English in High School

The English curriculum focuses on reading, writing, speaking and listening, research, and language. Each area will be assessed in every English course in various ways, and skills will be revisited and refined over the course of the four-year program. Students must enroll in an English class every semester they attend SAS. All freshmen must take English 9 or World Studies, while sophomores must take English 10 or American Studies. Upperclassmen may opt for any of the following courses during the junior and senior years: AP English Language, AP English Literature, AT Writing Workshop and Publication (all year long), or a combination of the semester-length junior/senior option courses.

While all of the courses can be used to fulfill the four-credit SAS English graduation requirement, please note that there are some that do not meet the English requirements set by some outside organizations. The US National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) reviews all core courses at all high schools and makes an independent assessment on whether they are considered substantially comparable to a traditional core course. If you are a talented athlete who could potentially play a sport in a US college, be aware of the non–traditional SAS English courses that are not certified by the NCAA.

Having trouble deciding what class to take? Check out the video below featuring our students as they discuss some of the different English options:

FAQ: Should a ninth grader choose English 9 and World History, or the combined double block World Studies course?

English 9, World History, and World Studies each challenge students to dive more deeply into content knowledge covered, and empower students to make meaningful connections across disciplines through an inquiry lens.

For the World Studies course, which meets every day with the same teacher, school transcripts will not reflect independent grades for English 9 and World History, but instead will note one grade for World Studies. Whether choosing the combined double block option or the discrete courses, to be successful, a student will need to thoughtfully understand the content introduced and master the skills of speaking persuasively, writing effectively, and reading analytically.

Students will be expected to consistently research and share their perspectives in collaborative environments. The skills, methods, and thinking emphasized in English 9, World History and World Studies will prove beneficial when students are asked to choose and develop an interdisciplinary SAS Catalyst Project. Similarly, both choices will adequately prepare students for higher level social studies and English courses (AP and AT).

About Junior and Senior Semester Options

The junior (eleventh grade) and senior (twelfth grade) options continue the development of skills and intensive study of literature of a college preparatory English sequence. These semester-long courses cover diverse bodies of literature from various periods and cultures. All of the courses develop writing, reading, viewing, speaking, listening and technology skills. Please note that some options are offered on a two-year, rotating basis; see course descriptions for details.

Writing

Students will compose a variety of writing assignments, such as personal essays, literary analysis, compare and contrast essays, reviews, journal entries, and character sketches. They will be encouraged to develop an authentic voice and sense of audience. Students will revise pieces of writing, concentrating on content and organization, and edit to improve diction and mechanics. Students will participate in peer critiquing and editing.

Speaking and Listening

Students will speak in a variety of contexts: speeches and oral presentations, large and small group discussions, dramatic readings, and/or readers’ theater activities.

Reading and Viewing

Students will read a significant body of literature appropriate to the focus of the course.

English Courses in 2018-19

Click the course names to view the course descriptions.

View Other High School Courses

Click the buttons below to view other courses offered in SAS.

Course Descriptions

World Studies (English 9/World History)

ID: 41005 Grade: 9 Length: Year
Credit: English/Soc Studies (2)
Note: Double block/credit in English and History.

This course is a thematic study of the human experience through the lenses of history, sociology, economics, civics, and literature, with a focus on skills development. Students will explore critical issues, ideologies, individuals, texts and turning points in the histories of the world, considering how these developed and shaped both past and contemporary issues. Students will be challenged to think critically and to make thoughtful connections as they draw on a variety of resources to understand the human experience. Students will be challenged to demonstrate the development of their skills and understandings in final culminating projects. This interdisciplinary course will meet every day, and students will earn both an English and a Social Studies credit for completing the course.

Reading and Viewing

Students will critically read a variety of nonfiction (e.g. textbooks, academic articles, primary source documents), fiction (e.g. novels, short stories), drama, and poetry reflecting the human experience. They will be challenged to read closely and critically, to understand literary structure and technique, and to read like a historian. They will be encouraged to read widely outside of class in order make connections. Core texts include a memoir, The Ramayana, The Merchant of Venice, and Lord of the Flies.

Writing

Students will develop their writing in a variety of genres (e.g. argumentative, informative, narrative, reflective/blog), responding to both literature and social studies concepts. Language usage and mechanics instruction will focus on the problems evident in the students’ writing. Students will also develop their vocabulary using the individually-levelled program, Membean.

Speaking and Listening

Students are expected to participate fully in class discussions (shared inquiry, fishbowl, Socratic seminars etc.), work in small groups, and make formal presentations, with a focus on persuasive speaking skills.

English 9

ID: 41012 Grade: 9 Length: Year
Credit: English

English 9 focuses on writing, reading, speaking/listening, and language skills in addition to a year–long vocabulary study of Greek and Latin prefixes, roots, and suffixes. The course is organized into four quarter–long thematic studies which are linked to the student’s World History course. Each quarter concludes with inquiry–based projects.

