Students must be enrolled and earn credit in an English class during each quarter they are enrolled at University High School. Freshmen and sophomores take year-long courses. Juniors and seniors may elect to take Analysis and Composition, a year-long course, during either their third or fourth year at University High School. Juniors and seniors not taking Analysis and Composition elect one of at least three courses each quarter.
English l is a year-long course that introduces its students to the analysis of literature and the fundamentals of writing. In the past few years, students have studied parts of Genesis, Macbeth, John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, and J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye as well as a range of short stories and poems. To complement certain units, students also select readings from supplementary lists. Students are taught how to write short essays through instruction that emphasizes the use of evidence from the text to support their ideas. Creative writing exercises allow students to explore personal experiences and to learn the process and methods of essay, story, and poem writing, specifically the use of dialogue, figurative language, and specific sensory details. Students also receive both the opportunity to develop, and instruction in developing, discussion skills in full class and small group situations. These skills include those involved with the study of English (for example, how to ask significant questions) and those involved with humane behavior. In addition, students work on grammar, mechanics, and vocabulary in this course. Teachers report an advisory grade for each student each quarter and assign a final grade earned at the end of the academic year.
Pre-requisite: English 1
English 2 is a year-long course that builds upon and reinforces the reading and writing skills students learned in English 1 and introduces new reading and writing skills to them. Students read short fiction (short stories and perhaps a novella length story or play) in the first quarter, a Shakespeare play (almost always Romeo and Juliet) in the second quarter, and longer fiction (a novel and/or a novella) in the third quarter, and in any quarter may study other forms of literature, such as poetry. In their reading, students work on thematic development, figurative language (especially metaphor and irony), inferential reading, and identification of various patterns. In their writing, students focus especially on exposition but may also write personal essays, poetry, and short stories. Through participation in class discussions, students learn to listen to others, to respond intelligently, and to ask significant questions about literature. Teachers report an advisory grade for each student each quarter and assign a final grade earned at the end of the academic year.
Analysis and Composition
Pre-requisite: English 2
Analysis and Composition is a year-long course for students who want to strengthen their background and foundation in several English skill areas. Students develop writing skills especially through analytical writing but may also do some imaginative writing. They learn to write clear and concise prose and to organize and develop their ideas according to the logic of their thesis. The reading goals include developing the ability to draw inferences, identify patterns, and trace images in literature. The course includes work on grammar, mechanics, and vocabulary. The English Department is committed to keeping the size of Analysis and Composition classes at a maximum of fifteen students so students can have more individual attention and instruction in class and more conference time available outside of class. Teachers report an advisory grade for each student each quarter and assign a final grade earned at the end of the academic year.
Pre-requisite: English 2
Credit: l/3 per quarter
English 3/4 consists of three quarter-long courses each year for juniors and seniors who are not taking Analysis and Composition. Students in English 3/4 choose their classes at the end of each quarter. Elective courses emphasize analytical writing in response to literature, usually novels, novellas, short stories, essays, poems, drama, or film. The basis for both discussion and written work is a close reading of the course's texts. The works are typically chosen around a theme, an author, a genre, or a combination of any of these. In addition to literature courses, each year at least one elective emphasizes story and/or poem writing. At the end of each quarter, a student receives a final grade for the elective in which he or she was enrolled.
We offer an elective program to juniors and seniors because we believe it is important for upperclassmen to begin to take responsibility for determining the content and direction of their education. Recent course offerings have included:
- Greek Literature: Plato and Sophocles
- The Outsider in Shakespeare: Merchant of Venice and Othello
- Herman Melville's Moby Dick
- Stars and Dust: Short Story Writing Workshop
- Science Fiction as Social Satire
- Shakespeare's Hamlet and The Tempest
- Socrates, Soyinka, and Zen: Euthyphro, The Apology, Crito; Death and the King's Horseman; Zen in the Art of Archery
- Meeting Anna Karenina: Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina and Woody Allen's Hanna and Her Sisters (film)
- Lovers, Madmen, Poets: an excerpt from Plato, Cyrano de Bergerac, and Charlie Chaplin's City Lights
- Word Play: Vocabulary and Etymology
- Literary Monsters: Frankenstein and Beowulf
- Too Graphic: A Study of Comic Books
- If Memory Serves: The Glass Menagerie, Beloved, and The Things They Carried
- Hard-Boiled Detectives and Film Noir
- Charles Dickens' Great Expectations
- Kafka and Martel: The Creative Connection
- Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion
- The Personal Essay
- Sundry Folk: The Canterbury Tales
- The Imaginative Power of Film
- Literature and Rhetoric