Departments & Curriculum
Course Description Guide 2021-22

English (2021-22)

The aim of Trinity’s English Department is to build lifelong readers and writers with a strong foundation in reading, writing, research and communication. Starting in the 9th grade, Trinity’s Reading and Writing Workshop is a differentiated reading and writing-intensive course geared to prepare our students for a variety of dynamic courses ahead. Standard college prep, Honors, AP, and IB level courses all serve our students’ many abilities. English electives include Beginning Communication, Public Speaking, Rock and Roll Lit, and Creative Writing.

Students are required to take English each year. Scroll down to see course sequence.


List of 7 items.

  • English 8

    Grade 8
    1 credit

    English 8 is a course designed to engage students with a variety of literature, including fiction, nonfiction, drama, and poetry. Students will engage in the writing process and learn to develop clear, coherent writing in many different genres. Students will also learn active listening strategies for large and small group discussions. Finally, students will practice using information, advancing from basic reporting to collecting evidence to support a claim. 

    Units of Study
    Mythology- Storytelling
    Letters- Personal Communication
    Screenplay- Presentation and Communication
    Novel- Close Reading and Annotating
    Short Stories- Literary Elements
    Drama- Form and Meaning
  • English Reading and Writing Workshop 9

    Grade 9
    1 credit

    English Reading and Writing Workshop 9 prepares our freshmen students for all of our English opportunities at Trinity. Starting with close reading, annotation, and recognizing literary techniques, students begin to understand the writer’s craft and start to practice those professional writing moves on their own. Using a workshop approach, students engage in daily notebook writing practice, leading to polished pieces like critical reviews, letters to the editor, memoir, and writing for an online audience. As they write, students are exploring their interests by reading independently-selected fiction and nonfiction books. In second semester, students are ready for higher-level literary analysis, research, and beginning rhetoric. The year of Reading and Writing Workshop provides a level of confidence and independence in reading and writing that ensures each student's success in all levels of the Trinity English program.

    Units of Study
    Poetry- Annotation and Poetic Techniques
    Nonfiction Narrative- Voice and Revision
    Argument and Persuasion- Research and Communication
    Epic Poem--Introduction to Analysis
    Short Stories- Close Reading and Literary Elements
    Novel- Close Reading and Analytical Writing
    Drama- Close Reading and Public Speaking through Performance
    Multigenre Writing- Research and Creative Writing
  • English 10

    Grade 10
    1 credit
    Prerequisite: Reading and Writing Workshop 9

    English 10 seeks to enhance students' skills in reading literature critically, writing analytically and creatively, and incorporating research into analysis. Students read selectively from American authors and respond in a variety of ways to poems, short stories, drama, essays and novels. Additionally, students complete an extended analytical essay in conjunction with the Librarian with the goal of developing research skills that will serve them for the remainder of their education. 

    The goal of this course is to teach students to cast a critical eye on various selections from the American literary canon. Through a close reading of these texts, students will explore what it means to be an American.

    Units of Study
    Theater Through a Historical Lens-- Literary Devices and Terms
    Romanticism and the Foundation of American Fiction-- Identifying and Analyzing Theme
    Contemporary Nonfiction and American Philosophy-- Multimedia Presentations
    Realism, Naturalism,and Regionalism-- Literary Modes
    American Modernism--Literary Analysis
    Multiculturalism and Identity--Comparative Multigenre Study
    Social Realism-- Incorporating Research into Analysis
    Visual Storytelling: Contemporary American Voices in Film and Graphic Novels
  • English 10 Honors

    Grade 10
    1 Credit
    Prerequisites: Grade of B+ or higher in Reading and Writing Workshop 9 and teacher recommendation

    English 10 Honors seeks to enhance students' existing skills in critical reading and writing. Students will develop their writing skills, responding to a variety of literature including poems, short stories, dramas, essays and novels. Through quickwrites, dialectical journals, quotation responses, and analytic essays, students will produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, voice, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. Additionally, students will complete an extended research project in conjunction with the Librarian. The goal of the project is to develop research skills that will serve them for the remainder of their education. Students who enter 10 Honors are expected to be strong readers and abstract thinkers.

    Units of Study
    Contemporary Fiction- Relationships and Communication
    Poetry- Voice and Presentation
    Drama- Critical Reading and Annotation
    Short Stories- Literary and Linguistic Style
    Novel- Incorporating Research into Analysis
  • English 11

    Grade 11
    1 Credit
    Prerequisite: English 10

    Through our study of a variety of world literature, both contemporary and canonical, English 11 will hone students’ skills in critical reading, analytical writing, and oral communication. With an emphasis on literary analysis, students will practice close-reading strategies, build oral communication skills through formal presentations and informal literary discussions, take a systematic approach to conducting meaningful research, and write with clarity and precision in support of an original claim. Students will leave English 11 with a greater understanding of the complex relationships between world literature and the human condition.

