Sophomore English

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Full year

Sophomore English is a British literature course designed to develop analytical and persuasive skills and impart the vocabulary necessary for literary analysis. Dangarembga's Nervous Conditions and a survey of post-colonial short stories begin the year’s study. Winter is devoted to epic poetry, and spring to lyric poetry and to drama. Readings include BeowulfThe Canterbury Tales, Romantic poetry, a Shakespeare play, and Fugard's Master Harold and the Boys. Students write analytical and narrative essays, which they generate through a collaborative process that includes multiple drafts, peer editing, and metacritical reflection. They give two a formal presentation of a lyric poem based on their essays, and team teach a class in the Spring. Students memorize and recite a post-colonial poem, “Caedmon’s Hymn,” the School Chapter, the opening lines of The Canterbury Tales, and lyric poetry. Class traditions include Chaucer Day, the Winter’s Tale, and the Sophomore Epistolary Project.


Unit Essential Questions Content Skills and Processes Assessment Resources Multicultural Dimension
Fall Semester - English 10
  • What persuasive strategies do analytical or narrative writing, peer edits, presentations, test responses or recitations entail?
  • What does "colonial" mean? What does "post-colonial" mean?
  • How do questions of personal and national identity play out in the course texts?
  • Lyric poetry: selected post-colonial poems and Romantic Poetry, "Caedmon's Hymn"  
  • Epic poetry: Beowulf
  • Narrative poetry: The Canterbury Tales
  • Prose narrative: post-colonial short stories, Tsitsi Dangarembga's The Nervous Conditions
  • Drama: Shakespeare Play and Fugard's Master Harold and the Boys
  • Review of active reading, class note-taking, and test-taking
  • Dramatic recitation, including textual fidelity, eye contact, poise, and expressive delivery
  • Development of literary vocabulary for analysis of prose, lyric, narrative and epic poetry
  • Peer review and metacritical self-review for both content and style
  • Tenable argument, tracing the movement from general claim to specific evidence
  • Collaboration in class discussion and writing process
  • Composition of narrative essays: a first-person account of a moment of embarassment, and the annual Winter's Tale, an illustrated story for a first- and second-grade audience
  • Composition of an original lyric poem
  • Composition of critical essays: such as analyzing a short story, Beowulf, Shakespeare play
  • Essays, assessed for both content and style in individual conferences
  • Tests on literature emphasizing reading comprehension, applied knowledge of literary terminology, analytical skills, and ability to synthesize
  • Recitations of poetry, assessed for dramatic interpretation and textual fidelity
  • Presentation of student's original interpretation of a Romantic lyric poem and collaborative teaching assignments in the spring
  • Process and preparation: timeliness, thoroughness
  • Participation and collaborative skills
  •  Dropbox, Google Docs Collection
  • In-house guides, including "Style is How You Say What You Say," "How to Study English at Catlin Gabel," "Avoiding Plagiarism," "Introduction to MLA Manuscript Format," "Peer Reviewing Narrative Drafts," "Conventions of the Epic," and "Stylistic Characteristics of Beowulf."
  • SAT-prep vocabulary from Vocabulary Workshop, Level 5
  • On-line Oxford English Dictionary
  • OWL: Purdue's on-line writing lab

Tsitsi Dangarembga's The Nervous Conditions, post-colonial poems and short stories and Fugard's Master Harold and the Boys allow for wide-ranging discussions of race and gender. All year, questions about the formation of identity --public and private, and of what it means to belong to the "center," or to feel "marginalized" will direct our discussions. Beowulf, Shakespeare, and The Canterbury Tales all lend themselves to discussions about the politics of class, gender, and ethnicity.

Spring Semester - English 10

See Fall Semester



see Fall Semester