The English curriculum at Spartanburg Day School applies current ideas about learning to prepare students for the college experience. Research supports these instructional methods as the most effective pedagogical foundation for developing critical thinking and reasoning skills. Seminar style discussions and intensive individualized instruction are critical characteristics of the English curriculum.
- English 9
- English 10
- English 11 Honors
- English 11: AP Language & Composition
- English 12 / AP English 12
- Creative Writing
In this course, students delve into the three main genres of literature: fiction, poetry, and drama. Emphasis is placed not only on understanding the basics of each genre but also on learning strategies for “accessing” a text. Extensive practice with expository and analytical prose serves as the foundation of the writing curriculum, while creative writing exercises help students better understand the genres they are studying. Grammar and syntax are taught at this level, with the goal of grounding the students in a specific vocabulary for understanding the English language and editing their own writing. Basic literary devices and figures of speech are also reviewed and taught.
English 10 commences with an introduction to American literature and its impact on modern literature and culture. The students will acquire an understanding of the concepts that define the major literary periods and build a foundation for advanced studies. The reading assignments span many genres, including poetry, novel, drama, memoir and essay. Skills such as reading comprehension, analytical thinking and writing, grammatical/mechanical applications, composition, and knowledge of vocabulary will be stressed. Student analysis will also incorporate discussion of major literary archetypes and literary criticism perspectives. Continued writing of both Five Paragraph and AP style analytical essays will be preparation for AP courses and future collegiate studies. Specific strategies will be practiced to improve PSAT, SAT, and ACT scores. Separate journals will be kept for vocabulary and creative writing exercises.
This course, a survey in American literature (novels, poems, and plays), is designed to prepare students for AP English and other college-level English courses. In our readings, we will emphasize the diversity of thought and experience characteristic of American literature. We will also discuss each text as both a product of its time and as a response to previous literature – what Harold Bloom has called the “anxiety of influence.” As in all literature classes, we will use these texts to practice reading, interpreting, and critiquing. Some of the literary figures to be studied include Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Arthur Miller and Toni Morrison. Students will write a variety of analytical essays in order to develop their ability to express and to defend thoughtful opinions.
AP Language and Composition examines the art of rhetoric. Students will learn that "everything is an argument." The course is diverse in its definition of the ways arguments are made and will use criteria extending back to ancient Greece as a means of analyzing rhetoric. The course requires students to think critically at the highest level as they investigate how an argument is structured. Students will learn to apply rhetorical strategies in their own argumentative essays as they write numerous formal and informal essays. Debate and discussion will also be used as vehicles for students to practice creating convincing arguments using a variety of sources. Required summer reading: Nickel and Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich's non-fiction exploration of the struggles of low-wage workers in America. It is structured as an experiment to see if a well-educated woman can survive in a low-wage job for a period of months. This book employs multiple rhetorical strategies on every page. We will begin the year analyzing how these strategies function.
This course furthers students’ reading, writing, speaking, listening and critical-thinking skills through intensive, college-level close readings, discussions and analytical essays. Students will become familiar with a diverse set of genres and time periods through the study of classical and contemporary authors such as William Shakespeare, James Joyce, Charlotte Bronte, William Faulkner and Lorraine Hansberry. Through both creative and analytical writings, students will increase their ability to explain their thoughts clearly and intelligently. Students who want to take the AP English literature and composition examination receive additional instruction to prepare them for that test.
Utilizing the creativity concepts taught by Shelley Berc and Alejandro Fogel, Founders and Directors of the Creativity Workshop and former college professors of English, the course of Creative Writing will stress the importance of process over product to stimulate the full spectrum of imagination. Freedom and focus will go hand- in- hand back and forth between writing, oral story-telling, and visual imagery. Memoir and free-form drawing will coexist in a non-competitive environment. Every morning class will begin with ten to twelve minutes of guided deep breathing to facilitate a mood that creativity is play. Grading will be determined by a rubric of the students' own creation. Student work will be displayed in both an exhibit and included in The Griffin, our literary magazine. Most of all it will be fun, relaxing, and unlike anything the students may have previously experienced.