    Units of Study
    Nonfiction Analysis--Memoir
    Poetry Analysis
    Writing Process--Short Drama
    Fiction Analysis--Novel
    Drama Analysis
    Oral Communication--Novella
    Comparative Literature--Short Stories
  • English 11 Honors

    Grade 11
    1 credit
    Prerequisites: Grade of B+ or higher in English 10 Honors, or grade of A or higher in English 10, and teacher recommendation

    English 11 Honors continues to challenge students' critical reading and writing skills. It is a rigorous writing-based course designed to build the student's ability to write expository, argument, analysis, and digital writing. Through both independent reading and full-class novels, the students will interpret and analyze a variety of world literature — both contemporary and foundational. The class emphasizes oral communication through class discussions and presentations.

    Units of Study
    Short Stories
    Fictional Narrative
    Dystopian Literature
    Research & Presentations
    Drama & Screenplays 
    Introduction to Rhetorical Analysis
  • English 12

    Grade 12
    1 Credit
    Prerequisite: English 11 or English 11 Honors

    English 12 focuses on the process of critical reading and acquiring an appreciation for the author’s purpose, craft, and meaning. Students will learn how to articulate their interpretations verbally and in writing. Students in this class also complete a senior project.

    This course is designed with one foot in the relative safety of high school, while the other foot navigates the more rigorous terrain of college academics. The class will serve as a capstone to a Trinity career, calling upon the reading and writing skills these students have acquired over the last few years. Students will build on these skills while working independently on a senior project, collaborating on group projects, and in developing a final presentation to be delivered in front of an audience.

    Units of Study
    Introduction to Theater: Communication and Language
    Shakespeare on the Stage and Page
    Digital Writing and Design
    Media Analysis
    Crafting a Narrative
    Interpreting Research: Independent Strategies
    Defining Process
    Building an Argument for Presentation and Print
    The Senior Presentation

IB and AP English

List of 3 items.

  • IB English A: Literature - Grade 11

    Grade 11
    1 Credit
    Prerequisites: Grade of B+ or higher in English 10 Honors, or grade of A or higher in English 10, and teacher recommendation
    Additional Fee:  IB examination fees will be incurred the second year of the course.

    IB English A: Literature is the first part of the two year IB English A: Literature HL course. Students will study a range of texts from different periods, styles and genres while developing the ability to engage in close, detailed analysis of individual texts. Students learn to read and write analytically through Socratic classroom discussion and written models focusing on formal, expository projects. The class is a requirement for students pursuing the IB diploma but is open to advanced English students who are curious readers and developing critical writers.

    Units of Study
    Reading Analytically – New Criticism and Post-colonialism
    Writing Analytically - Body Paragraphs
    Non-fiction Read / Write - Comparison Body Paragraphs & Practice HL Essay 1
    Read / Write Contemporary Fiction - Practice HL Essay 2
    IB Syllabus HL Essay Authors - Read/Write/Close Study
    Works in Translation – Group Presentations
    Works in Translation – Close Study/Read/Write
  • IB English A: Literature HL - Grade 12

    Grade 12
    1 Credit
    Prerequisite: Teacher recommendation based on the expectation of B or higher in IB English A:  Literature
    Additional Fee: Students in this course are expected to take the IB exam.  A fee applies to all students taking this exam.

    This is the second year of the two year IB English A: Literature HL course. This course explores the human condition and the craft of the writer through detailed study of a variety of literary genres. The course prepares students for the IB Language A: Literature HL Individual Oral and spring written examinations.

    As we study how writers explore the world and humanity, we learn more about others and ourselves. In the first semester, which focuses on Time and Space and Intertextuality (two of the program's three Areas of Exploration), students will take a deep dive into the work of several writers and genres, including works in translation. Throughout these studies, students will research the historical and cultural context of each work, perform close readings of brief passages, analyze the effects of the writers’ choices, and develop oral and written commentaries that combine close reading, contextual understanding, and knowledge of literary devices to share students’ interpretations of the works or pieces of the works. Though each semester will provide opportunities for students to practice and improve their reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills through a variety of formative and summative assessments, the first semester will focus primarily on delivering well-composed impromptu remarks. In the second semester of the course, which focuses on Intertextuality and Readers, Writers and Texts (the third Area of Exploration), students will study the work of dramatists, prose writers, and poets and practice writing comparative analyses. Students will learn through a mixture of close reading and annotation, class discussion, informal writing, performance-based approaches to analyses, and mentor text study. Success in the course depends on students’ willingness to collaborate, engage deeply in the reading, and devote time and consideration to their writing. Students must be open-minded, curious, respectful of all classmates, and able to work independently.

    Units of Study
    Analyzing Rhetoric and Investigating the Impact of Historical and Cultural Context
    Analyzing Fiction/Drama and the Craft of the Writer
    Analyzing and Interpreting Poetry
    Preparing for the Individual Oral (IO) 
    Intertextuality: Past and Present- Comparing Classic and Contemporary Works
    Preparing for Paper 1 and Paper 2 Exams
  • AP Language and Composition - Grade 12

    Grade 12
    1 credit
    Prerequisites: English 11 or English 11 Honors and teacher recommendation
    Additional Fee: Students in this course are expected to take the AP exam.  A fee applies to all students taking this exam.

