English Department

The mission of the Notre Dame English Department is to prepare our students for the demands of college reading and writing, nurturing and ease of expression, and a love for the written word.  Through the literary selections, students learn empathy, and reach a deeper understanding of the universal human experience through diverse voices, time periods, and cultures.

English is taken each year.  Every student will demonstrate his ability to write by constructing a five paragraph essay by the end of the first semester of English I.  Notre Dame High School also offers a Developmental Reading and Writing Course to which Level 1 English students are recommended by their counselors.  In an effort to prepare our students for college entrance exams, practice SAT/ACT tests are administered.  Grammar and writing skills are taught and/or reinforced at all levels, as are vocabulary and critical reading skills for both fiction and nonfiction selections.  Academic papers and projects are assigned to further our students’ acquisition of the necessary research, presentation, and technology skills.  Novels, which students must examine critically using print and online resources, are assigned in class.  


 

Juniors are required to take two semesters of English. English III, level 4 is a two semester class which fulfills this requirement.  American Literature level 3 and 2 are one semester classes.  Students in these classes must take a second English class and can select one course from the English electives.
 

Seniors are required to take two semesters of English. English IV, level 4 and Composition are two semester classes which fulfill this requirement.  Honors World Literature Level 3 and World Literature Level 2 are one semester classes.  Students in these classes must take a second English class and can select one course from the English electives.

  • Electives
#E60A   Public Speaking

0.5 Credit Level 2                     NCAA

This course is devoted to the study of the foundations of speech, verbal and nonverbal messages, and effective listening.  The students focus on public speaking by preparing and delivering informative, process, and persuasive speeches in class. A review of such topics as motivated sequence, theater, radio and television, and others’ speeches is incorporated into the course; selections may be recorded for viewing and critique by the class.

Requirements for placement: junior, or senior status

  • Electives
#E72A   Literature into Film

0.5 Credit Level 2 NCAA

This level 2 course offers students the opportunity to study literary devices taught in their English classes through the medium of film.  In addition to the study of literary terms and essay writing, it is the goal of the course to foster an appreciation of film.  Students will be required to write analytical essays throughout the semester.  As a final project, each student will write a screenplay for an assigned work of literature.

Requirements for placement: senior or junior status  

  • Electives
#EE1B Popular Fiction: The Novel

0.5 Credit Level 2        NCAA(Pending)

Characterized by its realistic account of events and portrayal of characters through fictional prose narrative, the novel has been ever evolving and entertaining us. This course investigates the appearance and development of the novel with a primary focus on the voices and varying forms of 20th and 21st century novels. The influence of cultural and historical aspects of each novel will also be examined. 

Requirements for placement:  senior or junior status

  • Electives
#EE9A Major Author Seminar

0.5 Credit Level 2        NCAA(Pending) 

The author seminar offers a comprehensive and focused study of the major works of a single author. Readings are selected from the author’s oeuvre and may also include minor writings such as essays and letters. In addition, biographical and historical information will also be explored to help students fully immerse themselves in the life, times, and culture of the author and his or her works of literature.

Requirements for placement:  senior or junior status

  • Electives
#EE8A African American Literature

0.5 Credit Level 2        NCAA(Pending) 

This course explores African American literature from the Middle Passage and Reconstruction to the Protest Movement and Modern and Contemporary literature. Students will have the opportunity to reach a deeper understanding of how African American literature has changed and shaped both American culture and identity. Representative authors include: Frederick Douglass, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Gwendolyn Brooks, James Baldwin, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and August Wilson.

Requirements for placement:  senior or junior status

  • Electives
#EE7A Magical Realism

0.5 Credit Level 2        NCAA(Pending) 

When the fantastic and the magical occur in the world of an otherwise normal story, and nobody thinks it’s strange, that’s Magical Realism.  Also used as a coded way to protest oppressive governments, Magical Realism was widely popular among Latin American authors.  Students in this level 2 course will read works from the major authors including Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabelle Allende, as well as other authors they influenced (Paul Auster, Louise Erdrich, Alice Hoffman, Salman Rushdie).  Students may also look at Magical Realism in movies and other art forms.  

