English

The English department offers a comprehensive four-year college preparatory program in the study of the language arts: writing, literature, vocabulary, grammar, research, and speech. All course outcomes include the development of critical thinking, reading, and writing skills. Freshmen, sophomores, and juniors study a defined program. Seniors can choose from a wide variety of electives that are designed to challenge students to think, write and read at the highest levels. A strong focus on writing and critical thinking at all levels provides students with an excellent foundation as they develop and enhance their ability to communicate effectively and with passion.

Freshman

Enrollment in a yearlong English course is required. Placement is based on test scores and teacher recommendation. Enrollment in English Composition is concurrent with English 9.

Sophomore

Enrollment in a yearlong English 10 course is required. In addition, these elective options (listed under “Senior”) are available to sophomores: Creative Writing, Debate, Eco-Writing, Journalistic Writing, Mythology, Shakespeare, and Twentieth Century Drama.

Junior

Juniors are required to take one of the following options:

  • Option 1: American Literature and Advanced Composition-one each semester
  • Option 2: Advanced Composition (S1) and American Studies (S2)
  • Option 3: AP Language and Composition- for the full year

In addition, with the two exceptions of AP English Literature and Composition, and Non-Fiction Writing, juniors may choose to enroll in any English electives listed under “Senior.”

Senior

Enrollment in two English electives is required. One elective per semester.

Courses
English 9 (YR)
Two semesters, two credits, required.

The goals of English 9 are to help the student grow in appreciation of literature, develop critical thinking skills, express him/herself in an articulate manner both orally and in writing, and to effect a better command of the English language. Writing skills, with a review of the fundamentals of grammar, are stressed with emphasis on paragraph structure and the five-paragraph essay format. Plays, essays, and novels are read, studied, and analyzed. A vocabulary program is also part of the curriculum. Students should anticipate a required reading over the summer.

English Composition (YR)
Two semesters, two credits, open to freshmen.

Enrollment is based on the placement exam and/or teacher recommendation. Concurrent with English 9.

This course seeks to improve reading and writing skills for students who have demonstrated difficulty in these areas. The aim of this class is to help those students with particular needs in language skills become more confident, so that they will be better equipped to deal with the demands of English 9 and beyond. The structure of this year long course, paired with English 9, promotes individualized instruction and deeper understanding in all areas of English Language Arts, particularly with writing and reading comprehension. This paired course will cover the reading and writing skills required in English 9, and will allow for deeper instruction in these skills. Text selection follows the core curriculum of English 9, and students have the opportunity to read other texts of their choosing during Silent Sustained Reading, which occurs every day. This course does not meet the core course requirements of the NCAA.

English 10 (YR)
Two semesters, two credits, required.

The English 10 reading program explores a variety of literary genres, the study of which will develop and advance those critical and interpretative reading skills introduced in English 9. The first semester focuses on literature covering novels and plays. The composition portion of this course reviews paragraph development and multi-paragraph essays, including an emphasis on research skills. Included in the second semester are a research unit and a speech unit in which students will gain experience in organizing and delivering formal and informal oral presentations. A vocabulary program is also part of the curriculum. Students should anticipate a required reading over the summer.

American Literature (S1) or (S2)
One semester, one credit, open to juniors.

This course focuses on developing a foundation in American Literature while examining American culture as seen through novels, poetry, history, and art. Students should anticipate required reading over the summer.

American Studies/English (S2)
One semester, two credits, open to juniors.

Prerequisite: In addition to a grade of “B” or higher in both sophomore and first quarter junior year English and Social Studies classes, students must enroll in first semester Advanced Composition. Semester two students must enroll in American Studies English and American Studies Social. This course fulfills the second semester American Literature English requirement.

This course blends US historical events and themes in American literature to provide students with a comprehensive social, political, economic, and literary history. Five time periods each reflecting different epochs will be team taught: Great Depression, World War 2, Civil Rights, Cold War Conflict, and Challenges of Modern American Society. Having both literary and historical figures illuminating the human experience, American Studies fosters a deeper understanding of the principles, problems and issues basic to the establishment of our country. This understanding is essential for students to fully appreciate the complexities of history as it unfolds in modern times. Students enrolled in this course will meet two consecutive class periods.

Composition in the World of Sport (S1)
One semester, one credit, open to seniors.

With the goal of developing each student’s voice as a writer, this course focuses on teaching students the art of writing within the world of sports. Through composing recaps, profiles, feature stories, narratives, commentaries and research-based essays students will develop their writing skills and refine their writing style.                                         

This course does not meet the core course requirements of the NCAA.

