English

ENGLISH

The English curriculum is tied to the Massachusetts Common Core Standards based on the skills of reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language. Specifically, the curriculum provides instruction in the different modes of written and oral expression, analytical reading, vocabulary, grammar/usage, and media study. There is a strong departmental philosophy that views writing as an important thinking and discovery skill, and that skill is incorporated into all required English courses and electives to provide a rich variety of writing experiences. Furthermore, the curriculum provides for an equally meaningful experience reading literature and non-fiction.

All students must take English throughout their four years of high school, accumulating a minimum of four credits in order to graduate. Consequently, nearly all courses have open admission so students may select courses that suit their needs, abilities, and achievement levels. A student in any honors level class will have his or her status reviewed each quarter to ensure ongoing progress and proper placement. Enrollment in Advanced Placement English culminates in the taking of the AP Examination in May.

As four full credits of English are necessary for graduation, all failed non-elective English courses must be made up. Students will not be allowed to take two non-elective English classes within the same school year, so they must register for summer school in order to make up English credits. Students who earn half a credit for a full year’s course of study need to complete only half of a traditional summer school course.

Homework assignments are designed to reinforce ideas presented in class; to provide practice with vocabulary, grammar and usage, and composition skills; and to provide time for reflective thinking (e.g., synthesis of reading done for class, planning/writing essays). The time expectations for homework assignments vary according to the level of instruction and the specific assignment.

All of the Language Arts Department course offerings reflect the ten Academic Expectations adopted by Melrose High School, and those expectations are stressed in some way in each course.

Senior Paper Requirement

To gain final credit, a senior must successfully complete and receive a passing grade on a Senior Research Paper/Capstone Project under the direction of his or her Senior English teacher. Failure to earn a passing grade on the Senior Research Paper/Capstone Project results in failure of the course, mandatory enrollment in summer school and may jeopardize graduation. The senior thesis project is equivalent to forty hours of time and learning.

Summer Reading Requirement

Reading during the summer months is an expected and important part of the English Program. Each English course requires specific reading to prepare the student for course content and goals. The English Department assigns books in June and follows up with a departmental assessment in September.

Writing Portfolio

Each year, the English Department collects at least three pieces of writing representing varying modes of writing from each student. This writing becomes part of the student’s permanent writing folder which includes writing samples from all grades, K-12. An annual student reflection on personal writing achievements and challenges is added to the permanent writing folder as well. Seniors may access this folder for papers to review for college application needs and will receive this folder before graduation.
121 English 1 Level:        CP 1 English Credit
Prerequisite: Successful Completion of 8th Grade English                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Grade 9
Expectations: Curriculum for this course includes grammar (usage and punctuation), composition, oral presentation, vocabulary, and literature. Course content may include reading mythology, Julius Caesar or Macbeth, Lord of the Flies, Animal Farm, The House on Mango Street, The Pearl, The Old Man and the Sea, Twelve Angry Men, Farewell to Manzanar, Zeitoun, non-fiction passages, selections from poetry, selections from the Prentice-Hall anthology, and word/language problems related to the MCAS, PSAT and SAT exams. Students are expected to complete 1-3 hours of independent work including reading, writing, and project work during each week.
115 English 1 Level:        1 English Credit
Grade 9
Prerequisite: Teacher recommendation, a minimum grade of “A” in 8th –grade Proficient English or a grade of B+ in the 8th grade Advanced English, a grade of A on the grade 8 mid-year assessment, Advanced level of performance on the seventh grade MCAS examination, a fluent writing sample, department approval, and successful performance on the 8th grade summer reading assessment.

Expectations: Curriculum for this course includes a wide experience in literature, intensive vocabulary study, oral presentation, a strong emphasis on composition, and study of grammar and syntax. Course content may include The Odyssey, selections from poetry, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, The Pearl, Lord of the Flies, Animal Farm, The House on Mango Street, Twelve Angry Men, Zeitoun, Farewell to Manzanar, non-fiction passages, selections from Prentice-Hall anthology, and word/language problems related to the MCAS, PSAT, and SAT exams. Students are expected to have mastered skills that will allow them to complete work independently. Students are expected to complete 3-5 hours of independent work including reading, writing, and project work each week.

122 English 2 Level: CP 1   English Credit Prerequisite:           Successful Completion of English 1                                                                                                                                                                            Grade 10
Expectations: Curriculum for this course emphasizes preparation for the MCAS exam by building skills in critical thinking, reading comprehension, and the writing process. Literary works studied may include The Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird, Early Autumn, Night, Ordinary People, October Sky, The Glass Castle and The Taming of the Shrew, The Merchant of Venice or A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Grammar exercises, and PSAT, SAT and MCAS related literature are used in the writing exercises and literature analysis as preparation for standardized exams. Students are expected to complete 1-3 hours of independent work, including reading, writing, and project work each week.

