English Department

Overall Objectives

Reading and writing are life skills, and the English program at Cabrini tries to develop those skills through reading and responding to literature, finding and interpreting information, and writing for the classroom audience.

With computers in nearly every office, many homes and schools, students are on-line at Cabrini too, especially in writing. Drafting at the computer makes developing, revising, and editing texts easier. Writing at a computer allows for fluency and completeness of detail so that students "get into" the work they are doing. In English, students learn valuable life skills of language use: speaking, listening, reading, writing, and publishing. English at Cabrini prepares students for life after high school.

Members of the English faculty, diverse, well-educated, and committed, bring many different skills, experiences and understandings to their teaching. Many spend summers in school furthering their own education so as to become better teachers. As learners themselves, they have much to share with their students.


Department Course Offerings:

Courses noted with an asterisk (*) are also offered at the Honors level.

Pre-Freshmen English

The literature taught in eighth grade consists of the short story nonfiction, poetry, drama and the legend. Through this literature students learn comprehension skills and critical thinking. The stories are also the basis of writing assignments to which grammar principles are applied. The steps of writing as well as the types of writing are studied. Journal writing promotes fluency. Vocabulary is integrated into daily work as well as some drama.

*English I

This course is an introduction to drama, the short story, poetry and the novel. Thinking skills such as classifying, generalizing, evaluating, and synthesizing are learned through this study of literature. Writing skills are taught by studying the writing process and by exploring various types of writing such as journals, essays, creative writing, and writing about reading assignments. Grammar is learned in conjunction with these tasks. Vocabulary building is achieved through the daily introduction of words as well as by context and etymology. Several novels are read during the year and are used as a basis for discussion, teaching vocabulary skills, and developing interpretive thinking while contributing to the students' cultural literacy.

*English II

This course has a dual focus of reading and writing. Each is related to the other in that the writing tasks often grow out of the reading assignments. Students keep journals, practice the thinking skills of analysis, comparison and contrast, and definition. A library reference paper is part of this year's work.

*English III

The evolution and development of American culture and its place in history is explored through the chronological study of American literature from the colonial period to the present. Students are exposed to a study of symbolism.

*English IV

This course is steadily focused on writing skills, paying particular attention to strategies for the generation of ideas for essays, methods of organizing those ideas, and techniques for putting the ideas in a pleasing form. Students also learn to use MLA reference style and college libraries. The literature study is a survey of British literature.

*English IV (AP)

English IV Advanced Placement is a course in language and composition for students who wish to pursue college-level studies while in high school. Students are taught that writing is a craft and their goal is to develop skills in expository, analytical, and argumentative essays. Students will also read nonfiction (autobiography, biography, literary criticism, modern essay, political, and science writings). In May, the students take an examination which is administered by the College Board. T hrough this test college credit may be earned.

Creative Writing

This one-semester half credit course is open to all grade levels but limited in the number of students. A recommendation from an English teacher, an interview with the instructor, and evidence of works in progress or the ability to initiate and complete directed individual study are required for this course. Students will be presented with a variety of prompts and types of imaginative or creative writing. They will have time and access to computers to work on their pieces in school; they will be en couraged to submit their work for publication, and by the end of the semester, they will have created an anthology of work. This course assumes that students are already interested in writing and are writing on their own. Grades will reflect willingness to revise and to take risks at writing tasks never before attempted; dedication and use of class time to the work of writing; and finally, the quality of the work produced.

Newspaper I

Students produce the school newspaper. In the process, they learn to write clearly, to develop editorials, to select and arrange photographs or graphs, to compose layouts and visual design, and to use word processing effectively. Revising and editing skills improve markedly because of the authentic audience. Students also learn desktop publishing.

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Date Updated: 9/7/01