ENGLISH

The West Hartford English curriculum is comprised of full-year freshman, sophomore, and junior courses plus a variety of full-year and semester courses for seniors. While courses vary in content, focus, and level of difficulty, core academic skills - literature and language study, writing, and critical thinking - receive careful attention in every course. In addition to helping students develop interest and proficiency in these areas, English teachers provide students with extended and individual assistance through the teacher-student conferences, portfolio work, and preparation for graduation requirements.

After completing the required English 9 and English 10 courses, students choose among the elective offerings for a program suitable to their preparation for college or career. To meet district and state requirements, all students must earn four English credits. Three of those credits must be earned in full-year courses.

grade 9
Grade 10
Grade 11
Grade 12

Full Year Courses: 

  • Honors English 9
  • English 9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Full Year Courses: 

  • Honors English 10
  • English 10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Full Year Courses: 

  • Advanced Placement English Language & Composition (ECE)* - Hall only
  • American Literature
  • British Literature - Hall only
  • World Literature Hall only  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Full Year Courses: 

  • Advanced Placement English Literature & Composition (ECE)*
  • Advanced Literature: 21st Century Studies (ECE)*
  • Humanities - Conard Only
  • Voices of Inspiration and Rebellion - Hall Only
  • Women's Literature (ECE)* - Conard Only
  • World Literature - Conard Only

Semester Courses: 

  • Women's Literature, Breaking the Silences - Hall Only
  • Women's Literature, Redefining the Roles - Hall Only
  • Multicultural Perspectives in American Literature - Hall Only
  • Writing: Description & Narration - Hall Only
  • Writing: Argument & Persuasion - Hall Only
  • Journalism - Hall Only
  • Creative Writing - Hall Only

*Students in this course may earn UConn credit for this course (English 1010: Seminar in Academic Writing or English 1011: Seminar in Writing Through Literature) if they get a C or above on the writing projects throughout the school year. The writing tasks will vary in length, but by the end of fourth quarter, students will have composed 25-30 pages of revised academic writing.

**ECE Credit for Advanced Placement English Language and Composition is available at Hall only.

Advanced Literature: 21st Century Studies

1 Credit
Grade 12

HALL: Everywhere students look today, they are bombarded by visual images that inform, entertain, and exploit. 21st Century Literature is concerned with helping students develop an informed and critical understanding of the nature of visual imagery, the techniques used to create these images, and the impact of these techniques. More specifically, the aim of this course is to increase students' understanding of the power of visual images in our everyday life. In this course, the students will demonstrate the ability to deconstruct visual images and will apply literacy and critical thinking skills to a variety of visual messages. Students will study both print and non-print images such as radio, magazines, film, television, video games, computers, the performing arts, and virtual reality. Course activities will include presentations, critical analysis and interpretation, small and large group discussions, research projects, and a summative presentation. Students in this course may earn UConn credit (English 1010: Seminar in Academic Writing) if they obtain a “C” or above on the writing projects throughout the school year. The writing tasks will vary in length, but by the end of fourth quarter, students will have composed 25-30 pages of revised academic writing.

CONARD: The theme of the class is, “’Systems of Control: Passivity and Consumer Culture.” The texts we examine will approach this topic from various angles with a particular focus on relationships of power in modern society. Students in this course may earn UConn credit for this course (English 1010: Seminar in Academic Writing) if they get a “C” or above on the writing projects throughout the course of the school year. The writing tasks will vary in length, but by the end of fourth quarter, students will have composed 25-30 pages of revised academic writing. While the course is a writing class, there will be rigorous readings involved. The reading content is mainly comprised of nonfiction essays, but periodically these essays may be coupled with memoirs.

Advanced Placement English: Language & Composition

1 Credit
Grade 11

This college-level course is intended for highly motivated, skilled juniors with an interest in becoming more proficient writers and critical thinkers. By studying various genres, styles and authors, students develop and refine their skills in textual analysis, written and oral composition, and building arguments through research and synthesis, all of which are essential for success on the Advanced Placement Exam and in college writing. Although the course is predicated on nonfiction text (essays, speeches, letters, autobiography, criticism), students also analyze visual texts and works of fiction. Additionally, the intense focus on language in this course will enhance students' ability to use grammatical conventions appropriately and with sophistication, as well as to develop stylistic maturity in their prose. Participation in the Advanced Placement exam is an expectation of this course.

Students in this course may earn UConn credit at Hall only (English 1010: Seminar in Academic Writing) if they obtain a “C” or above on the writing projects throughout the school year. The writing tasks will vary in length, but by the end of fourth quarter, students will have composed 25-30 pages of revised academic writing.

Advanced Placement English: Literature and Composition

1 Credit
Grade 12

This college-level course is intended for highly motivated, highly skilled students who have a strong interest in literature and writing. Course readings include a variety of challenging classic and contemporary works of prose, drama, non-fiction and poetry from American and world literature. Course activities include presentation, research writing, literary analysis and discussion, and individual and group work - all focused on extending students' literary breadth and understanding of genre. Participation in the Advanced Placement exam is an expectation of this course.

