Creative Writing Across the Genres: Course credit earned: Elective (1.0) May be taken only once for elective credit No Prerequisite Grade: 9-12 This is a course for dedicated young writers or students who want to improve their writing. In this year-long course, students will read a variety of complex fiction and nonfiction texts that range from the bizarre to the hilarious, the meditative to the gut wrenching, in order to explore identity and voice, the art of style, deep truth and purpose as well as how writing creates culture and revolution. Students will create their own pieces: essays, narratives, short stories and poems, that they will compile into a comprehensive portfolio that can be used for college application or career development. Most importantly, we will address the question. “Why do writers write?” Answer: That you are here—that life exists and identity; That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse. -Walt Whitman
Core Content Courses
English 1-2: Course credit earned: English (1.0) May be taken only once for credit. No Prerequisite Grade 9 Themes/Content: Students will examine the major genres through themes related to personal identity, personal journey, and heroism. Readings: Students will explore a balance of contemporary and classic works – possibly including short stories, essays, novels, poetry, dramas, non-fiction, and film. Writing: Students will focus on writing to explain, analyzing literature, and producing narratives using elements of fiction. Students will also gain experience with using the writing process to produce, revise, and publish their writing. Skills/Standards: Cite textual evidence - Analyze theme and character - Expository and narrative writing - Sentence structure - Grammar and punctuation - Discussions and presentations. Honors: Self-directed honors option available.
English 3-4: Course credit earned: English (1.0) May be taken only once for credit. Prerequisite: English 1-2 Grade 10 Themes/Content: justice, power, how authors communicate their views. Reading: a variety of texts, including but not limited to: short stories, essays, plays, novels, poetry, nonfiction, drama, and non-print media. Writing: explanatory and argumentative texts with a focus on literary analysis, examining how authors (in both literary and informational texts) use evidence to develop themes or messages. Skills/Standards: - Identify themes - Cite evidence to support claim - Develop claims and arguments - Evaluate arguments - Drive discussion using text evidence and argument strategy - Use proper grammar and punctuation Honors option available. Expectations and credit are given on an individual basis. Honors curriculum involves a higher standard for student leadership, engagement in the humanities, and more rigorous assessments.
English 5-6: Overview STUDENTS SELECT FROM SEVERAL COURSES OFFERED FOR CREDIT. THESE COURSES ARE LISTED BELOW THIS DESCRIPTION. Themes/Content: Junior English has multiple thematic offerings: Medical Literacy and Composition; Sports & Culture; Women’s Literature & Social Issues; and AP English Language & Composition. For specific information about the different Junior English courses, see individual descriptions that follow. Reading: Students will read a variety of texts, including but not limited to novels, essays, articles, and editorials. Writing: Students will write a variety of essays (argument, expository, personal), and conduct research on various topics. Skills/Standards: - Analyze central ideas, text structure, POV and purpose in rhetoric, word choice, indirect POV (e.g., satire, sarcasm, irony, or understatement) - Write arguments and develop introductions, organization, argument, and conclusion - Write informative/explanatory texts and develop introductions, organization, ideas & content, and conclusion - Prepare for and participate in discussions - Use proper capitalization, punctuation, and spelling.
English 5-6: Medical Literacy & Composition: Course credit earned: English (1.0) May be taken only once for credit. Prerequisite: English 3-4 Grade 11 Themes: Students will study medically focused informational texts as an entry point to explore ethical themes and issues involved in healthcare and medicine. Themes include, but are not limited to: power, race, gender, environment, politics, and personal identity. Through the exploration of these themes, students will gain a better understanding of the medical field and medicine’s role in society. Reading: a variety of non-fiction texts including medical journals, articles, memoirs, and medical databases. Writing: Students will have 2 major writing assignments which include an argumentative essay and a research project. Smaller writing assignments will include analyzing central ideas of informative short texts. Skills/Standards: - Write informative/explanatory texts - Develop and discuss arguments - Analyze central ideas, text structure, and purpose in rhetoric - Conduct research using credible sources - Participate in collaborative discussions
English 5-6: Sports & Culture: Course Credit Earned: English (1.0) May be taken only once for credit. Pre-requisite: English 3-4 Grade 11 Our study will focus on how sports influences and reflects American cultural values, and what roles athletes play in raising awareness of social issues. How does our fascination with sports connect to larger issues in American society? What do we admire and disapprove of in our professional athletes, and what does that reveal about American values? These are just a few of the essential questions that will guide our study of a range of texts: nonfiction, documentary film, essays, profiles, editorials, interviews, and long form journalism —in our examination of sports in relation to culture, politics, race, gender, and economics. Students will hone their critical reading, writing, and discussion skills as they investigate key topics related to the role of sports in culture, with a focus on developing and producing rigorous work. Major writing assignments include synthesis, argumentative, literary analysis, Junior capstone research project, and a digital media presentation in which students conduct an in-depth exploration of a significant contemporary issue related to American sports.