116 English 2 Level: H                1 English Credit
Prerequisite: B+ Average or better in English 115 or an A average in English 121                                                                                                                                                                                                         Grade 10

Expectations: Curriculum for this course focuses on the development of independent skills necessary for success in critical thinking, reading comprehension, and the writing process at a more advanced level. Literary works may include The Catcher in the Rye, The Glass Menagerie, To Kill a Mockingbird, Early Autumn, Night, Ordinary People, The Glass Castle and The Merchant of Venice, October Sky, The Taming of the Shrew, or A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Grammar exercises, and PSAT, SAT and MCAS related literature are used in the writing exercises and literature analysis as preparation for standardized exams. Students are expected to have mastered skills that will allow them to complete work independently. Students are expected to complete 3-5 hours of independent work including reading, writing and project work each week.

123 English 3 Level: CP            1 English Credit
Prerequisite: Successful completion of English 2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Grade 11

Expectations: Curriculum for this course concentrates on the writing of structured expository and persuasive papers and on the critical reading of essays, speeches, and novels from the canon of American literature and emphasizes the progression of literature representing several periods. A review of essential grammar is used as reference for writing exercises and long essays. Literature may include The Crucible, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, A Farewell to Arms, The Red Badge of Courage, The Scarlet Letter, The Great Gatsby, A Raisin in the Sun, Of Mice and Men and. selected short stories, poetry, and non-fiction. PSAT and SAT exercises will be used as preparation for standardized exams. Students are expected to complete 1-3 hours of independent work including reading, writing, and project work each week.

117 English 3 Level: H                1 English Credit
Prerequisite: B+ Average or better in English 116 or an A average in English 122                                                                                                                                                                                                        Grade 11
Expectations: Curriculum for this course emphasizes the writing of expository and persuasive essays and the critical reading of essays, speeches, and novels from the canon of American literature, focusing on the Colonial, Romantic, Realistic, and Modern Periods. Students are expected to have mastered the reading and writing skills that allow them to work independently. The Elements of Style is used as reference for writing essays. Literature for the course may include Macbeth, The Scarlet Letter, The Crucible, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Of Mice and Men, The Red Badge of Courage, The Grapes of Wrath, A Raisin in the Sun, A Farewell to Arms, and The Great Gatsby. PSAT and SAT exercises will be used as preparations for standardized exams. Students are expected to complete 3-5 hours of independent work including reading, writing, and project work each week.

103 Advanced Placement English Language and Composition Level: AP    1 English Credit
Grade 11
Prerequisite: An A average in English 122, successful completion of the summer reading assignment for the course and department recommendation

Expectations: Curriculum for this course emphasizes the skilled reading of prose, especially non-fiction, written in a variety of periods, disciplines and rhetorical contexts. Students will become more adept writers who can compose for a variety of purposes and audiences. This course is directed towards students who desire advanced placement in college and requires students to take the Advanced Placement English Language and Composition Examination in the spring. Students are expected to complete 6-8 hours of independent work including reading, writing, and project work each week.

124 English 4 Level: CP          1 English Credit
Prerequisite: Successful completion of English 123.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Grade 12

Expectations: Curriculum for this course emphasizes the refinement of critical reading skills through analysis of works including Brave New World or 1984, Oedipus Rex, Nickel and Dimed, Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun, Death of a Salesman, and Hamlet. Students will review and apply proper grammar and usage rules and formatting from The Elements of Style and study word and language problems related to the SAT exam. This course includes completion of a formal research paper/Capstone Project. Students are expected to complete 2-3 hours of independent work including reading, writing, and project work each week.

118 English 4 Level: H            1 English Credit
Prerequisite: B+ average or better in English 117 of A average in English 123.                                                                                                                                                                                                             Grade 12

Expectations: Curriculum for this course emphasizes critical reading skills and applies proper principles of grammar and usage rules from The Elements of Style. Students read and analyze works including Hamlet, Oedipus Rex, Death of a Salesman, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Pride and Prejudice, Ethan Frome, Nickel and Dimed, Freakonomics and Brave New World or 1984, selected poetry and short stories and study word and language problems related to the SAT. Students are expected to have mastered skills that will allow them to work independently. This course also includes the completion of a formal research paper/Capstone Project. Students should expect to complete 3-5 hours of independent work including reading, writing, and project work each week.

104 Advance Placement English Literature and Composition Level: AP        1 English Credit
Grade 12
Prerequisite: An A in English 117, B+ in English 103, successful completion of a summer assignment, and department approval.

Expectations: Curriculum for this course emphasizes critical and analytical thinking, both of which will be exhibited through writing and thoughtful class discussion of literature. Students are expected to read extensively across a wide array of genres, including novels, plays, poetry, and short stories. The course curriculum is directed towards students who desire advanced placement in college and requires the students to take the advanced placement Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition Examination in the spring.

139 Creative Writing Level: CP                1       Credit
Prerequisite: None                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Grade 9-12

Expectations: Curriculum for this course is designed to meet the needs of those students who desire to write in any number of expressive modes. The course content will include developing a creative voice in addition to studying short readings by a wide range of authors. The structure of the course will provide support and direction in creative writing as well as an introduction to the workshop and editing process. Students are expected to submit writing for consideration and possible publication in the school’s literary magazine, The Thistle, and are expected to participate in writing contests and publications.