Requirements for placement:  senior or junior status

  • Electives
#EE6A Writing for the Real World

0.5 Credit Level 2        NCAA(Pending)

We read and write every day.  Much of it takes place outside of a classroom.  Students in this level 2 course will read the variety of writing around us, and practice reading for different purposes, different audiences, and different forms and genres.  Writing projects will help students become more fluent and flexible writers and may include the following:  emails, letters, resumes, reviews, articles, editorials, advertising, and more.  

Requirements for placement:  senior or junior status

  • Electives
#EE5A Fairy Tales, Folklore, Legends, and Myths

0.5 Credit Level 2        NCAA(Pending)

In this level 2 course, students will develop a thoughtful perspective on myths, mythologies, and folklore from around the world. They will engage in an exploration of different theories of the cultural meanings and functions of myth, past and present. In addition, students will be introduced to various ways of interpreting and experiencing myth and folklore as texts with oral origins. In this course students will produce projects, essays, and dialectical journal entries.

Requirements for placement:  senior or junior status

  • Electives
#EE4A American Reflection

0.5 Credit Level 2        NCAA(Pending) 

This class is designed to research and examine several important events in American history and the literature surrounds those events in order to see how the literature reflects the change in America because of the event(s). The class will start by examining a variety of literature before and after the 9/11 attacks including news, opinion columns, political speeches, music, political cartoons, short stories, movies, and anecdotes. Once the students understand what to look for, students will select several other events to do their own research and present their findings as a research paper and as a presentation to the class. The class will culminate with a multi-genre project where the students examine and create a variety of literature on an important topic-themselves. This class has a heavy research component.

Requirements for placement:  senior or junior status

  • Electives
#EE3A American Rhetoric

0.5 Credit Level 2        NCAA(Pending) 

The class is designed to examine, analyze, and model the argumentation of American political, social, religious, movie, music, and other spoken communication. Students will construct speeches and express themselves through a curriculum that exposes them to a variety of uniquely American spoken constructions. Not only will students learn the basics of argumentation, but through the analysis of famous (and infamous) speeches from the birth of our country (ie. Patrick Henry), the speeches at the advent of the television and surrounding the world wars, Vietnam, Korea, and Gulf wars, the activism of the 60’s, the politics of music, a variety of moving movie moments, and the latest political stump speeches from national and local candidates, students will learn how to create a variety of effective literature meant to be spoken and listened to. Students will be expected to write and also perform many of their creations and participate in any available speech contests.

Requirements for placement:  senior or junior status

  • Electives
#EE2A Wizards in Literature

0.5 Credit Level 3       NCAA(Pending)

In this honors course, students will follow the path of magical characters in western literature.  Readings will include Greek myths, Idylls of the King and other King Arthur stories including “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”, Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, and Ursula Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea. Harry Potter and Jedi Master Yoda will also be discussed.  Assessments in the course will include projects, essays, and dialectical journal entries. 

Requirements for placement: 85 in the honors Level 3 English class for sophomore or junior year; 90 in the Level 2 English class for the sophomore or junior year; signature of the Junior year English teacher

  • Electives
#EE1A The American Short Story

0.5 Credit Level 3       NCAA(Pending)

This honors course is an intensive study of the American short story. The reading ranges from works by Washington Irving, Hawthorne, and Poe to contemporary writers like E. Annie Proulx, Junot Diaz, and Alice Walker.  Many other major American authors will also be studied, including Twain, Chopin, Cather, Hemingway, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Baldwin, Carver. Criticism and commentary by some of the authors will also be considered. In this course students will produce projects, essays, and dialectical journal entries.

