“Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours.”—John Locke
In this foundational high school English course, students learn how to deeply, analytically, personally, and imaginatively think about and respond to literature. Students discover connections between literature and the world beyond their virtual classroom. Designed to develop the basic skills of students as mature readers and writers through the analysis of complex texts in the genres of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama, this course thoroughly prepares students to tackle the rigors of college-preparatory coursework in grades 10-12.
Students explore a variety of writing discourses, including persuasive, compare/contrast, and narrative essays, as well as research-based reports and projects. Because of the interconnected nature of listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking, students simultaneously strengthen and perfect all of those skills throughout the course. Special emphasis, however, is placed upon effective composition, analytical response to literature, collaboration, discussion, and vocabulary development.
Six books are required for this course and should be purchased in advance and brought to class as needed. Internet links to short stories, poetry, articles, and speeches are provided by the teacher. Because an important component of this class is learning to provide textual evidence when writing about or discussing literature, it is helpful for all students to acquire the same editions of each book. It is important for the students to be “on the same page,” so please refer to the ISBN numbers in the Required Texts tab above when ordering.
- a 2-inch, three-ring binder
- set of dividers, preferably with pockets (5-6)
- lined notebook paper for binder
- a composition notebook or spiral for journaling (unless a digital option is preferred)
- highlighters–yellow, green, blue, pink, orange
- Post-It Notes (various sizes, shapes, colors–yellow, green, blue, pink, orange)
- pens and pencils, erasers
- colored pencils, thin markers
- white, unlined copy paper (stored in course binder)
Weekly homework includes vocabulary, grammar, reading, and writing assignments. Each week, students read while annotating assigned novels, short stories, poems, or articles. They are also asked to respond to the literature through various methods, including thought-provoking questions, story summary charts, essay writing, group assignments, online discussion boards, journaling, oral reports, and projects.
For students who desire more of a challenge or wish to pursue a more in-depth study and analysis of literature, an honors level for this course is offered. Students participating in the honors level have the option to complete additional thought-provoking, creative, and analytical writing assignments and projects. Please see the course calendar for a list of honors level assignments.
Who should enroll?
This class is designed for 9th graders and advanced 8th graders. Students who have taken Literature and Composition 7/8 will be well prepared.
- High speed, broadband Internet
- Webcam, headset, and microphone (for live sessions)
- Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures
- Microsoft Word and PowerPoint are extremely helpful. If using a different word processing program, the documents should be saved or exported as a pdf in order to submit it on Canvas.
Evaluation and Feedback
Asking students to demonstrate their understanding of the subject matter is an integral part of the learning process. Periodic vocabulary and grammar quizzes are assigned. Comprehension of literature is assessed formally and informally through live class and online discussion and through written responses such as journal entries, multi-paragraph essays, graphic organizers, and exams. Students are also asked to demonstrate mastery and application of course material by completing special, creative projects and oral presentations.
Providing consistent feedback is imperative for student growth and success especially with writing. For this reason, I provide a detailed critique of each major writing assignment as well as general comments on all other assignments. In addition, I schedule individual writing conferences as needed where students and I meet one-on-one to address their specific writing needs.
Communication is an essential component of any educational endeavor. With that in mind, I encourage all of my students to contact me whenever they need assistance with an assignment, and I make it a priority to promptly respond to student inquiries. I also send a weekly “wrap-up” announcements outlining the learning objectives accomplished in class as well as reminders about upcoming assignments.
Beyond email correspondence, I have set aside an additional hour each week to assist students with writing, grammar, and literary skills. To participate in this extra learning opportunity, students need to register separately. See Language Arts Lab 8/9/10 for details and to register.
Parental inquiries are welcomed and encouraged as parental involvement is essential to student success. To best serve parents, I have established “office hours” on Friday mornings from 9:00–11:00 AM (ET) for responding to emails and phone calls. In addition, I am available for requested individual writing conferences periodically throughout the year where students and I meet one-on-one to address their specific writing needs. I consider it a great privilege to be able to walk alongside parents and assist them in educating their children.