English 9 – English 9A focuses on stereotypes, and point of view. Students will be reading Night by Elie Wiesel or Maus by Art Spiegelman and applying these concepts to their reading. Students will also be writing a compare and contrast essay about Jewish discrimination and stereotyping with modern day minorities such as LGBT, African Americans, Syrian refugees, women’s rights, etc. This class will focus on the importance of family, the challenges of war, and the importance of peace.
English 9B focuses on the art of rhetoric, purpose, persuasion, and claims and evidence. Students will be studying Aristotle’s Rhetoric and applying this knowledge to print ads, commercials, and speeches. At the end of the unit students will be expected to apply their knowledge of rhetoric to analyze a speech of their choice.
English 10 – English 10A focuses on narratives, dialogue, character, theme, and plot. Students will be reading Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer for its creative use of narration as well as to analyze the major concepts for this unit. Students will be expected to apply these concepts to their own writing by producing their own narrative about a significant event from their own life.
English 10B focuses on poetry, rhetorical appeals, research and citation. Students will briefly be studying Rhetoric by Aristotle to grasp the basics on the art of rhetorical appeals. Students will also be exposed to a variety of poetry from Shakespearian sonnets to modern day Slam/Spoken Word poetry. The culminating assignment will be a research paper on a poet and the effectiveness of their rhetorical appeals with their audience.
English 11 – English 11A focuses on practical applications of writing, research, audience, and presentation. Students must “teach the teacher” how to do something of their own choosing, create a lesson plan, gather materials, assess the teacher on how well the lesson’s objective was achieved, and reflect on the entire process.
Then, students must identify an issue that directly affects their lives and address it in some way. Students begin by researching a famous rebel of their own choosing throughout history, and then applying the lessons of the past to the problems of the future. Previous projects have included: A school-based food drive, voter registration, and student-produced videos and presentations on a variety of topics like bullying, drug use, teen pregnancy, and drop-out prevention.
This class gives our students a chance to see how their skills of reading, writing, and research can be applied in real-world situations to help improve their lives.
English 11B focuses on identity and human development. Students write poetry, read their choice of novel, and write a narrative essay, all designed to examine the questions of who they are as individuals, what factors lead to the formation of their identity, and the power of choice over their own lives.
The class begins with an examination of poetry, and how poetry is connected to identity, eventually leading into the students creating their own works centered on who they are as both individuals and members of society.
Then, the students are asked to write a research-based narrative essay identifying the nature and nurture elements that have gone into the formation of who they are and how they became that person.
Finally, the class is given a choice between two novels, The Pact and The Other Wes Moore, to explore the issue of personal choice and responsibility, and how they are connected to identity.
English 12 – English 12A focuses on research, presentation, narrative reading, and applying the Hero’s Journey to dystopian fiction. Students are given a choice of a banned book to research. They must give a brief summary of the book, who banned it and why, and give their own opinion as to whether it should have been banned or not.
Next, students research a Supreme Court case that directly impacts their rights, either inside or outside of school, and must present their findings to the rest of the class. These first two units are designed to focus on censorship and student rights, setting up for the final unit, dystopian fiction.
The last thing the students are asked to do is pick a dystopian novel, either Fahrenheit 451, 1984, or V for Vendetta, and apply the Hero’s Journey to the novel to answer the question: Is the main character of your book a hero? Why or why not?
English 12B is entirely research-based. Students begin by writing an argumentative paper on poverty and culture, where they must address issues of stereotypes, access, and health on impoverished communities.
The bulk of English 12B is spent on writing an extended research paper. The topic is of the student’s own choosing, and must include four reliable sources, thesis, evidence, analysis, a conclusion, and Works Cited page in MLA formatting. The purpose of this unit is to prepare students for college-level writing, even if the student has no plans to attend college. My hope is, by completing this research paper, students will know that they can accomplish more advanced research and essay writing, making the choice to go to college or not a true choice instead of a foregone conclusion.
Instructors: English 9 and 10: Miss Yoshi
English 11 and 12: Eddie Eifler