Reading and Viewing

Students will focus on the skill of inferring meaning from text. Students will read within the genres of narrative, nonfiction, novel, poetry, drama, and short story. Additionally, a common expectation in English 9 is for students to read at least two personal books each month, contributing to a goal of 20 personal books per student per year.

Writing

Students will learn how to manage and organize primary and secondary source material, using each in increasingly sophisticated writing tasks. Students will learn to produce writing in analytical, informative, reflective, narrative, and creative forms. Students will refine their knowledge and application of syntactical patterns.

Speaking and Listening

Students will learn how to participate in shared inquiry discussions by supporting their thinking with textual evidence from their readings. Students will also prepare for and present their quarterly projects.

American Studies (English 10/US History and Government)

ID: 41014 Grade: 10 Length: Year
Credit: English/US History (2)
Note: Double block/credit in English, and US History and Government

This course is a thematic study of the American experience through the lenses of history and literature, with a focus on skills development. Through the thematic units “American Values,” “All Men are Created Equal?,” “The American Dream,” and “Conflicts and Resolutions,” students will explore critical issues, individuals, and turning points in the history of the United States of America. Students will analyze the extent to which ideologies, people, literature, and events developed and shaped both American history and its contemporary issues. Students will be challenged to think critically and to make thoughtful connections as they draw on a variety of resources to understand the American experience. This interdisciplinary course will meet every day, and students will earn both an English 10 and a US History and Government credit for completing the course.

Reading and Viewing

Students will critically read a variety of nonfiction (e.g. academic articles, primary source documents), fiction (e.g. novels, short stories), drama and poetry reflecting the American Experience; the history text will be The Americans. Students will continue to develop skills in visual literacy by critically viewing documentaries and films. Students will be encouraged to read widely outside of class in order make connections.

Writing

Students will develop their writing in a variety of genres (e.g. persuasion, narration, analysis, synthesis), responding insightfully to both literature and history and they will pursue class–related areas of interest for their research projects. Language usage and mechanics instruction will focus on the problems evident in the students’ writing.

Speaking and Listening

Students are expected to participate fully in class discussions, work in small groups, and conduct oral presentations, with a focus on persuasive speaking skills.

English 10: American Literature

ID: 41013 Grade: 10 Length: Year
Credit: English

English 10 is a survey of American Literature. Throughout the course, students are asked to think critically and reflect on two key questions: Who or what is an American? Is the American Dream a myth or reality?

Reading and Viewing

Students will read a variety of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry reflecting the various literary periods in American Literature. Students will study classic texts chosen from titles such as The Catcher in the Rye, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Great Gatsby, Outliers, The Crucible, and A Raisin in the Sun. Students may also participate in literature circles using texts that examine current issues in America. Additionally, students will continue to develop skills in critical observation and creative representation by viewing videos of films and short subjects.

Writing

The form and structure of the short essay are stressed, and the quality of writing is enhanced through the application of the writing process. Students will write in a variety of modes and styles (e.g. argumentative, narrative, informational, synthesis), with a focus on persuasive writing and research. Language usage and mechanics instruction focuses on the problems evident in the students’ writing and in their application of previously acquired skills.

Speaking and Listening

The course emphasizes the discussion of literary selections and oral reports to emphasize the skill of persuasive speaking.

Creative Writing

ID: 41042 Grade: 11-12 Length: Semester I
Credit: English
Note: This course was previously named Advanced Composition. If a credit was earned in that course, you cannot retake it under this new name. Offered in 2018–19; may be offered in 2019–20. English courses are undergoing a curriculum review and this may mean a change in junior and senior courses for 2019–20 or beyond.

This semester course is designed for students who wish to explore creative writing, to develop an individual writing voice, and to learn first-hand how creative writers work. Using a workshop format, both in class and online, students will hone their collaboration skills as they survey specific forms of creative writing, develop a peer community of writers to critique and support each other, and create an individual portfolio of creative work. Students will have opportunities to submit their works to outside publications and select and perform their own works for a student-developed public reading at the end of the semester. While this course is not required for AT English: Writing Workshop and Publication, it does serve as an excellent foundation and introduction to the creative writing process.

British Literature: The World of Shakespeare

ID: 41006 Grade: 11-12 Length: Semester I
Credit: English
Note: Offered in 2018-19; predicted to not be offered in 2019–20. English courses are undergoing a curriculum review and this may mean a change in junior and senior courses for 2019–20 or beyond.

In this course, students will study Shakespeare’s works in depth, critically reading at least one play from each of his four genres (history, comedy, tragedy, and romance), along with sonnets and other poetry. Supplementary readings will include recent articles and scholarship about Shakespeare and Elizabethan England and the development of Shakespeare’s language; in addition, students will critically view films and performances (if possible) of the plays. In response to the readings, students will write in a variety of genres (e.g. persuasion, narration, critical responses) and participate in shared inquiry discussions and presentations.