    AP Language and Composition is a reading and writing-intensive course that focuses on the art of rhetoric. Students will learn to write logically and persuasively for a variety of purposes, read and analyze a broad and challenging range of nonfiction texts, and deepen their awareness of the writer’s purpose and how language works. Major projects include researching world leaders and their famous speeches, analyzing the patterns of an individual writers’ various works, and reading current opinion pieces and crafting logical responses to them. Students should be skilled at critical reading and writing, as the course requires daily close reading and responses. The course is an excellent introduction to required college composition courses for college freshmen. All students are expected to complete a senior project in the first semester and take the AP Language and Composition exam in the spring.

    Units of Study
    Rhetorical Basics
    Rhetorical Analysis
    The Senior Project
    The Persuasive Speech
    Synthesis Writing

English Electives

List of 5 items.

  • Contemporary Literature & Composition - Grades 9-12

    Grades 9-12
    1 credit

    This course will expand on students’ skills in the major areas of communication: reading, writing, researching, speaking, and critical thinking. Students will practice and apply these skills as they continue to improve their abilities as creative, independent, and critical thinkers. Students will demonstrate their progress and mastery of skills through a variety of writing pieces and project-based assessments. The units will be taught thematically with overarching guiding essential questions that require students to synthesize their reading, research, and writing in order to fully answer. All reading pieces will be contemporary with an emphasis on 21st Century literature and media. Students will hone their research skills to demonstrate that they are responsible and critical consumers of digital information while continually practicing their presentation skills to become engaging and effective communicators. 

    Units of Study
    Home & Family
    Identity & Culture
    Love & Relationships
    Conformity & Rebellion
    Heroes & Villains
    Art & The Artist
  • Beginning Communication - Grades 8-12

    Grades 8-12
    .5 Credit

    In this course, students will practice the art and craft of foundational communication. Each day, students will participate in individual and group games and exercises that will build up their stage presence and confidence as speakers in both academic and real-world settings. For academic settings, students will learn basic presentation skills, including slideshow design and presentation technology. Students will practice group discussion and debate, using conversation skills to advance academic arguments. Students will also study professionals at work as they practice interviewing skills and create an “elevator speech” for a business setting. Additionally, students will practice social speeches, including toasts and introduction. This is a hands-on, highly participatory class where students can expect to give and receive constant feedback. Throughout the course, students will reflect on their growth as speakers and listeners.

    Units of Study
    Speaking Confidence
    Conversation Skills
    Stage Presence
    Basic Presentation
    Interviewing and Business Etiquette
    Social Speech
  • Creative Writing - Grades 8-12

    Grades 8-12
    .5 credit

    Creative Writing offers an introduction to fiction writing in a collaborative, relaxed atmosphere. Short stories are read and discussed that model basic elements such as description, dialogue, action and plot. Students learn and grow as writers both by writing but also through the elements of peer review, workshop and revision. Individual pieces are revised and changed and then re-submitted in a final portfolio at the end of each quarter. This semester elective can be taken more than once for credit with the instructor’s permission.

    Units of Study
    Story Arcs and Planning
  • Public Speaking - Grades 10-12

    Grades 10-12
    .5 credit
    Prerequisite: Teacher permission

    In this course, students will begin with an introduction to communication that helps to build confidence in basic communication, storytelling, and presentation skills. From there, students will create more complex speeches and presentations. As students become familiar with the rhetorical relationship between speaker, text, audience, and context, they will become skilled at tailoring their speeches to different kinds of audiences and situations. Types of speeches will include an Informative Speech, a Demonstration Speech, a Persuasive Speech, a Celebratory Speech and a Business Proposal. As they write, organize, and practice their speeches, students will receive constant individual and peer feedback. Throughout the course, students will reflect on their growth as speakers and listeners. 

    Units of Study
    Beginning Communication
    Introduction Speech
    Pet Peeve Speech
    Effective Presentations
    Demonstration Speech
    Sales Pitch
    Motivational Speech
    Graduation Speech
  • Rock & Roll Lit - Grades 9-12

    Grades 9-12
    .5 credit
    Prerequisite: None

    In this course, students will study the history and literature of Rock and Roll from the bluesmen of the 1920’s through the indie rock movement of the early 2000’s. Students will read short stories, rock criticism, and excerpts from well-known biographies and autobiographies, while maintaining a focus on the close-reading of song lyrics. Students will develop an appreciation for active listening, perform close-readings regularly, write album reviews, and perform and present research and analysis on artists or movements of their choosing. This is a semester-long elective for students in grades 9-12--especially those with particular interest in rock and roll music and/or poetry analysis.

    Units of Study
    The Blues
    Rock and Roll Pioneers
    The Beatles
    Love Songs
    Protest Songs
    Sad Songs--Alienation, Depression, Isolation, Addiction, Death
    Existentialism and Religion: Why are we here? What’s all this for?
    Pastoral Songs
    Teen Angst

Course Sequence

English Core Courses

Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5
English 8 English Reading and Writing Workshop 9 English 10 Honors IB English Literature IB English Literature HL
English 11 Honors AP Language and Composition
English 10 English 11 English 12