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Walnut Hill School for the Arts

English Program & Faculty


All English classes are designed around a program of core skills and habits, including close reading, critical thinking, analytical writing, and reflection. Throughout, students are encouraged to view writing as a process best learned through drafting, revising, and discussing their work in conference with teachers. Courses promote a love of reading and a heightened appreciation of literature through the study of various genres, including short story, novel, drama, and poetry. Through class discussion, courses also promote clarity of expression as well as the willingness to share ideas openly.

Requirements in English

All students must complete four years of English for the Walnut Hill diploma. International students may apply work in English Language Learning (ELL) toward this four-year requirement.

ENGLISH 9 - FRESHMEN WRITING & THINKING

We come to Walnut Hill to be meaning-makers. Creating art is one powerful way to make meaning. Just as importantly, we make meaning when we think critically about literature, art, and history. Doing this allows us to see what we share with one another and where our thoughts and experiences differ. It allows us to look within ourselves and beyond ourselves. The class presents a focused course of training and practice in the skills and habits of the department’s core skills curriculum, including close reading, critical thinking, and analytical writing. The course aims to guide students in the patient crafting of precise observations on which to build inferences and arguable claims for fresh, persuasive analytical prose.

This course is for all freshmen not enrolled in ELL Intermediate.

ELL WRITING & THINKING

This course helps English Language Learners develop their skills as readers, writers, and critical thinkers while they build English language proficiency. By reading and discussing a variety of poems, stories, and other texts, students learn to use OIA (observation, inference, analysis) to think more deeply about texts, and they practice writing formally and informally in English.

This course is for students enrolled in ELL Intermediate.

ENGLISH 10 - THE INDIVIDUAL IN SOCIETY

No matter how we may consider ourselves individuals, we live in social, political, and economic contexts that are larger than ourselves. In this course, students examine a variety of genres to explore how individuals relate to the societies in which they live. Do societies help individuals fully realize their humanity or does society put individual identity at risk? Students will learn to explore questions such as these by discussing ideas with peers and expressing their thoughts in writing. Throughout the course, students will develop skills in writing in a variety of different essay formats.

This course is for new and returning 10th grade students not enrolled in ELL intermediate.

ENGLISH 11/12: UPPER SCHOOL WRITING & THINKING

Through writing, discussion, and close examination of written and visual texts, this class exposes students to a diverse array of voices and explores the value of listening to other people’s perspectives. The class presents a focused course of training and practice in the skills and habits of the department’s core skills curriculum, including close reading, critical thinking, analytical writing, and reflection. The course aims to guide students in the patient crafting of precise observations on which to build inferences and arguable claims for fresh, persuasive analytical prose.

Incoming juniors and seniors must take English 11/12: Upper School Writing & Thinking during their first year at Walnut Hill.

ENGLISH 11 - WRITING & THE SELF

English 11 is designed for returning students in the 11th grade. In this course, students will gain more experience in applying the skills that lead to accomplished reading and writing: patient observation, careful drawing of inferences from observations, and thoughtful developments of claims about various forms of literature, image, and film. In particular, the course focuses on the concept of the self as it is revealed in those art forms. The centerpiece of the course is a project that will require students to create an in-depth, evocative personal essay.

Prerequisite: English 10

ENGLISH 12 - ART & RESPONSE

How do artists respond to works of art? Students in English 12 examine poetry, fiction, and drama as well as images and examples of their own art in order to explore this question. Writing is central to the course, not only as a means of communicating conclusions about a text, but also as an aid to their discovery. Practicing skills they have obtained throughout their high school career, they complete assignments that call on them to think both critically and creatively.

Prerequisite: English 11 or Upper School Writing & Thinking

SENIOR SEMINAR IN LITERATURE (GRADE 12)

Students in the Seminar engage in college-level literary discussion and analysis. Through their essays, collaborative projects, and a variety of other “experiments,” students explore how language creates meanings and how to best articulate an understanding in speech and writing.

The Seminar is open to seniors by application to the Humanities Department in the spring of junior year.

INTRODUCTION TO CREATIVE WRITING (ELECTIVE)

In this course, the class will explore techniques for writing poetry and fiction. Creative assignments will help the students expand their imagination, discover a process of invention, shape an original voice, and tackle the discipline of revision. Through workshops, they will learn to respond critically to the work of others and apply feedback to their own work in a healthy and productive way. Additional coursework will include assigned readings and short responses. A commitment to active and thoughtful participation is essential for success in this course. No previous creative writing experience necessary!

This elective is open to non-WFMA seniors. Sophomores and juniors may be allowed by permission of the Humanities Department. This course does not substitute for a student’s grade-level English class.

English Faculty