2012