Only the courses listed below meet the Semester English graduation requirement.
Freshman Year: English 1 and 2 (CP or Advanced Standing)
Sophomore Year: English 3 and 4 (CP or Advanced Standing)
ENGLISH 1CP-2CP Year Course
Open to grade 9
Course Description: Students in English 1CP and 2CP work on the skills and knowledge they will need both in high school and in post high school education. In the fall they will study and practice writing grammatically correct sentences and unified, coherent, well-developed paragraphs. They will also be introduced to the format of the multi-paragraph analytical essay. Students will study the elements of fiction, various literary devices, and characteristics of different genres of literature. In this course, students will learn to take effective Cornell Notes, to use context clues to determine meanings of words, and to employ other study and organizational skills. The literary focus is on genres, and includes a short story unit, a mythology unit, novels such as To Kill a Mockingbird, Bless Me Ultima, and the play A Raisin in the Sun. In the spring, students learn to paraphrase, to write effective multi-paragraph analytical essays, and to support their ideas with evidence from literature. Students study the relationship between a literary work and its cultural background and learn to distinguish connotation from denotation and fact from opinion. The literary focus in the spring is on the novel Lord of the Flies and the play Romeo and Juliet, as well as a poetry unit. Additionally, students are required to exercise all writing and research techniques learned throughout the course in an extensive research paper.
ENGLISH 3CP-4CP Year Course
Open to grade 10
Course Description: Students continue to practice and add to the skills introduced in the previous year. In the fall semester students write critical literary essays based on their reading of books such as The Catcher in the Rye and Cyrano de Bergerac. They will study a consumer unit, which includes reading non-fiction documents, researching advertising and propaganda, and writing a business letter and a persuasive essay. In the spring students prepare and deliver formal speeches and write critical literary essays on books such as The Bean Trees, All Quiet on the Western Front, and Macbeth. In addition, students are required to maintain an outside reading book culminating in a final report. Vocabulary assignments are taken from the literature and SAT preparation materials. Sentence structure and other grammatical topics are covered as well.
ENGLISH 5CP-6CP Year Course
Open to grade 11
Course Description: Students refine the writing, literature, and other language skills introduced in previous semesters. In addition, they learn to research a controversial issue topic using primary and secondary sources, and to report their findings in the form of a formal debate. They also learn to write the reflective essay. They continue to review for the SAT’s with weekly vocabulary lists of Greek and Latin root words, SAT prep words, and study of common language usage errors seen on the SAT II test. In the fall students study the American heritage in literature and focus on such themes as American Individualism and the American Dream. Titles include The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Great Gatsby. In the spring students continue to focus on American literature, as well as incidents significant in United States history, including an investigation of American historical records. Titles for the spring will be chosen from The Crucible, Hiroshima, Black Boy, The Things They Carried, and A Street Car Named Desire.
ENGLISH 7CP-8CP Year Course
Open to grade 12
Course Description: Students refine the writing, note taking, reading, and study skills that are needed to prepare them for college. They learn to write college-level essays in a variety of rhetorical patterns, as well as to prepare an autobiography and resume suitable for college applications or a job. Throughout the year the focus is philosophical; students analyze an author’s implicit and explicit philosophical assumptions and beliefs about a subject. In the fall students read One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Stranger, and Oedipus Rex. In the spring students read Othello, Siddhartha, and nonfiction articles. The latter part of the semester focuses on film analysis and building visual literacy. The spring semester culminates in a Career Presentation Project where, utilizing research, interview, writing, computer, and public speaking skills, students explore possible future occupations.
ADVANCED STANDING, HONORS, ADVANCED PLACEMENT ENGLISH
All advanced standing, honors, and advanced placement English courses (English 1AS-4AS, English 1H -6H, English 7-8AP) meet the UC and CSU b requirement. Many colleges and universities grant an extra grade point for honors and advanced placement courses. See your counselor for specific information.
ENGLISH 1AS-2AS Year Course
Open to grade 9
Course Description: English 1AS-2AS is an accelerated program in which students read and study literary works and develop English skills that they will need for advanced course work as upper classmen. Students learn to improve their writing skills by studying and practicing the techniques of writing effective sentences, paragraphs, and multi-paragraph essays. They also learn key literary terms and how to use them when writing about and discussing literature. They study both fiction and non-fiction, grammar rules and vocabulary, especially focusing on Greek and Latin roots. They learn to take effective Cornell Notes and to answer test questions appropriately and effectively. In the fall students study short stories, Greek mythology, Things Fall Apart, and To Kill a Mockingbird. In the spring they study Romeo and Juliet, Lord of the Flies, and do an extensive unit on poetry and complete a research paper. Students must complete a summer reading requirement before entering ninth grade English. Students receive reading lists when they enroll during the spring of eighth grade. Transfer students may pick up reading lists in the counseling office or in summer handbook.
ENGLISH 3AS-4AS Year Course
Open to grade 10
Course Description: Students will consider a range of works from comedy and tragedy and further develop their writing skills with interpretive essays. In the fall, the course focuses on poetry and fiction including The Catcher in the Rye and a Shakespeare comedy, The Taming of The Shrew. Students will begin preparation for the PSAT’s and SAT’s through intensive study of vocabulary and reading techniques needed for the tests. In the spring students will continue work on writing, refining their skills in critical essays and learning to manipulate phrases and clauses for stylistic purposes. The spring literary selections include Macbeth, Antigone, and Great Expectations. In preparation for this honors course, students must also complete a summer reading requirement to be finished by the opening week of the fall semester. Selections are provided by the ninth-grade teachers or by the counseling department for those students who transfer to the school during the summer. Summer reading also available on Aragon website and in summer handbook.
