The ninth grade English curriculum focuses on attentive observation and accurate description in writing exercises and in the literature selected for class reading. Students write daily journal entries throughout the year, most of which will be on teacher-assigned topics designed to strengthen skills of objective observation and precise written expression. Grammar and vocabulary are also studied in the classroom on a regular basis to support student writing.
Reading is done with an eye for accuracy of comprehension. Students also explore the descriptive element in narrative fiction through the reading of Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, Animal Farm, and several short stories.
Students begin by reading literature of Native Americans, African Americans and Immigrants, each group contributing to America’s diversity. We then explore America by reading literature from New England, the Mid-Atlantic States, the Midwest, the West Coast and the South. Students must participate in a storytelling project, modernize a poem from colonial era, and write a series of compositions on the short stories, poetry and selections of novels covered in the class. Authors and poets covered in this course include Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Willa Cather, Flannery O’Connor, Phyllis Wheatley, Emily Dickinson, Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, Walt Whitman, Robert Frost, Robert Hayden, and Theodore Roethke.
History of Drama
In the History of Drama seminar the students study the origins of Theatre, Classical Greek Theatre, Medieval Theatre and Shakespeare; they read Iphigenia in Aulis and Romeo and Juliet as well as contemporary selections. Students demonstrate their understanding of the issues in the plays through class games, discussions, performances, and writings. The final activity is a hands-on project such as building a theater or making a mask that the students select and design.