ENGLISH COURSES

ENGLISH 9

Students explore what it means to be a close reader and an attentive writer. Course readings from the ancient world allow the student to examine the oldest of literary themes and discover how those common motifs still resonate throughout contemporary life. In cultivating close reading skills, the course trains the student to be receptive to important details and then to correlate those details with the larger issues of a literary work and also his or her own basic humanness. Major writings include persuasive essays and a research paper. Grammar studies emphasize correct usage and review of major errors, often within the context of the student's own writing. In addition, students pursue a systematic study of vocabulary. TEXTS MAY INCLUDE: The Norton Anthology of Western Literature, Epic of Gilgamesh, The Book of Job, Julius Caesar, A Pocket Style Manual, and Vocabulary Workshop: Level E.


ENGLISH 10

This course is designed to cultivate and support enjoyment of reading, to improve the ability to analyze literature critically, and to reinforce writing skills. Course readings come from European literature of the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance to the twentieth century, with the major emphasis on British literature. Instruction focuses on writing cohesive essays in different rhetorical modes; research essays hone students’ documentation skills. Students read novels, poetry, and plays selected from different eras and discuss the writers’ varied literary strategies and devices. English 10 continues the prior year’s emphasis on the use of good grammar in writing and on building an effective vocabulary. TEXTS MAY INCLUDE: The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Major Authors, The Norton Anthology of Western Literature, 1984, Hamlet, A Pocket Style Manual, Vocabulary Workshop Level F, and a poetry collection.


ENGLISH 10 HONORS

Application and departmental approval required

Students embark on an accelerated, in-depth study of selected works of European literature from the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance to the twentieth century, with the major focus on British literature. This course asks students to consider the genres of the works they read and analyze literary strategies and devices of the writers they study. As in English 10, instruction also focuses on writing cohesive essays in different rhetorical modes; research essays hone students’ documentation skills. Competence in the use of appropriate grammar and vocabulary building continue to be emphasized. TEXTS MAY INCLUDE: The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Major Authors, The Norton Anthology of Western Literature, 1984, Hamlet, A Pocket Style Manual, Vocabulary Workshop: Level F, and a poetry collection.


ENGLISH 11

Students read and explore selected works of American writing from the religious poetry of the Colonial period to the varied voices of postmodernism. Students become aware of important ideological and philosophical concerns, historical contexts, and basic themes. Work in composition and rhetoric reinforces basic writing skills, especially in the critical analysis of selected texts. Emphasis is placed on grammar, literary devices, evaluation of source material and research documentation. TEXTS MAY INCLUDE: The Great Gatsby, Huckleberry Finn, The Norton Anthology of American Literature, A Pocket Style Manual, and Vocabulary Workshop: Level G.


ENGLISH 11 HONORS

Application and departmental approval required

This course is an accelerated, in-depth study of selected works of American writing from the religious poetry of the Colonial period to the varied voices of postmodernism. Students become aware of important ideological and philosophical concerns, historical contexts, and basic themes. Work in composition and rhetoric reinforces an aim for mastery in basic writing skills, especially in the critical analysis of selected texts. Emphasis is placed on grammar, literary devices, evaluation of source material and research documentation. Special importance is placed on student-led reports and projects. TEXTS MAY INCLUDE: The Norton Anthology of American Literature, The Great Gatsby, Huckleberry Finn, A Pocket Style Manual, and Vocabulary Workshop: Level G.


AP ENGLISH 11 - LANGUAGE AND COMPOSITION

Application and departmental approval required

The purpose of this course is to help students "write effectively and confidently in their college courses and across the curriculum and in their professional and personal lives." Students will read and carefully analyze a broad and challenging range of nonfiction prose selections in order to facilitate their understanding of rhetoric and language. Through close reading of both American fiction and nonfiction, students will develop their abilities to read critically, think analytically and write with an understanding of purpose, audience, syntax and tone.
Since all readings in the course, both nonfiction and fiction, are by mostly American authors, the overall theme of the class is to achieve an understanding of what it means to be an American. What specific traits define the American character? Using De Toqueville's "What is an American?", Frederick Jackson Turner's 1893 Frontier Thesis, and historian David Potter's People of Plenty as our starting points, students will spend the year researching this question. In the fourth quarter, students will write a documented research essay in which they set forth their own argument about what identifies fiction, nonfiction and art as distinctly American. Other major texts include Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, McCourt's Angela's Ashes, Mark Twain's Huck Finn, and Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.


SENIOR SEMINAR IN ENGLISH

In this class students enjoy the seminar setting with small class sizes and a discussion-based and project-driven curriculum designed to challenge and prepare them for college. Readings, largely from twentieth century and contemporary writers, encourage students to think about the world around them and include different cultural perspectives. Writing assignments vary from personal essays to researched essays, and projects incorporate collaborative work and class presentations. Students continue to hone editing skills, increase their vocabularies with systematic study, and analyze literature in the major genres of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and drama. The year culminates with each student producing a life inventory multi-media project that is presented to the class. TEXTS MAY INCLUDE: the anthology titled Literature: The Human Experience, Death of a Salesman, Unaccustomed Earth, The Things They Carried, Slaughterhouse-Five, A Pocket Style Manual, and Vocabulary Workshop, Level H.