AP ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND COMPOSITION Year Course
Open to grade 11
Course Description: English 5-6 AP continues to prepare students for the Advanced Placement examination and advanced studies in English. The course focuses on the nature of the American experience in literature. In the fall students study such topics as American Individualism, Realism, Romanticism, Gothicism, and Modernism in such works as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and The Scarlet Letter, , and a variety of American Transcendentalist essays. They will also study poetry and learn to write the reflective and controversial issue essay. During this time students will write a large number of critical and personal essays, working on techniques of analysis and synthesis as well as perfecting their own personal writing style. In the spring students will focus on the American experience of the twentieth century and will read such works as The Great Gatsby, Invisible Man, and As I Lay Dying, controversial issue essay and debate. In preparation for this course, students must complete a summer reading requirement consisting of three or four novels or plays to be finished by the opening week of the fall semester. Selections are provided by the tenth-grade teachers or by the counseling department for those students who transfer to the school during the summer. All students enrolled will take the AP Language and Composition exam in May. Summer reading also available on website and in summer handbook.
AP ENGLISH LITERATURE AND COMPOSITION Year Course
Open to grade 12
Course Description: This course is a college-level English class which also prepares students to take the Advanced Placement Examination offered by the College Board. Students read a variety of prose and poetry selections, study complex works of literature, and learn a variety of techniques for approaching all types of literary works. They further develop their writing as well as perfect their own critical essays. Students learn to analyze the stylistic characteristics of prose and to define the relationship between a writer’s style and his meaning. They also read works of literary criticism and theory. In the fall students read such works as Oedipus Rex, Othello, and Crime and Punishment, among others. In the spring they focus on poetry and comedy, and works such as The Importance of Being Ernest, Pride and Prejudice, The Heart of Darkness, and Frankenstein,. In preparation for this course, students must complete a summer reading requirement to be completed by the opening week of the fall semester. Copies of the list are provided by the eleventh grade teachers or by the counseling department for those students who transfer to the school during the summer. Summer reading also available on website and in summer handbook. All students enrolled will take the AP Literature and Composition exam in May.
ELECTIVE COURSES IN ENGLISH
READING DEVELOPMENT Semester/Year Course
Open to grade 9
Course Description: This course aims at increasing students’ reading fluency and comprehension to enable them to read and understand materials appropriate for their grade level. Students are taught strategies that help them understand the reading process, think critically about the passages, use context clues to decode more difficult words, and generally read more fluently and more quickly. The course aims to get students to appreciate reading and understand its importance in their lives. The curriculum includes strategies from non-narrative reading structures so students will be able to read and understand texts in science, math, and history at the instructional level. Sustained silent reading allows students to improve their reading comprehension at the independent level in order to improve fluency and reading rate. Students have the opportunity to exit the course at the semester if they demonstrate success in this class as well as demonstrating 9th grade reading level on the Gates/McGinity Reading Test. .
NEWSPAPER STAFF 2 .5 credits per semester Semester Course
Open to grades 9-12
Course Description: Students who are selected as newspaper staff members contribute to the publication of the student newspaper, The Aristocrat. With the expectation that staff members be published every month, there is limited enrollment selected by an application process. Students may apply to work as a staff writer, initially specializing in news, features, or sports, or as a photographer or graphic artist. Staff members are enrolled in an 8th period class and are expected to make themselves available for training sessions and periodic coaching from the faculty adviser and student editors. Appointments to most staff positions are made during the early part of the fall semester and the default expectation is that students will enroll in both fall and spring semesters as staff members. Students may enroll in this course more than once.
ADVANCED JOURNALISM 1-2 5 credits per semester Semester Course
Open to grades 10-12
Course Description: Advanced Journalism students are the leaders and editors of Aragon’s monthly student publication, The Aristocrat. In this interdisciplinary course, students develop writing, research, technology, design, and leadership skills primarily through the direct experience of producing the publication. Advanced Journalism students retain editorial control of the publication as framed by law and policies designed to ensure ethical journalism. The editors lead teams of student staff members in consultation with the faculty adviser. Students are selected through and application and interview process in the prior spring semester for the following year-long appointments: editor in chief, news editor, features editor, sports editor, photography editor, arts and graphics editor, technology editor, and business manager. Advanced Journalism meets during a regular school period every day as well as after school and in the evenings as needed. Students may enroll in this course more than once.
YEARBOOK STAFF 2.5 credits per semester Semester Course
Open to grades 9-12
Course Description: Students who are selected as yearbook staff members contribute to the publication of the school yearbook, El Tesoro. Students apply in May (freshmen in September) to be selected as yearbook staff members for the following year. Students are selected for one of the staffs: business, copy, photography, or sports. Members of the yearbook staff do not take a regular class, but are registered in a seventh period and complete assignments on their own time. Staff members need flexible schedules, initiative, creativity, and the desire to help produce an outstanding yearbook.
YEARBOOK EDITORIAL STAFF 5 credits per semester Semester Course
Open to grade 12
Course Description: Students in the yearbook course produce El Tesoro, the award-winning Aragon yearbook, which is published in May. Editors, who must be seniors in the fall, are selected through an application and interview process and take on roles as editor-in-chief, copy editor, layout editor, photography editor, and business editor. Students are enrolled in a fifth period class, which allows all editors to meet daily regarding planning, developing, and publishing the yearbook. Editors are required to put in time before and after school and occasionally on weekends and are expected to communicate regularly with their staff members.