Course Descriptions

Ninth Grade Literature (English One)

Ninth graders read a wide range of literature including but not limited to:To Kill A Mockingbird, The Odyssey, Romeo and Juliet, Mythology and You, Lord of the Flies and Animal Farm.  We introduce critical reading skills such as annotation, vocabulary development, recognition of literary devices, and analysis of writing style for theme and tone. The basic structure of a paragraph and an essay are taught, and students are expected to learn how to write a personal narrative essay and an analytical, literature based essay.  Grammar, usage and mechanics are taught through revision of student writing and direct instruction. Some of the language concepts that we emphasize in ninth grade are: the parts of speech, the rules of punctuation, subject-verb agreement, comma splices and the parts of a sentence.

 

Tenth Grade Literature (English Two)

Tenth graders read a wide range of literature including but not limited to: The Joy Luck Club, Othello, Maus, The Color of Water, Raisin in the Sun, The Jungle, Yellow Raft In Blue Water andBless Me Ultima. We continue to build upon critical reading skills such as annotation, recognition of literary devices, vocabulary development, and an analysis of writing style for theme, tone, characterization and conflict. Students are expected to write more complex and developed analytical, literature-based essays, as well as expository essays.  MLA guidelines are introduced for citation and formatting. Grammar, usage and mechanics are taught through revision of student writing and direct instruction. Some of the language concepts that we emphasize in tenth grade are: syntactical structures, parallel structure, subject-verb agreement, the parts of speech (in more depth), clauses, and pronoun antecedent agreement.

 

Eleventh Grade American Literature

Eleventh graders read a wide range of literature including but not limited to: The Crucible, The Great Gatsby, Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath, Sula, and The Catcher in the Rye.We continue to build upon critical reading skills such as annotation, close reading, recognition of literary devices, vocabulary development, and an analysis of writing style for theme, tone, characterization, conflict, purpose, context, and audience. Students are expected to write more complex and developed analytical, literature-based essays, expository essays and persuasive essays. MLA guidelines are reinforced for citation and formatting. Grammar, usage and mechanics are taught through revision of student writing and direct instruction. Ninth and tenth grade grammar and usage concepts are reviewed. In addition, new concepts such as active versus passive voice and syntactical variety in student writing are introduced.

Additional English Classes:

 

Writing for Publication

The focus of this class will be on writing for publication. The main product will be the publication of the school newspaper, but we will explore other methods of publication as well, including ‘zines, blogs, and an art and literary journal.  Students are encouraged  to find their voices as writers, artists, journalists, and citizens, and are pushed  to experiment with a variety of forms.  Beyond writing for publication, students will examine the responsibility that the media have, look at questions of journalistic integrity, and explore the role that media have in shaping our society.  Students will learn how to write and think  as a journalist and gain knowledge about how a news publication operates.  The class is student-centered and students help decide the direction our publications will take. Returning students take on leadership and mentoring roles in the class (This class counts as an English credit, not an elective and it can be taken instead of or in addition to a standard English class in most grade levels).

 

Eleventh Grade Advanced Placement Language and Composition 

The art of rhetoric and argument is our central focus. We read fiction and non-fiction through the lens of rhetorical analysis which means we learn to deconstruct how an author achieves their purpose and appeals to their audience through their rhetorical choices. In turn, we practice these skills in the texts we author. In semester one, we investigate topics and questions such as: foundational principles of argument, how is fear a crucible, what is natural or synthetic, what is progress, and what is the role of civil disobedience in society? Some of the authors we read are Ursula K. Le Guin, Arthur Miller, Margret Atwood, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Barack Obama, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and J.D. Salinger.  In semester two, American issues of modernity such as alienation versus connection, and the dark side of individualism are explored through authors such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Truman Capote, George Orwell, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Stephen King and Tim O’Brien. This course has a weighted GPA grade and students are expected to take the AP exam called “English Language and Composition.”

 

12th Grade English Classes

Advanced Placement Literature and Composition


In this course, students will read a number of classic works reflective of the British and American Literature canon.  William Shakespeare, Mary Shelley, Toni Morrison, Ralph Ellison and other writers and poets offer striking insights into such universal themes as the quest for knowledge and truth, the desire to live morally and righteously, and the push for freedom.  We will explore the ways that literature expresses universal truths about the human experience, and we will participate in these conversations to make meaning of our lives here at the turn of the 21st century.  Concurrently, students will learn to move beyond simple comprehension of a text to an understanding of writing as craft (analyzing structure, style, and themes), and will incorporate these techniques into their own expository and interpretative essays in addition to their own creative writing.   Students will also read a number of outside reading books (with some choice) as a way to further explore these ideas as well as develop as lifelong readers.  Other highlights of the class include movie nights and film analysis, studying, writing, and performing poetry, Hamlet performances, college preparedness (even if you don’t pass the exam), and a tight-knit community whose members seek the welfare of the whole. This course culminates in and thus will seek to prepare you for the AP Literature and Composition test. This course meets all the curricular requirements as described in the AP English Course Description guide and has been approved by the Advanced Placement College Board.
 