AP ENGLISH 12 - LITERATURE

Application and departmental approval required

AP English 12 is designed to prepare senior students for college-level work by developing their ability to experience, interpret and evaluate literature. Though the emphasis is on Southern works of the 20th century, students encounter texts of various eras and national origins. Elements for analysis include style, structure, theme, tone, diction, concrete imagery, figurative language, and symbolism. This course demands extensive reading, active class participation, and diverse critical and evaluative writing and includes individual and collective research projects. TEXTS MAY INCLUDE: the anthology titled Literature: The Human Experience, As I Lay Dying, Slaughterhouse-Five, Franny and Zooey, Wise Blood, The Moviegoer, A Pocket Style Manual, and Vocabulary Workshop, Level H.


CREATIVE WRITING

Fall semester only; Juniors and seniors only

This course develops students’ abilities as creative writers through composing and work-shopping a number of short stories and poems, and a one-act play. Class discussion focuses on how to better craft particular works and includes candid and constructive peer critique. Discussions also consider the role of the artist, the nature of contemporary literary works, and the nature of the process by which writers work. The course demands prolific writing and reading and culminates in a portfolio of the semester’s work. TEXTS MAY INCLUDE: Creative Writing: Four Genres in Brief and A Pocket Style Manual.


ETYMOLOGY: THE STORY OF WORDS

Fall semester only; Juniors and seniors only

Open to seniors first and then juniors depending on availability, this one semester class will study the history of the English language. Beginning with pre-fixes and suffixes, the class will continue understanding the words we use by examining word roots and idioms. The class will include units on foreign phrases, mythological words, words that Shakespeare invented and a unit on food, fashion, and color. Texts will include myths, Aesop’s fables, Chaucer’s Nun’s Priest’s Tale, some Emily Dickinson poetry, Hemingway’s The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Sylvia Plath’s children’s story the Bed Book and other sources of word creativity which illustrate the importance of denotation, connotation and tone.


FILM STUDIES

Spring semester only; Juniors and seniors only

Students examine the history of film and fundamental elements of filmmaking, including photography, mise-en-scene, camera movement, editing, sound, acting, drama, narratology, and theory. Important American and European films of the 20th century are viewed and analyzed individually in journals and collectively in discussion. Requirements include the critical analysis of an approved film chosen by the student. TEXTS MAY INCLUDE: Understanding Movies and A Pocket Style Manual.


PHILOSOPHY: JOURNEY OF THE HERO

Seniors only

In this one semester course for seniors students will use Victor Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning to investigate their feelings about life’s purpose. Excerpts from Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, Greek Mythology, the Bible, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edgar Allan Poe, and Bob Dylan will provide historical and cultural definitions of goodness, truth and beauty and enable students to articulate their own understanding of these universal values. This course is designed to help students set life goals and become more thoughtful individuals. Requirements are outside reading, class presentations, and a creative final project.


MSON CREATIVE NONFICTION WORKSHOP

Spring semester only; Juniors and seniors only

In this semester-long course, students will immerse themselves in what’s commonly known as the fourth genre, creative nonfiction. Members of the workshop will learn the traditions in which they work through reading essays as artists, as writers. Time will be spent learning the writer's vocabulary and, in turn, the writer's craft. Central to this process is cultivating an understanding of what makes a piece of nonfiction "work" as a successful, compelling piece of writing.


MSON POETRY WORKSHOP

Fall semester only; Juniors and seniors only

In this semester-long course, students will learn the history and craft of poetic forms like the sonnet, pantoum, villanelle, ghazal, dramatic monologue, rondeau, and more. Through studying canonical and contemporary texts, students will build a knowledge base of the tradition in which they, as emerging poets, work. The primary focus of the course is the development of each student’s voice as a poet—honing his or her craft through learning by making. Good writers are, first, great readers. To bolster students' knowledge bases, we will read a selection of primarily American poetry to see the evolution of a particular form. T.S. Eliot says in his essay “Tradition and the Individual Talent,” “No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists.” The sonnet of Petrarch and Shakespeare meets the digital age in our virtual space.


MSON PHILOSOPHY IN POP CULTURE

Fall semester only; Juniors and seniors only

Have you ever had a realistic dream that you were sure was true and then work up confused? How do you know that you are not in the Matrix? What is real and what is not? This course will investigate the nature of existence. It will combine classic philosophic works, like Descartes, with contemporary movies like The Matrix and Inception, to contemplate what it is to exist and what the meaning of life is or should be.


South Campus • Pre-K3 to 4th grade • 4120 Old Canton Road • Jackson, MS 39216 • 601-987-9300
North Campus • Grades 5 to 12 • 370 Old Agency Road • Ridgeland, MS 39157 • 601-853-6000

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