Eight semesters required
[Unless otherwise noted, all academic courses in this department meet both CSU and UC entrance requirements]                                                                                                                             

At Notre Dame, English is required for four years.  Literature-based English courses offer student-centered classrooms that balance active discussion and cooperative learning with short lectures and hands-on activities.  Each level includes required core readings.  An instructor may supplement these with works from a list of approved texts, thereby allowing for variation and flexibility in the individual classroom.  The curriculum provides frequent opportunities for building vocabulary as well as developing oral and written skills. The program promotes learning outside the classroom and includes field trips to relevant stage and cinema productions, art exhibits, and local lectures. Students who receive below a “C” in their core English classes and who wish to maintain their eligibility for admission to a four year college are encouraged to take a UC approved summer school class. Summer reading, assigned in June, is required at each grade level.

College Prep Classes

Honors & AP Classes

#1010 ENGLISH I - THE SELF WITHIN THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY
10 credits - Grade 9

English I provides students with skills in basic literary analysis, vocabulary building, research and fundamental composition. Emphasis is placed on understanding literary concepts such as irony, symbolism, motif, theme, characterization and conflict. Concurrently, students practice the basics of successful expository and narrative writing.  These units focus on properly structuring multi-paragraph essays, making optimum use of transitions and effectively defending a thesis statement. First semester, cross-curricular support in research techniques is provided for Woman’s Place Project. Second semester, students again make use of these skills for a short literary research project. Critical thinking, oral expression and collaborative study are rigorously encouraged. The themes covered at this level include identity and membership, universe of obligation, coming of age, the hero within, and one’s relationship with the world, as experienced through the Education for Justice and Leadership integrated curriculum. All students keep an e-portfolio for their work.

#1020 ENGLISH II - HUMAN IDENTITY IN A WORLD OF CONFORMITY AND REBELLION; UTOPIAS AND DYSTOPIAS; THE BEHAVIOR BEHIND THE HOLOCAUST
10 credits -  Grade 10
Prerequisite:  English I

The sophomore year assumes an understanding of the fundamental principles of literary analysis and composition skills introduced in English I.  In English II, students become proficient in literary analysis, as well as expository and persuasive writing. In addition, the curriculum stresses vocabulary building, critical thinking and oral expression.  Students are encouraged to participate actively in class discussions. The 10th grade curriculum includes an interdisciplinary study of human behavior that gives rise to catastrophic events like the Holocaust.  The course focuses on themes such as identity, conformity, rebellion, inclusion/exclusion of groups and utopias/dystopias.  Cross-curricular connections will be made throughout the year through assessments and discussions with world history and religious studies classes. Racism, prejudice and anti-semitism are analyzed through literature, essays and discussion.  Timed writings, a research paper and frequent unit essays/tests are required. All students keep an e-portfolio of their work.

#1040 ENGLISH III  THE AMERICAN DREAM – 1620 TO PRESENT                     
10 credits - Grade 11
Prerequisite:  English II 

The 11th grade study of American literature assumes competency in literary analysis and composition to allow for the study of more advanced literature and the development of the student’s personal style and voice in writing.  Vocabulary building, unit assignments, timed writing and a research project are required. Major themes focus on the pursuit of the American Dream, the formation of the American character and one’s place within an evolving American culture.  A major research paper related to The American Dream completes the study.  A cross-curricular field trip to Angel Island provides experiential learning to support classroom work. All students keep an e-portfolio of their work.

The English department strongly recommends that seniors choosing electives select courses that reflect a breadth of interest and knowledge in the field of English.  Texts are listed here to help seniors in their selection.  The department retains the right to limit the number of available sections of each course. In 2019-20, senior electives will include the following:

#1001 THE VICTORIAN SECRET: 19th CENTURY BRITISH NOVELS                  
5 credits -  Grade 12
Prerequisite:  English III

The purpose of this one-semester senior course is for students to explore a selection of the most significant works of the Regency and Victorian eras. Students will examine how and why the novel came to dominate the literary world, the relationship between narrative and social reality (issues of class and gender), the application of psychological realism to the portrayal of characters, and the form and aesthetics of the novel and what changes occur over the course of the century.  The course will include an in-depth examination of several novels including Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, Tess of the D’Urbervilles and Moonstone.  During the study of each of these novels, students will research the historical context and social norms/changes of the period through non-fiction written during that period.  Unit essays, unit tests and a semester project are required.

#1008 INTEGRATING CULTURE, VOICE, AND IDENTITY                                      
5 credits - Grade 12
Prerequisite:  English III

The purpose of this course is for students to explore authors who write at the intersection of cultures. Students will examine what it means to be a hyphenated or labeled individual and what it means to live at a cultural crossroad. Through the study of vocabulary terms, reading of fictional novels and non-fiction primary sources, poetry, short stories, memoirs, autobiographies and graphic novels, the viewing of film, and the composition of analytical essays, students will discover how one defines and claims one’s own identity or what happens when someone else defines one’s identity. Students will synthesize research and knowledge gained from reading, viewing, and discussion to construct written analyses and apply the information during final assessments.  Readings will include Barefoot Heart, The Namesake, Color of Water, and The Joy Luck Club among others.

