Ninth-grade English focuses on analytical and persuasive writing, with an emphasis on process and structure. Instruction is personalized and process-oriented. Composition is broken down into concrete steps: outlining, crafting an argument, selecting supporting evidence, incorporating text, analyzing evidence, and refining mechanics. Through repetition and practice, students hone their ability to communicate and persuade through their use of the written word. In conjunction with traditional writing structures, students will also continue to develop their facility with grammar skills and concepts, largely on an individual and as-needed basis, though some lessons will be designed for the entire class. Creative writing is also explored. Students will engage in a comprehensive multi-genre writing project, and they will have opportunities to submit their writing to various contests and publications throughout the school year. Students keep a Writer’s Notebook that is used for in-class activities and on-demand writing in response to various prompts; this Notebook also serves as a vehicle for class participation in a different modality.
Students read ancient and modern literature in various genres--fiction, non-fiction, graphic novel, poetry, and drama--and they are encouraged to read actively by annotating and engaging in reflection as they progress through texts. Independent reading is also encouraged. Using the Vocabulary from ClassicalRoots book, students will learn word attack skills, roots/prefixes, and develop their skills to decode unfamiliar words based on context; they will also study challenging vocabulary from the texts they read.
Students will also have the opportunity to participate in a Justice Project, as the history and English teams partner together, which will involve small-group work on a topic of interest. As part of this experience, students will engage in several deliverable assignments in their small groups, including research, reading, writing an op-ed, creating a public service announcement, and delivering a lesson to younger students on their growing areas of expertise.
Students explore the concept of journey, whether one’s own or those discovered in literature and world events. The notion of journey, in life, language, ideas and humanity--individually and culturally--is central to the course, particularly as it reflects the diverse lenses through which all individuals view and experience--and, ultimately, impact--the world.
Students will explore the following guiding questions throughout the year:
Who am I? Who or what determines my identity? How does identity impact agency?
How can one person make a difference in the world? Do the actions of a single person matter?
What is the importance of understanding the concept of “other” as it relates to inclusion and exclusion, both in our personal lives and historically? And how does this understanding impact our own participation in society?
How does the past allow us to shape the future? How can we use tragedy for hope or good?
Texts include (and are subject to adjustment): The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Mark Haddon); Thirteen Reasons Why (Jay Asher); Gilgamesh (trans. Herbert Mason); Antigone (Sophocles); The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald); Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi); Night (Elie Wiesel); Vocabulary from Classical Roots (Fifer/Flowers); Grammar Revolution--Diagram It!