Creative Writing (S2)
One semester, one credit, open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

The class will expose students to a variety of forms of the written word in order to cultivate creativity and enhance students’ forms of expression. Short essays, scripts, and poetry will be used as both examples and tools in this class, which offers students the opportunity to broaden their creative horizons, develop their own voices, refine their individual techniques, and share their writing in the classroom and beyond. Students will engage in college-level writing workshops and will compile their strongest writing into a final portfolio of their work at the semester’s end.

Debate (S1) or (S2)
One semester, one credit, open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

Students in this course will learn effective argumentation and the principles of debate. They will study valid persuasion techniques as a defense against irrational argument and use these techniques to influence others. Students will be involved in researching topics, learning debate techniques and terms, and improving speaking skills. Many types of debate will be covered in the class. No previous experience in debate is necessary, and students may enroll in the course without being on the school's debate team. Students who have experience in at least one season on a debate team may not enroll in the Debate course.

Great American Novels (S2)
One semester, one credit, open to juniors and seniors.

This discussion-based course is for students who want to have a grasp of American classics as they prepare for college. It picks up where American Literature leaves off, focusing on great novels from the Twentieth Century. Students will explore how American novels reflect the diversity of the American experience and consider what makes a novel “great.”

Immigrant Literature (S2)
One semester, one credit, open to juniors and seniors.

This literature-based course is for students who value critical analysis and discussion of contemporary American culture and what it means to be an American. This course provides an opportunity to discuss how story and memory intersect among immigrants living in the United States, and how the many facets of identity shape our country. Students will read a variety of stories from immigrants both in Minnesota and around the world.

Mythology (S2)
One semester, one credit, open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

This course covers a wide range of myths from various societies and time periods. While reading these stories of myth, students will examine universal archetypes, elements of culture, and human nature.  Ultimately students will have the opportunity to critically examine contemporary culture and how their own story is part of it. The primary texts will be Edith Hamilton’s Mythology and Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth, but the course will also pursue many other avenues for studying myth in the modern world. 

Science Fiction Literature (S1)
One semester, one credit, open to juniors and seniors.

This course is for students who want to examine the genre of science fiction as important and deserving of intelligent consideration and commentary. Using short stories, this course examines the development of science fiction over time. Novels will be read in order to examine what this genre – which is filled with what seem to be non-realities and impossibilities – has to offer to our present day world and issues.

Shakespeare (S2)
One semester, one credit, open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

Several of the major plays of Shakespeare will be read and discussed in this course, with special emphasis on Shakespeare’s understanding of human nature as shown by his character portrayals. Shakespeare will be considered from the point of view of his timelessness, his showmanship, and his relevance for modern teenagers. This course is intended for the student seriously interested in interpreting, analyzing, and enjoying Shakespeare’s philosophy of life.

Summer Option: Eco-Writing (S1)
One credit course, offered as summer option, open to sophomores, juniors and seniors.

An additional fee of approximately $1,500, which includes camp fees, will be charged to student tuition.

Eco-Writing is for students who love the outdoors and want to write about it. Students will attend class June 10-12, 2019 culminating with a week-long canoe trip at Lake Trails Base Camp in Oak Island, MN, from July 5-13, 2019. The class will expose students to legendary nature writers such as John Muir, Aldo Leopold, Sigurd Olson and Mary Oliver. Students will develop their own “listening point” and create field journals; they will also learn to write reflectively and persuasively about the world around them. A final project will be due the week following our return from camp.

NOTE: Sophomores and juniors enrolling in this course must enroll in the required English options available for that grade level. Seniors may use this elective as one of their two required English electives during their senior year. The overall minimum of 12.5 credits per semester is still required.

Editorial Leadership: Knight Errant (YR)
Two semesters, two credits, open to juniors and seniors.
Prerequisite: two semesters of Journalism classes, application, and teacher approval.

Seniors enrolled in Editorial Leadership must enroll in one additional English course each semester. Juniors enrolled in Editorial Leadership must enroll in required English courses. Students who take this hands-on course will oversee production of the print and online editions of the Knight Errant. They will be responsible for all aspects of the publication. As the editorial board of the Knight Errant, students in this class will coordinate the work of the students in the Journalistic Writing, Video Journalism, Photojournalism, and Graphic Design classes, in addition to creating their own content for publication. Each student in the class will be assigned a specific leadership role. This course does not meet the core course requirements of the NCAA.

Journalistic Writing (S1) and/or (S2)
One semester, one credit, open to sophomores, juniors and seniors.
Prerequisite: Application and teacher approval. This course may be repeated.

