ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS DEPARTMENTTo access individual teachers webpages, please click on their links to the left. Below are general course descriptions for the English Language Arts courses at HSPVA.English IThis course focuses on students’ writing for a variety of purposes and in a variety of modes as well as reading and analyzing selected texts from all genres of literature. Based on a curriculum that integrates both writing and reading concepts and skills, this course empowers students to use the writing process (prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing) as they write to learn about themselves, their world, and their print-rich environment. Students in English I read extensively, write responsively, listen critically, work cooperatively, and think independently. Students should expect to work no more than 1 hour per week outside of class.English I Pre-Advanced Placement (HADV)This course focuses on the close reading, analytical writing, and language skills that have immediate relevance for students across their current courses and that are most essential for their future work in high school, college, and careers. Texts take center stage in this classroom, where students engage in close, critical reading of a wide range of materials. The course trains the reader to observe the small details within a text to arrive at a deeper understanding of the whole. It also trains the writer to focus on crafting complex sentences as the foundation for writing to facilitate complex thinking and communicate ideas clearly. Areas of focus include: 1) reading closely, 2) valuing evidence, and 3) noticing language choices. This course is excellent for students who enjoy a more fast-paced, independent-reading environment where texts are analyzed and discussed in class. Students should expect to write at least one essay/research paper/analysis/creative piece per cycle.English IIThis course examines a variety of literary works from different countries and time periods and makes interconnections between literary analysis, reading comprehension, and writing skills. Students will write, revise and edit many of their compositions in a collaborative and cooperative learning mode. Research skills will be developed in greater depth.English II Pre-Advanced Placement (HADV)This course explores the human condition while students develop their analytical and critical reading skills through selected novels, poetry, essays, and short stories. Students will also develop their writing technique by studying experts in the craft while also utilizing a writer's workshop approach. This course will require students to conduct research, engage in class debates, and deliver oral presentations with the aid of multimedia resources.English IIIThis course is designed to encourage development in the areas of reading, speaking, listening, viewing, and writing with an emphasis on the American experience through the study of literature. It is important to realize that all these language processes are interrelated and can be developed most effectively as interdependent processes. The main objective of this course is to develop the students’ skill in these areas while ultimately growing them personally and intellectually in order to participate effectively and competently in all aspects of society. A syllabus will be provided to detail reading and writing assignments for each semester.Advanced Placement Language and Composition (AP Lang)Students in this introductory college-level rhetoric and composition class will learn how to closely and analytically read a variety of texts as they acquire and hone the skills needed to thrive in society as global citizen-scholars. These students will also learn how to critique and analyze these texts in a variety of written formats, including formal writing manifesting all stages of the recursive writing process, as well as informal writing completed on a timed basis in class. Featured authors include Bryan Stevenson, Flannery O’Connor, Brent Staples, Nicholas Kristof, Derek Walcott, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Tracy Kidder, Edwidge Danticat, Frederick Douglass, Malcolm X, Jamaica Kincaid, Jon Krakauer, Henry David Thoureau, Ann Fadiman, and Katherine Boo. Students prepare for the AP English Language and Composition Exam and may be granted advanced placement, college credit, or both.English IV
English IV focuses on close readings, discussions, and writing assignments that center on the tools of author’s craft in connection with the big ideas of character, setting, structure, narration, and literary argumentation. Reading assignments will date from pre-20th century works to present-day. In addition to short story, non-fiction, poetry, and media studies, anchor texts include—Maya Angelou’s memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Delia Owens’s novel Where the Crawdads Sing, William Shakespeare’s drama The Tragedy of Macbeth, and Andrew Sean Greer’s 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Less.Advanced Placement Literature and Composition (AP Lit)The AP English Literature and Composition course focuses on reading, analyzing, and writing about imaginative literature (fiction, poetry, drama) from various periods. Students engage in close reading and critical analysis of imaginative literature to deepen their understanding of the ways writers use language to provide both meaning and pleasure. As they read, students consider a work’s structure, style, and themes, as well as its use of figurative language, imagery, and symbolism. Writing assignments include expository, analytical, and argumentative essays that require students to analyze and interpret literary works. The focus of this course is preparation for successful completion of the AP Exam on May 4.