Requirements for placement: 85 in the honors Level 3 English class for sophomore or junior year; 90 in the Level 2 English class for the sophomore or junior year; signature of the Junior year English teacher

  • World Literature
#E42A World Literature Level 2

0.5 Credit Level 2 NCAA

This English course is taken during the first semester during which students will write the College Essay.  This is a survey course which stresses 21st century learning skills and covers poetry, short stories and excerpts from longer works.  Readings are chosen from the literature of the Ancient World, Asia, Russia, Africa, Europe and Latin America and will be the basis for several writing assignments.  Vocabulary study will support understanding of diction within the readings.  Students will also prepare for the SAT and ACT tests.  Academic paper, and the dialectical journal are requirements of this course.

Requirements for placement:  senior status

  • Honors
  • World Literature
#E43A Honors World Literature  

0.5 Credit Level 3    NCAA

This English course is taken during the first semester during which students will write the College Essay.  This course uses longer works from mostly European authors, such as novels and plays, to hone 21st century learning skills.  Longer writing assignments are required and will develop students’ critical reading, thinking and writing skills.  Vocabulary study will support understanding of diction within the readings. Students will also prepare for the SAT and ACT tests.  Academic paper, and the dialectical journal are requirements of this course.

Requirements for placement:  85 in American Literature Level 3; 90 in American Literature Level 2;85 overall average or above; signature of English Department Chair.

  • compositions
#E52A/B Composition

1 Credit Level 2 NCAA

This two semester course begins with an evaluation of the structure of various kinds of writing.  Students are taught the importance of rough drafts and revision to their final compositions.  The focus of the course is for students to become practiced in writing and revision for diverse purposes and audiences.  Composition is a UCONN ECE approved course for only seniors.

Requirements for placement: senior status; 80 in American Literature LV3; 85 in American Literature LV2; signature of English Chairperson.

  • English
#E44A/B English IV, Level 4

1 Credit      Level 4 NCAA

The course is designed to involve students in the study and practice of writing and the study of literature.  A critical approach is fostered with the view to developing a true appreciation of literary works and a facility for critical response, both oral and written.  The course is intended for the student who is capable and willing to manage a substantial amount of reading and writing.  The course relies heavily on student preparation and presentation of the materials presented.    Grammar, standard written English, and vocabulary preparation are stressed. Academic papers, the dialectical journal and projects are requirements of this course. This is a college level course offered to prepare students for the Advanced Placement Literature and Composition examination, which is offered in May.  Students enrolled in this course are encouraged to take the Advanced Placement Exam.  English IV, Level 4 is a UConn ECE approved course for college credits.

Requirements for placement: 85 in Honors American Literature Level 3; 90 in American Literature Level 2; 90 overall average; signature of English Department Chair.

  • American Literature
#E32A American Literature

0.5 Credit Level 2 NCAA

Intended to give students a view of American literary heritage through the various genres, this course approaches the readings chronologically.  Vocabulary, and grammar study are emphasized.  A study of common errors made in composition is also undertaken.  Composition centers on sophisticated writing dealing with analysis of character development, style, and other literary elements.  Writing is a focal point of this course, and students are required to keep a dialectical journal. In addition, a minimum of three compositions will be assigned each semester.  Academic paper and dialectical journal are requirements of this course.

Requirements for placement:  junior status

  • American Literature
  • Honors
#E33A Honors American Literature

0.5 Credit Level 3     NCAA

This course approaches American Literature chronologically and is for students who have demonstrated superior ability and achievement in English II.  There are extensive supplementary readings, and the focus is on more sophisticated and more frequent writing assignments. Students use and practice vocabulary on a regular basis.   Academic paper and dialectical journal are requirements of this course.

Requirements for placement:  85 in English II Honors; 90 in English II LV2; signature of English II teacher

  • English
#E34A/B English III 

1 Credit      Level 4 NCAA

This is a college level course offered to prepare students for the Advanced Placement Language and Composition examination, which is offered in May.  Students enrolled in this course are encouraged to take the Advanced Placement Exam. This course requires students to develop evidence-based analytic and argumentative essays that proceed through several stages or drafts. Students evaluate, synthesize, and cite sources and text to support their arguments. Students taking this course must be prepared to read and analyze text to examine its rhetorical elements, literary techniques, and stylistic devices and write about how those elements impact texts. This course is intended for the student who is capable and willing to manage a substantial amount of writing.  Grammar, standard written English, and vocabulary preparation are stressed.  Academic papers, the dialectical journal, and projects are requirements of this course.