Sophomores and Juniors enrolled in Journalistic Writing must enroll in required English courses. Students who take this hand-on course will produce the written content for the print and online editions of the Knight Errant. They will work in conjunction with students in the Editorial Leadership class who will guide them through the writing process, from the conception of ideas to the final published product. Students in this class will explore the different styles of writing encompassed in the Knight Errant, including interview-based stories for the news, sports, and feature sections as well as opinion and review writing. With an emphasis on writing clear, concise, and engaging prose, this class will help students develop and hone their writing skills and provide them with an authentic audience for their writing. This course may be repeated. 

Social Justice and the Written Word (S1)
One semester, one credit, open to seniors.

This course focuses on the writing that has inspired and accompanied social change. We will analyze historical and contemporary works and their place in the continuous dialogue for rights in our country’s history. Students will study the relationship of medium and message through a wide variety of sources and voices in both primary documents and secondary texts, including pamphlets, letters, speeches, sermons, legal documents, poems, short stories, and beyond. Finally, students will practice the power of writing in a real-world context, empowering them to use their skills to make a difference in the world.

Honors Courses
Honors English 9 (YR)
Two semesters, two credits, open to freshmen.
Prerequisite: Score in the 95th percentile on placement exam.

This course is for students who possess superior language arts skills and have the desire to learn at an intense and accelerated pace. Students will examine the principal literary genres in a varied selection of approximately 15 texts, ranging from Greek drama to contemporary novels. The focus of the class will be critical analysis of the literature through discussion and writing. A vocabulary program is also included in the curriculum. Students should anticipate a required reading over the summer.

Honors English 10 (YR)
Two semesters, two credits, open to sophomores.
Prerequisite: Honors English 9 with a grade of “B” or above in both semesters OR an “A” in both semesters of English 9 in addition to the English department placement test score.

This course is intended for students who demonstrate superior language arts skills and have the desire to learn at an accelerated pace. Students read approximately 10 classic and contemporary novels and plays from Greek, European, and American literature and selected works of poetry. The intensive writing program includes multi paragraph essays of various forms. Also included in the course are a research project and a speech unit in which students gain experience in organizing and delivering formal and informal oral presentations. A vocabulary program is also part of the curriculum. Students should anticipate a required reading over the summer.

Advanced Courses
Advanced Composition (S1) or (S2)
One semester, one credit open to juniors.

This course prepares students for college writing assignments developing fundamental writing skills. Students will gain familiarity with and feel confident using different forms of writing, including argumentation, critical analysis, narration, description, and researched writing. Students will master the basics of grammar, mechanics, and usages. They will develop their own voices as writers and learn how to make the structure and form of their writing match its content through the process of revision.  In addition, as part of course activities, students will write a college-application essay.

Students enrolled in Advanced Composition first semester must complete the required summer American Literature reading assignment.

Advanced Film (S2)

One semester, one credit, open to juniors and seniors.

Prerequisite: Film Studies

Advanced Film is for students who wish to continue their study of film beyond the Film Studies course. Students will analyze screenplays, write original screenplays, and study narrative structure in film. This course combines further analysis of film with more opportunities for digital film making. Students will make a variety of short films (documentaries, narrative, and experimental). This course does not meet the core course requirements of the NCAA.

AP Courses
AP Language and Composition (YR)

Two semesters, two credits, open to juniors.

Prerequisite: English 10 with a grade of “A” in both semesters OR Honors English 10 with a grade of “B” or higher in both semesters.

In addition, prospective students must take the department placement test to determine their readiness for this course.

This accelerated writing course is taken in lieu of Advanced Composition and American Literature and is designed for those students who possess advanced writing skills. It is designed to further challenge those students as writers and to prepare them for more complex writing situations. Students will be required to complete a major writing project along with a variety of formal, informal, and in-class essays. In addition, students will be required to read several texts over the course of the year, focusing on American culture and rhetoric in fiction and nonfiction pieces. This is a reading- and writing- intensive course. NOTE: This course fulfills both the junior Advanced Composition and American Literature requirements.

AP English Literature and Composition (YR)
Two semesters, two credits, open to seniors.

Prerequisite: A grade of “A” in both junior year English courses and/or “B” or higher in AP Language and Composition.

This is an intense, college-level course in the reading and critical analysis of literature with a heavy emphasis on formal expository composition. A range of literature representative of different genres and historical periods will be studied, including approximately eight novels, a dozen short stories, six plays, and a wide selection of poetry. This yearlong course is a preparation for the AP Literature exam that is given in mid-May. Thus, it is expected that students taking this course will also take the AP Literature exam. Students should anticipate required reading over the summer.