#1046 MONSTERS: OUR DARK MIRROR                                                        
5 credits - Grade 12
Prerequisite:  English III

This semester course explores the societal concept of monsters, both literal and figurative, throughout literature, including classical monsters like Frankenstein’s creature and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. This course is an intensive writing, text-based, course aimed at enriching the experience of textual literary study and expository, critical and analytical writing. Using major works of fiction, short stories, poetry and nonfiction, students will contemplate the role monsters have in the development of humankind and how monsters have changed as the fears of society change. Students will explore how authors subvert the traditional presentation of heroes by presenting narratives of the antihero and will analyze the expectation of monster as the other. 

#1049 SCIENCE FICTION                                                                 
5 credits - Grade 12
Prerequisite:  English III

Science fiction writers envision the effects of environmental, technical, medical and psychological changes upon human beings.  Their visions predict and question, provoke and inspire. In this course, students will read Do Androids Dream of Sheep?, The Left Hand of Darkness, Ender’s Game and Watchmen. Students will read and discuss four novels in some cases supplemented by film. They will also write at least three expository essays and several shorter creative pieces.

Honors Courses

Honors classes are offered at each level and are designed for the student who excels in English. Except for the senior level, the core material in these classes is the same as the college-preparatory courses offered; however, at the honors level the pace is quicker and more intense, and the course of study is enhanced with additional works of literature. Placement into the honors program is based on academic performance in the humanities, writing samples and teacher recommendation. Students in the honors program must have at least an 82.5% at the end of the first semester to qualify for the next level. Students in regular college preparatory classes must have a 92.5% at the end of the semester to apply to the program.

Prerequisites for Honors and AP Courses in English

Course being applied for: Grades must be maintained throughout the year

English II Honors

         or

English Language and Composition AP

         or

English Literature and Composition AP

  • Students currently in the Honors English Program – with a grade of 85% or higher must submit an application to remain in the program.

 

  • Students currently in the Honors English Program – with a grade percentage between 84.9% & 82.5% at the end of the first semester must retest and interview successfully to stay in the program.

 

  • Students currently in the Honors English Program – with grades lower than 82.5% at the end of the 1st or 2nd semester are not eligible for honors the following year without department approval.

 

  • Students in regular college prep classes must have a 90% at the end of the first semester to apply to the program.  The process involves an application, a review of writing, and teacher recommendation.

 

#1013 ENGLISH I HONORS - THE SELF WITHIN THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY
10 credits - Grade 9
Prerequisite:  see Prerequisites for Honors Courses in English 

English I Honors is designed for students who have demonstrated exceptional reading and composition skills. Emphasis is placed on literary analysis, critical thinking, development of strong voice and style, and mastering the elements of expository and narrative writing.  During the first semester, cross-curricular support in research techniques is provided for the Woman’s Place Project. Students make use of these skills for literary research components to projects throughout the year. Critical thinking, oral expression, and collaborative study are rigorously encouraged. In their work with fiction, drama, poetry, and non-fictional essays students explore the themes of identity and membership, universe of obligation, social justice, and the concepts of the hero within and the hero’s journey as experienced through the Education for Justice and Leadership integrated curriculum. All students keep an e-portfolio for their work.

#1055 ENGLISH II HONORS - IDENTITY: CONFORMITY AND REBELLION; UTOPIAS/ DYSTOPIAS; THE PSYCHOLOGY BEHIND THE HOLOCAUST       
10 credits - Grade 10
Prerequisite: see Prerequisites for Honors Courses in English 

English II Honors assumes competency in critical thinking, literary analysis and expository writing skills. Advanced skills in style, voice and persuasive composition are mastered. The 10th grade curriculum includes an interdisciplinary study of the human behavior that gives rise to catastrophic events like the Holocaust. Cross-curricular connections will be made throughout the year with world history and religious studies classes. Films supplement the literature.  Essays, unit tests and a research paper are required.  All students keep an e-portfolio of their work.

#1045 ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND COMPOSITION AP -  THE VOICE OF AMERICA FROM 1620 TO THE PRESENT
10 credits - Grade 11
Prerequisite:  see Prerequisites for Honors Courses in English 
Fee: Advanced Placement Exam 

In this Advanced Placement course, students read a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction texts, examine the thematic, literary, and rhetorical techniques employed by the writers, and effectively communicate their understanding of these elements both orally and in writing.  In preparation for the rigors of college-level courses, extensive time is devoted to developing critical reading strategies for primary and secondary source materials, always seeking to determine what a writer’s stylistic and linguistic choices reveal about his or her audience, purpose, persona, and message. Specifically, the course readings allow for the study of language itself—diction, varying sentence structures, logical organization of ideas, the elements of classical rhetoric, controlling tone, and achieving and maintaining voice. In addition, students will be required to define and explore different strategies used by orators and to apply these techniques to their oral assignments, including formal speeches, dramatic interpretations and Socratic seminars. Readings range from early American prose writing (Puritans and Revolutionary era writing) through contemporary fiction and non-fiction. A cross-curricular field trip to Angel Island provides experiential learning to support classroom work.

#1006 ENGLISH LITERATURE AND COMPOSITION AP WORLD LITERATURE AND CRITICAL THINKING
10 credits - Grade 12
Prerequisite:  see Prerequisites for Honors Courses in English 
Fee: Advanced Placement Exam 

AP Literature is a senior-year course that deepens and challenges students in their skills of reading and writing about literature. The course stresses critical thinking about genre, theme, style, philosophy and history, focusing on British, American and world literature and including fiction, drama, poetry, expository prose and literary criticism. Readings range from Chaucer and Shakespeare to Pirandello, Conrad and Morrison. Assignments emphasize the maturation and refinement of writing skills and voice at a level equivalent to composition assignments at the freshman college level.