English Workshop

Full-year Course
(first semester World Lit.; second semester Am./Brit. Lit.)
Open to 10, 11, 12
Range of difficulty 3-5

1. Rationale

This course is for students who want to become more confident readers and writers. In a classroom that individualizes instruction, students work to develop the skills and confidence they need for future classes. Short stories, novels, plays, research materials and movies provide the opportunity for students to learn and practice multi-paragraph essays, note-taking and outlining, accessing vocabulary, and analytical and critical thinking skills. Ultimately, the goal of this course is to provide the students with the foundational skills so that they may then experience success in other English classes.

2. Topics and Themes Emphasized

High interest themes such as discrimination, revenge, and coming-of-age are chosen to encourage students’ participation.

3. Methods and Sample Assignments

Teachers use a combination of lecture, discussion, and in-class writing during which students receive individual help with their skill development. Specific methods or techniques used commonly by teachers include the following:

  • modeling and practicing active, critical reading
  • requiring and responding to drafts of writing compositions
  • conferences throughout the writing process
  • writing models to teach specific forms of writing
  • graphic organizers and templates

Specific types of writing:

personal narrative
free response to a prompt
free response to art/music

expository essay
persuasive essay
descriptive essay
essay test

short story
one-act play
song lyrics
new ending to a short story/novel
another scene for a play
rewrite of a story using a different setting or point of view

4. Expectations for Students

Much reading is done aloud or silently in class, and students are expected to participate in reading activities.

Students are expected to participate in writing exercises during class. For longer compositions, students receive in-class support throughout the writing process.

Speaking and listening:
Students work in groups for discussion of literature and discussion of writing. Students are expected to participate both as listeners and as speakers in class.

5. Reading List and Other Materials

Short stories:
Reading Fiction: An Anthology of Short Stories, DiYanni
“To Build a Fire” London
“Hop-Frog,” Poe
“The Fan Club,” Maynard
“The Cask Of Amontillado,” Poe
“The Laugher,” Boll
“Mateo Falcone,” Merimee
“The Bound Man,” Aichinger
“The Jewels,” de Maupassant
“The Interlopers,” Saki
“Charles,” Jackson
“The Lottery,” Jackson
Roald Dahl short stories
A Book Of Short Stories 1, Secondary English Editorial Staff

Novels, Novellas and Non Fiction:
Inside Out and Back Again, Lai
The Arrival, Tan
The Outsiders, Hinton
Bronxwod, Booth
Al Capone Does My Shirts, Choldenko
Love That Dog, Creech
Wonder, Palacio
The Fallen, Langan
Friedrich, Richter
Harold and Maude, Higgins
Zlata’s Diary, Filipovic,
Women of the Silk, Tsukiyama
Stargirl, Spinelli
“The Lemming Condition,” Arkin
“Flowers for Algernon,” Keyes
Different Seasons, King

All My Sons, Miller
A Raisin in the Sun, Hansberry
Equus, Schaffer

6. Sample Assignment

In class writing: “Mateo Falcone” and “Marriage is a private Affair”

Mateo and marriage are similar in that both stories deal with important cultural traditions and the consequence of breaking those traditions. The consequences are severe…death in one case and disownment in another. However, in Marriage, Okeke, the father, realizes that perhaps there is something more important than tradition: family

Write a letter from Okeke to Mateo about what he has learned about the importance of family. You should write as if you are Okeke and explain to him what your son did and how you treated him. Then explain how and why you changed your mind about seeing your grandchildren. You can also mention how horrible it was that Mateo killed his son.

Letters are informal but they are informative. Your goal is to convince Mateo that, in fact, family is more important than even the most important traditions.
Your letter must include: (Take notes on these)

• Detailed explanations of the traditions
• Honor Code in Mateo Arranged marriage in Marriage
• The spelling of the names correctly
• Why you changed your mind about the importance of family over tradition.
• How you feel about the whole experience.

Remember: you are Okeke.

rev 1/18

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