English 5-6: Women’s Literature & Social Issues: Course Credit earned: English (1.0) May be taken only once for credit. Pre-requisite: English 3-4 Grade 11 Through the study of literature, essays, and film students will explore contemporary issues of gender roles, power, resistance, human rights, social justice, love and freedom. We will primarily read literature by women of color. We will look at how the media provides a distorted image of societal values. Both semesters require students to practice the skills of literary analysis, critical thinking, analytical and persuasive writing and research. In addition to reading and writing, all students will participate in an abundant amount of class discussions, small group discussion and individual projects.
AP English Language and Composition: Course credit earned: English (1.0) May be taken only once for credit. Prerequisite: English 3-4 Grade 11 AP English Language and Composition is a college-level course designed to help students become skilled readers of primarily non-fiction prose written in a variety of periods, disciplines, and rhetorical contexts and become skilled writers who can compose for a variety of purposes. At the end of the course, students may take the AP examination, which makes them eligible for college credits or advanced placement, depending on the university they choose. Themes/Content: Why Writers Write, Personal Identity (Gender, Race, Class, Ability), The Politics of Language, The Art of Argument. Reading: Students will read complex, college-level texts in order to understand and analyze the interactions among speaker, occasion, audience, purpose, subject, and tone. In addition to shorter pieces, students will read 2-3 novels throughout the year to support their study of major themes in the curriculum. Novels in past years have included: Black Boy, In Cold Blood, The Scarlet Letter, The Great Gatsby. Writing: Students will write in four major modes: rhetorical analysis, argument, synthesis (researched argument), and narrative (the college application essay). Research: Students will spend the year engaged in a research project focused on the body of work of a specific essayist. Skills/Standards: - Identify and explain an author’s use of rhetorical strategies in samples of purposeful writing. - Use effective rhetorical strategies and techniques when writing. - Create and sustain original arguments based on information synthesized from readings, research, and/or personal observation and experience. - Evaluate and incorporate sources into researched arguments with an understanding of the conventions of citing primary and secondary sources. - Demonstrate understanding and control of grammar, punctuation, and spelling, as well as stylistic maturity in their own writing. - Revise a work to practice composition skills.
English 7-8: General Description: STUDENTS SELECT FROM SEVERAL COURSES OFFERED FOR CREDIT. THESE COURSES ARE LISTED BELOW THIS DESCRIPTION. Themes & Content: For Senior English, students may choose from a variety of themes: College Writing and Literature, Hip Hop Literature, Fiction/Myth/Mystery (Science Fiction), Perspectives in American Lit 7: Film/Lit (Literature and Film) AP English Literature & Composition is also offered for Senior English credit. For further details on each Senior English course, please review the individual descriptions that follow. Reading: Students analyze novels, short stories, articles, poetry and visual media. Writing: Students write a variety of essays, including narratives, arguments, and literary analyses. They also conduct research for presentations and multimedia projects. Standards: Students will: - Understand how to analyze author’s choices, themes, and structures - Write compelling narrative Craft effective arguments - Participate in a range of collaborative discussions - Conduct research to answer self generated questions - Demonstrate command of standard English conventions
English 7-8: College Writing & Literature: Course credit earned: English (1.0) May be taken only once for credit. Prerequisite: English 5-6 Grade 12 A year-long college composition course designed to support students in understanding how to craft academic essays, Writing 121 prepares students for the style of writing they will encounter throughout their college experience. Exploring themes around social media, digital culture, social justice and health and wellbeing, students analyze nonfiction work and examine perspectives from a spectrum of possibilities. Anchored in the practice of research writing, students will stretch their minds into new places, transcend the trappings of binary thinking, and elevate their critical consciousness for navigating the world of media, complexity and nuance in which we exist. Students will also practice self-love as a means for enriching the educational experience. Students may earn both high school English 7-8 credit, as well as 4 transferable WR 121 college credits through Portland Community College.