Students in this course may earn UConn credit (English 1011: Seminar in Academic Writing through Literature) if they obtain a “C” or above on the writing projects throughout the school year. The writing tasks will vary in length, but by the end of fourth quarter, students will have composed 25-30 pages of revised academic writing.

American Literature

1 Credit
Grade 11
Prerequisite: Successful completion of grade 9 and 10 English course requirements.

This course, which is open to students in grade eleven, is designed to provide extensive preparation for students preparing to take a college level English course during their senior year. The course is designed for students who need additional preparation in areas including close reading, critical thinking, literary analysis and the writing process. The course will also prepare students for the SAT exam that serves as a graduation requirement for all students. The course will include American fiction and non-fiction titles including but not limited to Dead Fathers' Club, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Great Gatsby, Escape from Camp 14, Walden on Wheels, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and a selection of short stories.

British Literature - Hall Only

1 Credit
Grade 11
Prerequisite: none

British Literature focuses on a chronological and thematic study of British authors and their cultural influences. All literary genres are included: the epic through the Anglo-Saxon epic poem, Beowulf, the verse narrative through a study of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Shakespeare’s plays, the classic novel, the modem novel, poetry, short stories, and essays. Development of the English language is also studied from the time of Beowulf through the present. Students examine important historical events and the cultural influence of the age during which each writer lived. Students are actively involved in all areas of the language arts. The course includes expository and creative writing, portfolio development, class lectures and discussion, and a demanding reading schedule.

Creative Writing - Hall Only

.5 Credit
Grade 12

Creative Writing is a one-semester elective offered to students who wish to enrich and extend their writing ability. Creative Writing takes an ambitious and broad view of writing. Students are encouraged to try their hand at poetry, personal essay, review, feature, and short story. Beyond the traditional creative writing products, however, students will also be exposed to creative approaches to writing standard academic and career expository compositions, such as analysis and narrative report.

English 9, English 9 Honors

1 Credit
Grade 9

English 9 is primarily concerned with extending students' language skills through reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Students are required to practice basic expository writing, to participate in purposeful reading, and to engage actively in class discussions. Emphasis is also given to reader response and development of a writing portfolio. Throughout the course there is a strong emphasis on spelling, vocabulary development, and the use of standard written English. The literary genres of non-fiction, poetry, drama, short story and novel are stressed. English 9 is offered at the Standard and Honors level.

English 10, English 10 Honors

1 Credit
Grade 10

English 10 is primarily concerned with the development of reading comprehension, critical thinking, and expository and narrative writing skills in order to prepare students for the elective program. An emphasis will also be placed on vocabulary development and standard written English. The course emphasizes American literature and contemporary titles have been added to the curriculum. As with any English course, students prepare and submit portfolios. English 10 is offered at the Standard and Honors level.

Humanities - Conard Only

1 Credit
Grade 12

Humanities introduce students to the development of world civilizations through literature, art, architecture, government, religion, music, and philosophy. By understanding the fundamental questions that humans ponder and examining choices that humans make, students become aware of the similarities and differences among cultures and identify the positive and negative aspects of human nature. Because this is a senior course that is preparing students for college, the reading and writing expectations are demanding and challenging. As members of the class, students are also expected to participate positively in class on a regular basis. Humanities is the perfect place to question, think, share and articulate ideas. Students read a number of core as well as supplemental readings.

Journalism - Hall Only

.5 Credit
Grade 12

Journalism is an elective designed for seniors with strong writing skills and an interest in working on the school news website. In this course, students learn various newsgathering techniques; write types of copy; and study local, state, and national publications. Students are expected to submit articles for publication.

Women's Literature - Conard Only

1 Credit
Grade 12

This course focuses on the contribution of women authors from diverse eras and cultures. Students will read non-fiction, poetry, prose, drama, and novels from the different phases of Women's Literature: the FEMININE (1840-1880), the FEMINIST (1880-1920) and the FEMALE (1920-present). Students will use literature from each time period to deconstruct preexisting ideas about gender in society and families through identifying the stereotypes and controversial ideas of feminism throughout history.

This course takes a thematic approach with unit topics such as "Silence vs. Voice," "Resistance vs. Transformation," "Radical Rebellions," and "No Identity Left Behind." This course allows students to reinforce or challenge their current assumptions about what it means to be a "woman" or "man." Major course readings include The Color Purple, The Bell Jar, Their Eyes Were Watching God, The Handmaid's Tale, and The Secret Life of Bees.

Students in this course may earn UConn credit for this course (English 1010: Seminar in Academic Writing) if they get a “C” or above on the writing projects throughout the course of the school year. The writing tasks will vary in length, but by the end of fourth quarter, students will have composed 25-30 pages of revised academic writing.

Multicultural Perspectives in American Literature - Hall Only

.5 Credit
Grade 12

Multicultural Perspectives in American Literature addresses America’s literary cultural diversity. Students explore America’s multiplicity of aesthetic, political, and social values and experiences through the eyes of our most diverse and best writers. Assigned readings include poetry, drama, short fiction, novels, autobiographical essays, and other visual media. Examples of possible texts include Autobiography of Malcolm XBlack Boy by Richard Wright, I Know Why the Caged Bird Singsby Maya Angelou, When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmerelda Santiago, Mona in the Promised Land by Gish Jen, and How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez.