Requirements for placement:  85 in English II Honors, 90 in English II LV2; 90 overall average; signature of English Department Chair.

  • English
#E22A/B English II

1 Credit Level 2 NCAA

Designed to acquaint students with a variety of authors, themes, and literary genres, the course’s emphasis is to have students recognize literary devices and themes as they occur in literature. Vocabulary is assigned frequently and short themes are assigned to perfect the students’ writing abilities.  This course uses the sophomore anthology and a variety of genres and shorter selections.  In addition, an academic paper, journal writing, a grammar unit, and oral presentations are required.

Requirements for placement:  sophomore status

 

Juniors are required to take two semesters of English. English III, level 4 is a two semester class which fulfills this requirement.  American Literature level 3 and 2 are one semester classes.  Students in these classes must take a second English class and can select one course from the English electives.

  • English
  • Honors
#E23A/B English II Moreau Honors

1 Credit Level 3           NCAA  

This course provides accelerated study for students of superior ability and achievement.  English II Honors builds on the cross-curricular program of Moreau Honors English I in that ethical issues and themes from the sophomore Religion course are traced throughout the literature read in English. The literature of the course is the same as for English II with supplementary readings assigned. Students develop critical thinking, reading, and writing skills through assignments that require them to make independent connections across time periods, literary genres, and academic disciplines. Students are required to prepare and present oral reports, speeches, and recitations from memory, as well as develop audio/visual presentations. Vocabulary is assigned frequently. An academic paper, journal writing, and a grammar unit are requirements of this course.        

Requirements for placement: 85 in English I Honors; 90 in English I LV2 and successful completion of writing assessment; signature of English Department Chair.

  • Reading / Writing
#E01A/B Developmental Reading and Writing

1 Credit Level 1        

The Developmental Reading course is designed for those students in English I Level 2 who need to strengthen their skills in reading and writing.  In addition to providing students with strategies to increase their reading and writing abilities, the teacher of this course works closely with the students’ content area teachers.  The goal of this interaction is to coordinate assignments so that students’ work in content areas is supported and reinforced. Though building reading and writing skills is a primary purpose of the course, note taking, proofreading, sequencing, avoiding common errors, and library/media/technology skills are also taught.  

Requirements for placement:  freshman status; previous record; entrance exam results; signature of school counselor

  • English
#E12A/B English I 

1 Credit Level 2 NCAA

The central purpose of this class is to emphasize the fundamentals of writing.  Students are taught the fundamentals of grammar, parts of speech, parts of a sentence, parts of a paragraph, and paragraph structure.  There is a concentration on structure of paragraphs and essays.  The necessity of proper citation and the structure of an MLA formatted research paper are taught. Students must also take a Writing Assessment at the end of the first semester. During the second semester, students are taught the skills needed to further develop their writing through the practice of pre-writing, composing rough drafts, and the construction of a thesis statement.  Various forms of literature, such as the short story, novel, and poetry will be utilized throughout the semester.   Constructing a research paper and journal writing are course requirements. Students must also pass the Freshman Writing Assessment during the first semester.

Requirements for placement:  freshman status

  • English
#E13A/B English I Moreau Honors

1 Credit Level 3       NCAA

The Honors English course is one component of the inter-disciplinary Moreau Honors Program that integrates the English, World Cultures, and Old Testament through long-term projects, class interaction.  The purpose of this course is to provide an accelerated and enriched course for students of superior ability and achievement.  The course emphasizes the following skills: thinking and synthesizing, critical reading, journal writing, research methods, and collaboration.  In addition to the required grammar units, outside reading, and research paper, this course surveys the elements of tragedy and entails extensive reading and independent thinking. Constructing a research paper and journal writing are course requirements. Students must also pass the Freshman Writing Assessment during the first semester. 

Requirements for placement:  previous record; high verbal scores on the entrance exam; signature of school counselor