Hyde School Woodstock (2015 - 2016) English Department
"The mission of the English Department is to inspire and motivate students to embrace
the power of language as the foundation for imaginative dialogue with themselves and the world in which they live."


Course Descriptions:

English 9 - World LiteratureInstructor: Julie StubbsThe purpose of the English 9 course is to explore texts that have emerged from various global regions across time with one overarching theme in mind: Extraordinary Journeys. Students will delve into the literary world of extraordinary physical, spiritual, and emotional expeditions while simultaneously embarking on their own journeys toward identity development and self-realization. Throughout the year, students will examine various forms of literature such as ancient texts, novels, short stories, and graphic novels to strengthen active reading and critical analysis skills. Writing assignments, both creative and formal, will require students to implement grammar concepts and essay structures learned in the classroom. English 9 students will leave the course with a firm grasp of English sentence composition, understanding of and proficiency with numerous essay styles, an impressive vocabulary, active reading experience with diverse texts, and most importantly a greater sense of self.

English 10 - British LiteratureInstructor: Sommer Mahoney
In English 10, we will focus on the rise of the Individual, and the development of the individual's interior moral compass. How does conscience develop as characters interact with others, with nature, with technology, with society? What makes one an individual (if anything?) How do we conduct ourselves in line with our own principles while facing outside pressure? Why are British authors in particular interested in these questions, and how does this idea of individuality change over the centuries? While grappling with these questions, students will hone their reading and writing skills. We will learn to read critically and discuss literature – novels, short stories, poetry, plays - persuasively and logically. English 10 will also focus on developing creative and analytical writing skills. Students will craft their own fiction and non-fiction stories, write critical analysis of texts, and create their own literary research projects. At the crux of the English 10 program is a dedication to mastering the writer’s tools: vocabulary, grammar, and literary devices. By gaining a command of the writer’s tools, students’ confidence as writers and readers will allow them to take more risks in their exploration of the difficult themes our texts force the reader to confront. English 10 will provide a space where students can learn and grow together as we think critically about human success and failure in literature.

English 11 - American LiteratureInstructor: Julie Stubbs

Contemporary LiteratureInstructor: Sommer Mahoney
William Blake once wrote “the voice of honest indignation is the voice of God; I cared not for the consequences, but wrote.” “Honest indignation” will be the theme of our year. Students in Contemporary Literature will take Blake’s mind-frame into the later half of the 20th century as we literary scene of post-World War II of America. From the Holocaust to McCarthyism, Dr. Angela Davis to Hunter S. Thompson, Civil Rights to immigration policy, we will wrestle with the apparent paradox between American Individualism and the fears instilled by Hitler’s reign: to what degree are we responsible for our neighbor? If we are responsible at all? To better understand these questions, students will not only read, but also write in, various literary styles, including novels, memoirs, short stories, poetry, scripts, speeches, and Gonzo journalism. Students will determine what kinds of writing they prefer to read and write, and what formats are best for what kinds of ideas. We will focus on developing oral, verbal, and written rhetoric skills, and critical reading and literary analysis, by sampling authors that span from the traditional to the (truly) abstract and absurd. Students will complete a memoir project and a research project that do not so much strive to answer the questions that consume contemporary American writers, but to join the dialog about our modern world, and propose questions of their own.

A.P. English Language and CompositionInstructor: Dan Osar
In the Advanced Placement English Language and Composition course, students will develop the skills needed to effectively read and analyze rhetorical prose in a variety of forms; course readings will include essays, letters, speeches, political cartoons, and imaginative literature. In preparing for the Advanced Placement exam in May, students will accumulate strategies allowing them to confidently evaluate a given text’s speaker, occasion, audience, purpose, subject, and tone through three primary essay styles: the argument paper, the rhetorical analysis, and the synthesis essay. Student essays will pass through a rigorous and ongoing revision process that aims to aid in the development of a wide-ranging vocabulary, competency in the use of a variety of sentence structures, and appropriate use of evidence and detail. In directed lessons and evaluations at various stages of the writing process, students will begin to adopt the skills needed to clearly, concisely, and elegantly express the full breadth of their ideas. In the spring, a focus will be placed on the practice of writing the research paper, with an emphasis on advanced research skills, the analyzing and synthesizing of primary and secondary sources, and the citation of sources using MLA style. Through frequent writing and in dissecting the elements of both fiction and non-fiction, students will also begin to discover their own places, purposes, and voices as individuals among the communities to which they belong.

English 12: Literature of Justice, The Pursuit of TruthInstructors: John Rigney and Dan Osar
I am cognizant of the interconnectedness of all communities and states… Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from “Letter from Birmingham Jail”

The senior year at Hyde is preparation for a life of growth and impact. This begins with the knowledge of self as an individual of value and is enhanced by our own understanding of how we learn and grow and the positive influence we can have on those around us. Without the basic commitment to our own learning process, we cannot advance to the more demanding commitment to impact the world in which we live. This year we will test our learning attitudes in what we read, what we write and how we actively participate in our, and others’, education.
As seniors, it is not enough to simply stand up and lead. If we are to lead others, we must do so with an understanding of why we lead and to what end our leadership is directed. As learners we will look directly at the role truth plays in directing our learning, and from this, we must ask what role truth plays in developing leaders and the extent to which it guides them to positive action. This year, through literature and composition, we will explore truth in the written form through the texts we read and the essays we write. We will investigate the truths presented by various authors and consider what drives them to assert themselves through their literature. Additionally, we will ask to what end we each wish to lead using the skills of language, while we intentionally seek to understand how truth can be our guide.
Tied very closely to truth is justice. Justice by most definitions is linked to the fulfillment of human laws or standards. Dr. King links justice to moral law and the law of God. In “Letter from Birmingham Jail” Dr. King informs us that we are morally obligated to act in favor of just causes or we risk falling into the white moderate’s trap of inaction.Truth, justice, and leadership combine into action. Armed with this understanding of the nuances of your own learning, your commitment to lead through action and the recognition of truth in your life, your senior year will provide a testing ground for creating positive change in the world.