Literature and the Imagination (Science Fiction)

ID: 41011 Grade: 11-12 Length: Semester I
Credit: English
Note: Offered in 2018-19; may be offered in 2019–20. English courses are undergoing a curriculum review and this may mean a change in junior and senior courses for 2019–2020 or beyond.

Students in this course will study the three stages of Science Fiction: Gothic/classic science fiction period (1818-1926); the modern period (1926-1960s); and the contemporary period (1960s-present). Through the study of the literature of these three periods students will examine the philosophical (ethical), scientific, and political ideas developed in science fiction literature. Key ideas include: the ethics of science and the responsibility of the scientist, the conflict between man and technology, man’s relationship to nature, the individual against society, mankind meeting alien species, social problems highlighted in science fiction literature and film, and how science fiction questions what it means to be human. Students will also explore the relationship of science fiction literature to the novel and film. Consequently students will analyze both written text and film. The variety of science fiction writers includes Ray Bradbury, P.D. James, Mary Shelley, and H.G. Wells.

Reading, Writing and Publishing in a Digital World

ID: 41024 Grade: 11-12 Length: Semester I
Credit: English
Note: Offered in 2018-19; may be offered in 2019–20. English courses are undergoing a curriculum review and this may mean a change in junior and senior courses for 2019–2020 or beyond.

This project–based course examines the textual relationship between literary style and content, examining how it has evolved over time. We examine how the tools of expression—the spoken word, the pen, the printing press, the radio, the television and the internet—have changed the ways we describe, explain, persuade, and narrate in the world. By reading and writing many different forms, students will better understand how to interpret the written world and publish work with a greater awareness of the effects on different audiences. This course is designed to help students think critically about and responsibly within the digital age. Students will plan, write, revise, produce, record, film, publish, and evaluate their own work, creating a body of writing to take with them in their personal portfolio.

Contemporary American Literature

ID: 41008 Grade: 11-12 Length: Semester II
Credit: English
Note: Offered in 2018-19; may be offered in 2019–20. English courses are undergoing a curriculum review and this may mean a change in junior and senior courses for 2019–2020 or beyond.

Contemporary American Literature focuses on reading text from multiple genres (e.g., nonfiction, poetry, imaginative literature, film, etc.) to explore the values, voices and attitudes in present–day American society. These myriad texts will be applied to wider contexts including gender, cultural, historical, psychological and political issues. For instance, what impact has the social construction of gender had on our contemporary understanding of masculinity and femininity or how is language used in political and social discourse to convey meaning? Students will analyze such issues through writing, speaking, and collaborative tasks that require them to consider the multiple perspectives involved. They will also practice their research skills by developing guiding questions and identifying academic sources to support their thinking.

Genres of 21st Century Literature (Film as Literature)

ID: 41010 Grade: 11-12 Length: Semester II
Credit: English
Note: This course does not meet the NCAA Division I core course requirement for English. See counselor for details. Offered in 2018–19; predicted to not be offered in 2019–20. English courses are undergoing a curriculum review and this may mean a change in junior and senior courses for 2019–2020 or beyond.

Film is a dominant storytelling medium in the 21st century. The best films can be “read” like books or poems as they contain rich characters, deep symbolism, and complex themes just like the best literature. This course will examine films as texts, and teach students how to interpret what they see on the screen, how to use the technical vocabulary of films and images, and how to write about film in a critical way. Students will annotate informational text, analyze differences and similarities between film and literature, read literature, participate in collaborative discussions, write analytical essays, and practice their independent research skills. Films included in this course may include The Godfather, Citizen Kane, Rear Window, The Seven Samurai and other important works. Students will also have the opportunity to choose their own films for independent study.

Students in Satire

ID: 41022 Grade: 11-12 Length: Semester II
Credit: English
Note: Offered in 2018–19; may be be offered in 2019–20. English courses are undergoing a curriculum review and this may mean a change in junior and senior courses for 2019–2020 or beyond.

This course will provide students with a broad sense of satire in terms of how it has been defined and practiced. Thus, students will begin by briefly discussing several approaches to explaining the basic concepts of satire. These efforts seek to explain satire’s long and successful run as a literary genre and to clarify just how satire works. After establishing a critical lens through which to view satire, students will study classical examples of satire primarily from the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries using texts such as Being There, Brave New World, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Malcontents, and Cat’s Cradle. All the while, each week students will also be keeping tabs on twenty–first century satire. Overall, the course seeks to enhance students’ critical thinking skills by closely analyzing the criticisms inherent in works of satire.

