Departments & Curriculum
Course Description Guide 2024-25

English (2024-25)

The purpose 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 Public Speaking and Communication, Contemporary Lit, Rock and Roll Lit, and Creative Writing.

In a typical day in English, our students can be found engaged in a wide variety of creative and challenging activities:  Writing stage directions for group performances of Romeo and Juliet, considering the role of the translator in world literature, adding a new chapter to The Catcher in the Rye, writing and publishing letters to the editor, analyzing connections between The Odyssey and contemporary art, writing a personal vignette like those in The House on Mango Street, or analyzing persuasive appeals in the protest songs of Marvin Gaye and Nina Simone. 

Trinity’s teachers bring fresh perspectives to the classroom and prepare students to engage with each other and the world around them. Students are encouraged to question, argue, think, and write critically about themes and issues in both nonfiction and fiction. Our unique approach to English leads students to new ways of understanding the human condition and establishes an appreciation for the power of written and oral communication. 


List of 7 items.

  • English 8

    Grade 8
    1 credit

    English 8 is a course designed to welcome and engage students with a variety of literature, including fiction, nonfiction, drama, and poetry. Students will engage in the writing process with daily journals and writing workshops throughout the year,  aimed at developing clear and coherent writing skills for audiences ranging from personal and professional emails to argumentative essays. Students will learn active listening strategies, strong note-taking skills, and close reading annotative skills. Students will engage in small and large group discussions and will practice applying information, advancing from basic recalling and reporting to collecting evidence to support a claim. 

    Units of Study
    Journaling - Drafting and Editing Process
    Mythology - Annotating and Recognizing Thematic Elements
    Grammar / Sentence Structure Emails - Personal and Professional Communication
    Screenplay - Presentation and Communication
    Novel - Close Reading and Annotating
    Short Stories - Literary Elements
    Creative Writing / FPS - Critical Thinking Skills

  • English Reading and Writing Workshop 9

    Grade 9
    1 credit

    English Reading and Writing Workshop 9 prepares freshmen for all of Trinity’s English opportunities. Starting with close reading, annotation, and recognizing literary techniques, students begin to understand the writer’s craft and practice those professional writing moves on their own. Using a workshop approach, students engage in daily notebook writing practice aimed at learning the drafting and editing process, which leads to polished pieces like critical reviews, letters to the editor, memoirs, and writing for an online audience. Workshops allow students to learn how to give and receive constructive criticism on their peers’ writing as well as their own. Throughout both semesters, students will explore their interests by reading independently from a selection of fiction and nonfiction books. 

    In the second semester, students are ready for higher-level literary analysis, research, and beginning rhetoric. The year of Reading and Writing Workshop 9 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
    Nonfiction Narrative - Voice and Revision
    Poetry - Annotation and Poetic Techniques
    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. With close reading, students learn 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
    Contemporary Nonfiction and American Philosophy - Multimedia Presentations
    American Modernism - Literary Analysis
    Multiculturalism and Identity - Comparative Multigenre Study
    Social Realism - Incorporating Research into Analysis

  • 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, drama, essays, and novels. Through quick writes, 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 conduct 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 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 create expository, argument, analysis, and narrative 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
    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 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: Average grade of B+ or higher on major writing assignments in English 10 Honors and teacher recommendation or average grade of A or higher on major writing assignments in English and teacher recommendation

    Additional Fee:  IB examination fees will be incurred in 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/Full Papers
    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 course is the second year of the two-year IB English A: Literature HL course. This course explores the human condition and the writer's craft 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. 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, and 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 and compare the work of dramatists, prose writers, and poets. 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, read deeply, 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 Honors or grade of A- in English 11 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 individual writers’ various works, 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
    The Rhetorical Situation
    Rhetorical Analysis
    Argument and Synthesis
    The Senior Project
    Current Non-Fiction
    AP Test Review

English Electives

List of 3 items.

  • Creative Writing - Grades 8-12

    Grades 8-12
    0.5 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 Arc
    Character Development
    Connection to Human Truth
    Planning, Editing, and Revising
  • Rock & Roll Lit - Grades 9-12

    Grades 9-12
    0.5 credit

    In this course, students will study the history and literature of Rock and Roll from the bluesmen of the 1920s through the indie rock movement of the early 2000s. 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 a 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
  • Public Speaking - Grades 8-12

    Grades 8-12
    0.5 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 introductions. 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 Speeches

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

English Electives

Grades 8-12 Grades 9-12
Creative Writing Rock & Roll Lit
Public Speaking