English 7-8: Hip Hop Literature: Course credit earned: English (1.0) May be taken only once for credit. Prerequisite: English 5-6 Grade 12 Hip Hop Literature is a demanding course developed for students to engage with literature through the lens of Hip Hop culture. ‘Knowledge of self and community’ is a Hip Hop element that will be explored in a variety of writing modes including argumentative essays explored through music reviews, raps, poetry and narratives. Writing pieces will be taken through the writing process and presented publicly with style. Regular in depth reading will analyze lyrics and informational texts to develop critical thinking skills on themes prevalent in Hip Hop including gender, race and social justice. Students will be validated for their own expertise on Hip Hop music and culture and will share their knowledge through individual and group projects. Come get down with Hip Hop Lit!
English 7-8: Perspectives in American (Literature and Film): Course credit earned: English (1.0) May be taken only once for credit. Prerequisite: English 5-6 Grade 12 The first semester entails a study of several short stories and novellas, along with their film adaptations. Students will gain an understanding of cinematic techniques and film terminology to assist them in critical viewing of films. Students will evaluate arguments in documentary films before writing their own argumentative essay on a social justice topic . The second semester will include world literature and film studies. Films will be paired with texts based on theme, general subject matter, and genre. Both semesters include reading short stories, novels, and informational texts. Students will build the writing skills necessary for post-secondary education by writing literary, argumentative, research, and comparative essays. In addition, students will complete multiple projects relating to film including storyboards, screenplays, movie reviews, and short films.
English 7-8: Fiction/Myth/Mystery (Science Fiction): Course credit earned: English (1.0) May be taken only once for credit. Prerequisite: English 5-6 Grade 12 Science Fiction fulfills the English 7-8 credit through reading, writing, and discussion of the cultural, racial, and gender relevance of science fiction today, primarily through the short story, film, novels, graphic novels, and episodes of classical SciFi TV will make an appearance. Students will participate in blogging, journaling, and discussion throughout the year. In the fourth quarter, we’ll work together to author an original piece of science fiction. While most students choose to write short fiction, several have branched off into the production of text-based video games and illustrated works. Traditionally we have hosted a visiting science fiction writer through the Writers in the School Program, where we share our classroom with a professional writer, giving us a look into how they work, live, and come up with ideas. Topics in science fiction we explore include the heat death of the universe, time travel, virtual reality, altered memories, extraterrestrial life, visionary fiction and world building, social and racial justice. Bring your imagination, creativity, and questioning skills as we explore our own minds and the stars beyond our own galaxy. In the words of Octavia Butler (who will serve as a guide to our exploration), “I was attracted to science fiction because it was so wide open. I was able to do anything and there were no walls to hem you in and there was no human condition that you were stopped from examining.” Let’s see what’s out there.
AP English Literature and Composition: Course credit earned: English (1.0) May be taken only once for credit. Prerequisite: English 5-6 Grade 12 While AP Literature and Composition is designed as a college level course, this class invites all students who are curious about how stories shape our world and ourselves. Our goal is to dive deep into literature, including short fiction, poetry, longer fiction and drama from the 16th century to today. We will read an array of voices, especially the voices of writers of color whose stories have been silenced by the typical “literary canon.” The cornerstones of this course are inquiry based discussion and formal literary argumentation; through those tools, we will analyze literature with confidence and risk by examining character, setting, narration, figurative language and structure in fiction. “Books are a form of political action. Books are knowledge. Books are reflection. Books change your mind.” - Toni Morrison “For, while the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard. There isn’t any other tale to tell, it's the only light we’ve got in all this darkness.” - James Baldwin in “Sonny’s Blues”