World Literature: Myths and Monsters

ID: 41017 Grade: 11-12 Length: Semester II
Credit: English
Note: Offered in 2018–19; may be be offered in 2019–20. English courses are undergoing a curriculum review and this may mean a change in junior and senior courses for 2019–2020 or beyond.

The monster is a figure as old as literature itself. From the myths of the Greeks to the Biblical Leviathan, monsters of various kinds have roamed the landscapes of our imaginations. This course asks, what is a monster? Why do people seem fascinated with the grotesque, the outcast, and the evil? How are monsters portrayed in literature and other art forms? We will examine novels and stories that feature classic and contemporary visions of vampires, demons, ogres and perhaps the most frightening monster of all: mankind.

AP English Language and Composition

ID: 41028 Grade: 11-12 Length: Semester II
Credit: English
Prerequisite: No prerequisite for students to select this course in twelfth grade. Semester I grade of B+ or higher in English 10/American Studies is required to select this course in eleventh grade. Students with a Semester I grade of B in English 10/American Studies or a Semester I grade of A+ in English 9/World Studies may select this course if they also obtain a current teacher recommendation.

The AP Language and Composition course is primarily a course in both effective writing and critical reading. This course engages students in becoming skilled readers of prose written in a variety of periods, disciplines, and rhetorical contexts and in becoming skilled writers who compose for a variety of purposes. Readings will draw from a variety of topics, depending on relevance and student interests. These topics may include politics, technology, gender, education, the environment, or community. Students planning to take AP English Language and Composition as a junior are cautioned: successful completion of the course requires a much greater effort and is significantly more demanding than English 10. Students will be prepared for and strongly encouraged to sit for the AP exam in May.

AP English Literature and Composition

ID: 41029 Grade: 11-12 Length: Semester II
Credit: English
Prerequisite: Any English AP/AT course; or Semester I grade of B or higher in an eleventh grade English course; or current teacher recommendation.
Note: This course will be offered for the final time in 2018–19. Beginning in 2019–20, the course will be replaced with an Advanced Topic offering in literature.

This course is designed for upperclassmen who have demonstrated a commitment to the critical study of literature and the study and practice of writing. Through speaking, listening, and reading, but chiefly through the experience of their own writing, students will become more aware of the resources of language and more adept at formal analysis of literature in terms of both form and content. The focus of this course is the in–depth analysis of literature in a variety of modes: Greek drama, Shakespearean drama, the novel, satire, the essay, and poetry. The AP curriculum is not specifically prescribed and may vary in content and emphasis from year to year. Works selected for study will represent a variety of modes and periods and are generally recognized as literary classics. Students will be prepared for and strongly encouraged to sit for the AP exam in May.

AT English: Writing Workshop and Publication

ID: 41046 Grade: 11-12 Length: Semester II
Credit: English
Prerequisite: Semester I grade of B or higher in an AP English course; or Semester I grade of B+ or higher in English 10/American Studies or in an eleventh grade English offering. Students with a Semester I grade of B in English 10/American Studies or in an eleventh grade English offering may select this course if they also obtain a current teacher recommendation. Students who have signed up will be required to submit a portfolio of creative writing pieces prior to the fall semester in order to remain in the course. See your English teacher for details.
Note: This course was previously named AT English: Writing Seminar. If a credit was earned in that course, you cannot retake it under this new title.

This course offers an intensive, year-long inquiry into the creative writing and publication process. The course will operate in a small writers’ community to be structured on the Iowa Writers’ Workshop model used in creative writing departments across the world, but scaled for a high school student. The course is designed for students who already have a regular writing process in any creative genre and can demonstrate a passion for creative writing with a portfolio of work.

The course will feature a variety of units to develop insight and skills centered on creativity and producing a collaborative professional publication. These units include: idea generation through journaling and writing exercises, designing and refining sentences and forms, producing and iterating drafts of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, demonstrating courage to explore different approaches through radical revision, creating with others through writing workshop, and reflecting on the creative process in a journal and portfolio.

The course will feature regular workshops to improve drafting and editing skills, study and analysis of works and writers (based on student voice and choice) that examines process and audience as well as key ideas and craft, structured encounters with visiting local and international authors, a writer’s retreat to encourage growth of relationships and community, and production of a publication of student work (print, digital, and/or performance) based on inquiry into contemporary publishing practices.

This course was collaboratively developed and endorsed by a professor at Yale-NUS. The Advanced Topic designation indicates a course is at university level, putting it at or above the level of a traditional Advanced Placement (AP) course. This course has a grade point weighting of 0.5.

To submit your portfolio for consideration, please click here for submission guidelines.

AT Literacy Studies

ID: TBD Grade: 11-12 Length: Year
Credit: English
Prerequisite: Any English AP/AT course; or Semester I grade of B or higher in an eleventh grade English course; or current teacher recommendation.
Note: Course name is subject to change. This course is not offered in 2018–19. It will be offered for the first time in 2019–20.