Voices of Inspiration and Rebellion - Hall Only

1 Credit
Grade 12

Storytelling is how we profess love, command attention, persuade, plead, declare war, sell products, interview, make business proposals, challenge injustice, change lives, and alter history. Moving from ancient storytelling to the classical idea of rhetorical citizenship to the contemporary world and voices from spoken word poetry, students will analyze, compose, and present a broad range of texts: speeches, oration, drama, debate, storytelling, poetry, and video. Together we will read, listen, watch, write, collaborate, and speak. Throughout the year, students will build a portfolio of work. In a culminating capstone experience, students will tell their stories by conceiving, composing and presenting final projects based on their specific interests and areas of inquiry. Possible voices to be studied: Frederick Douglass, Shane Koyczan, Nelson Mandela, Sojourner Truth, Cicero, Louis CK, Shakespeare, David Foster Wallace, Tupac, Socrates, Ronald Reagan, Sarah Kay, Queen Elizabeth, Gandhi and Malala Yousafzai. This course is listed in both English and Theatre, with credit being awarded in English.

Women's Literature: Breaking the Silence - Hall Only

Credit .5
Grade 12

This semester course exposes students to representative works by and about women from historical, social, and literary perspectives. Students learn how gender roles develop and change and how women's views of themselves are reflected in their writing. Through various literary genres, students become able to identify motifs, themes, and stereotypical patterns in that literature.

The course begins with a breakdown of the radical rebellions of female authors during the phases of Women’s Literature—the feminine (1840-1880), the feminist (1880-1920) and the female (1920-present). The next unit emphasizes victims of sexualization with a narrow focus on sex-trafficking. Following, students focus on the use of “voice” and the benefits, risks, and consequences of using one’s voice vs. remaining silent. Finally, issues in mental health are explored and debated. The following works are read: The Color Purple, The Bell Jar, Sold, The Awakening (excerpts), and selected poetry and prose by Margaret Atwood, Mary Ann Evans, Fay Weldon, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Maya Angelou.

Women's Literature: Redefining the Roles - Hall Only

Credit .5
Grade 12

This semester course exposes students to representative works by and about women from historical, social, and literary perspectives. Students learn how gender roles develop and change and how women's views of themselves are reflected in their writing. Through various literary genres, students become able to identify motifs, themes, and stereotypical patterns in that literature.

This course begins with exploring how the concept of marriage has changed over time. From there, the plight of reproductive rights is explored. Next, a study of “family” and its complexity is evaluated through the lives of female characters. Finally, the evolving ideas and expectations of motherhood are questioned. The following works are read: Their Eyes Were Watching God, The Glass Castle, Handmaid’s Tale, and The Secret Life of Bees, and selected poetry and prose by Gwendolyn Brooks, Tillie Olsen, and Virginia Woolfe.

Note: Women's Literature: Breaking the Silence is not a pre-requisite for this semester class.

World Literature - Conard Only

1 Credit
Grade 12

World Literature focuses primarily on the works of world literature from 1920 to the present. Issues and concerns of the world that surrounds us provide the cultural background for the study of contemporary world authors. The student will continue to develop reading and writing skills in order to comprehend, interpret, and evaluate a variety of popular print and non-print texts including novels, short stories, poetry, graphic novels and other visual media. Genres covered are fiction (fantasy, science fiction, drama) and non-fiction (memoirs, journalism, essays.) Thematic focuses are diversity, identity, ethics and society.

World Literature - Hall Only

1 Credit
Grade 11

This course focuses on readings that will include important works that reflect multicultural diversity within the United States and throughout the world. Through four units of study (Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas), students will broaden their intercultural reading experience and deepen their awareness of the universal human concerns that are the basis of literary works. Each unit allows for close study of literary works, as well as consideration of historical and cultural context. The units focus not only on geographical regions but also on themes and literary forms that pertain to them. Students will come to grasp the relationship between local concerns and universal questions.

Writing: Argument and Persuasion - Hall Only

.5 Credit
Grade 12

This semester course focuses on expository writing, summary writing, defining a problem, researching skills, writing a problem solution essay, and developing an argument. This semester will also include the presentation of an argument. Students will read selected models of effective arguments, independent reading choices, and teacher-selected literary choices. The course will also include some creative writing opportunities (such as poetry, satire, and screenwriting) in a workshop setting. Students will keep a portfolio of their work and reflect upon their progress as writers.

Writing: Description and Narration - Hall Only

.5 Credit
Grade 12

This semester course focuses on developing effective writing process skills (planning, drafting, conferencing, revising, proofreading, and publishing). An emphasis will be placed on descriptive writing skills (such as using imagery, detail, tone, figurative language, syntax variety, and establishing a dominant impression) and narrative writing skills (such as foreshadowing, flashback, dialogue, and indirect characterization). Students will read models of essays, independent reading choices, and teacher literary selections as part of the process of developing their own writing expertise.  Students will also keep a portfolio of their work and reflect upon their progress as writers.