148 Media Literacy Level: CP                   1 Credit
Prerequisite: None                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Grade 9-12

Expectations: Students are expected to analyze the various forms and facets of media and determine how the media influences individuals and society. Students are expected to discuss media as a reflection of culture and determine the accuracy of that representation.
159 Theatre Arts Level: CP                      1 Credit
Prerequisite: None                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Grade 9-12

Expectations: Curriculum for this elective combines an introduction to elementary acting techniques with a study of theatre history. Curriculum goals include specific understandings of the actor, stage, and the audience. Oral and written assessments complement the study and interpretation of theatrical productions.

193 Creative Nonfiction Level: CP           0.5 Credit
Prerequisite: None                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Grades 10-12

Expectations: Curriculum for creative nonfiction is expansive, covering a variety of subgenres: the personal essay, travel writing, profiles, humor writing, literary journalism, and nature writing. The elements of reporting (accuracy, detail, exposition, research), the elements of fiction writing (narrative, scene, dialogue, point of view, rounded characters), and the elements of poetry writing (vivid detail/imagery, lyricism, reflection, musicality) often blend in prose that connects the writer, the reader, and the larger world. Students are expected to read and use as models work of contemporary writers in various genres. Assignments and writing prompts will lead to the creation and revision of drafts, leading in turn to a portfolio of polished material at the end of the course.

194 The Graphic Novel Level: CP            0.5 Credit
Prerequisite: None                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Grades 10-12

Expectations: Curriculum for this course serves as introduction to critical methods in popular culture studies with a focus on the graphic novel as cultural product and practice. Students are expected to explore the way in which meanings emerge in several classic texts of the graphic novel genre. The readings will be informed by examining a diversity of theoretical perspectives. Students will examine the relationships between the concepts “graphic novel” or “comic book” and popular culture.

195 Women in Literature Level: CP         0.5 Credit
Prerequisite: None                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Grades 10-12

Expectations: Curriculum for this course examines an historical sampling of literature written by female authors or about female characters. Through group discussion and written assignments, students critically evaluate the forms and techniques used in this writing. In addition, students analyze the validity of the female experience as portrayed in literature — and are expected to gain insight into the challenges and power of women in literature and in life.

196 Peace and Protest: Literature and Composition from America’s Conflicts      0.5 Credit
Prerequisite: None Level: CP                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Grades 10-12

Expectations: The quest for peace in life and literature is the focus for this course. The internal and external struggle for peace as well as valid protests against the lack of it will be considered in a variety of novels, essays, poems and songs. Students are expected to examine historical examples of intolerance and tolerance. Curriculum for the course is interdisciplinary in nature, and the theme will be studied from its vantage point in psychology, literature, politics and film. Students should be prepared to read fiction, nonfiction and poetry and to respond in writing.

197 Writing for Media Level: CP                                 0.5 Credit
Prerequisite: None                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Grades 10-12

Expectations: Curriculum for this course highlights journalist inquiry through reporting and research techniques. Students survey the various forms of journalistic writing: the hard-news pyramid, feature writing, sports, entertainment, and writing for broadcasting and online. Later in the class, students focus on beat-based reporting designed to sharpen their ability to recognize a captivating story and report it out fully using methods specific to reporting and news writing. By the end of the class, students are expected to produce major pieces of narrative, explanatory, or investigative writing, and these pieces will be published in the Imprint as well as local news venues.

198 Literature, Film, and Visual Rhetoric Level: CP      0.5 Credit
Prerequisite: None                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Grades 10-12

Expectations: Curriculum for this course includes literature, film and visual rhetoric organized in a hybrid, self-directed class centered on analyzing films and the source material that inspired them. Students are responsible for maintaining a blog recording their insights, reviews and opinions on the course materials. Throughout the class, students will develop and refine critical and analytical reading of visual text and media culture. The class will culminate with each student adapting his/her own selected source material into a short screenplay which he/she will produce.

192 Public Speaking Level: CP                                          0.5 Credit
Prerequisite: None                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Grades 10-12

Expectations: This class is a practical course designed to offer the novice speaker a number of opportunities to organize and prepare public speaking assignments. The course will also offer a “laboratory setting” in which the beginning speaker will stand in front of a live audience and present his/her practiced performance. In addition to public speaking, further performance opportunities may be included in the area of public oral reading. Students are expected to learn about the role of communication in everyday life and consider communication models, delivery styles, and the effectiveness of language, gestures, and organization techniques.
160 English as a Second Language Level: Unleveled 0.5 or 1 Credit
Prerequisite: Recommendation of counselor                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Grades 9-12

Expectations: Students who are English language learners are expected to take this course in conjunction with or as a replacement for an English class. In this small group class, students will have the opportunity to hone their skills in speaking and writing English with the help of a trained ELL teacher.