CSU Expository Writing


The CSU Expository Reading and Writing course is a college preparatory class that focuses on interactive reading and writing processes using a rhetorical approach. This year will serve as an exchange of learning not just for the students but for the teacher as well. Together we will engage in a relentless focus on text paired with analytical dialogue over controversial issues to foster critical thinking. Paired with assignments and activities both inside and outside of class, students will be asked to think critically about the material and go beyond the literal word while discussing how the material intersects with our own realities and experiences. Focusing on non-fiction, informative texts to build academic literacy, students will develop the reading and writing skills necessary that will be expected of them in a college level English course. Through the variety of material students will be challenged to reflect on how they will grow individually and how they can create positive forces of change within their communities and larger society. Themes of study include but are not limited to “Life After High School,” “Rhetoric of the Op-Ed Page” (examining animal rights), and“Education vs School” (interrogating the purpose of education & the system of schooling). In addition, students will embark on their own research project on a topic of their choosing to conclude the year; the purpose is to demonstrate their ability to synthesize, analyze and engage in an intellectual thought process around varying perspectives regarding a topic.
 
English and European Literature


This course, a culmination of your study of high school English, is designed to teach the three domains of the English language—reading, writing, and speaking and listening—through the study of literature written by English and European writers. Though the emphasis is on English and European literature, you will demonstrate a well-rounded and sophisticated understanding of varied works, looking across genre, time, and culture and develop as life-long readers by reading books of your choosing in addition to required works. You will engage in class discussion and write poetry, journals, polished essays, and more.  You will be presented with many opportunities to think critically and philosophically and improve your communication skills.  Units of study and essential questions include but are not limited to “Allegory of the Cave” by Plato (What is Truth?), Shakespeare’s Hamlet (What does it mean to be free?), Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (What does it mean to be human?), and The Stranger by Albert Camus.  Other highlights include support writing the personal statement, Hamlet performances, study of poetry and poetry readings, film analysis, philosophical inquiry, and more.
 
Writing for Publication


The focus of this class is on writing for publication for the student-run school newspaper, Lincoln Log and is open to all 11th and 12th graders, and 10th graders in addition to their English 2 course.  You will write informational/explanatory pieces that are well-researched in the form of news and features writing; you will craft strong argument writing in the form of opinions, reviews, and editorials, and you will be encouraged to experiment with a variety of styles and voices, from objective news stories to more creative, colorful pieces.  You are writing for a very real audience, hence your writing must be strong, clear, concise, structured, and polished.  You will work to find your voices as writers, artists, journalists, and citizens and learn what it means to be a journalist, from conducting interviews to laying out using industry-standard software and contributing well-composed original art to stories.  We examine the responsibility the media have in shaping our society, and we look at questions of journalistic integrity and the importance of freedom of speech rights.  We read and discuss articles and current events, and you will read one long-form investigative journalism piece.  Other highlights of the course include a zine or blog project, podcasting field trip, and movies about the work of journalists.


 

Contact List

Avery Balasbas
balasbasa@sfusd.edu

Julian Byrns
byrnsj@sfusd.edu

Paul Cameli
camelip@sfusd.edu

William Cotter
cotterw@sfusd.edu

Bobby Crotwell
crotwellb@sfusd.edu

Deeana Datangel
datangeld@sfusd.edu

Jesse Davidson
davidsonj1@sfusd.edu

Christine Eng
engc@sfusd.edu

Eric Eroles
erolese@sfusd.edu

Sara Falls
fallss@sfusd.edu

Shamira Gratch
gratchs@sfusd.edu

Melani Lindow
lindowm@sfusd.edu

Mark Ruffolo
ruffolom@sfusd.edu

Samantha Sherman
shermans@sfusd.edu

Mckenna Taylor
taylorm@sfusd.edu

Beatrice Tesorero
tesorerob@sfusd.edu

Max Van Engers
vanengersm1@sfusd.edu

Elaine Walenta
walentae@sfusd.edu