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English Department


Overview

Drawing its inspiration from the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church, and the charism of Edmund Rice, the mission of the English Department at Bishop Hendricken is two-fold: to provide the student with the practical communication skills necessary for success in life, and to assist the student in becoming a more contemplative and compassionate person through a Christian exploration of human experience and literature. Students are challenged, through demanding reading, writing and analysis, to become more critically reflective about their own lives, about the lives of their neighbors, and about the lives of God’s global family.

8th Grade SELECT Honors Institute

English: The Classics – Honors
The 8th-grade English course provides students a solid foundation in literature, writing, and grammar and prepares them for Honors- and AP-level work in a Catholic high school. We will read some of the most important, age-appropriate works of the Western canon, focusing on the ancient Greeks, Shakespeare, and similarly themed literature from more recent writers. Students will be introduced to all three major genres of literature: prose, poetry, and drama. Our readings will deal with such themes as leadership, justice, and the importance of seeing oneself in the context of a journey. These ideas are especially important to our students as they grow into young men in a Catholic setting.

The middle-school years are crucial in students’ growth as communicators, and the curriculum will focus on mastering the structure of the English language. In grammar studies, students will learn to isolate and identify the parts of speech and sentence, as well as different types of phrases and clauses. Writing instruction will stress sentence structure and the organization of ideas into paragraphs. By the end of the year, students will be able to write a unified two-page essay that develops from a thesis statement. Public speaking is another important aspect of communication and, throughout the year, students will be required to present their work before the class.

Freshman Year

English 1 – Honors/CP1
The freshman student will focus on the development of basic language skills, correct usage, fundamentals of writing, grammar, vocabulary, and types of literature. The student is introduced to a wide spectrum of literature through a selection of short stories, myths, essays, poetry, drama, and the novel. A four-year vocabulary program begins during this year, as well as an outside reading program. Writing assignments are often connected to the literature. The difference between the two levels is based on the ability of the student. Both levels cover the same basic material, but they move at different paces and have different reading and writing requirements.

Language Arts/English 1 –  CP
This course focuses on reading and writing strategies for the student who needs a slower pace and enables the student to decipher the invisible reading and writing strategies that he may lack in the attempt to gain comprehension and communication success. Class size remains small to allow for more individualized instruction. These students also focus on vocabulary building and grammar application, as well as daily reading inside and outside of class. Selected readings from the freshman text are included for analysis and discussion. These two courses are designed to work hand-in-hand for the student’s success.

Sophomore Year

English 2  – Honors/CP1
The sophomore student will participate in a year-long survey of American literature which will cover the literature of Native American origin myths, explorers, the early national writers, the Fireside Poets, the transcendentalists, the “dark writers” (Poe, Hawthorne, and Melville), Dickinson and Whitman, the writers of the Civil War period, and on to contemporary times. The historical framework out of which this literature comes is always of great importance. Assigned outside reading is intrinsic to this course, and the ongoing study of vocabulary, grammar, and writing helps to sharpen students’ skills. Both levels cover the same basic material, but they move at different paces and have different reading and writing requirements.

English 2 – CP
The emphasis for the sophomore CP student is on American literature, covering many of the excellent authors referenced above. Outside reading and discussion in class enable the student to increase his knowledge of theme, plot, characterization, conflict, and point of view. The vocabulary program, the grammar program, and the writing program continue.

Junior Year

English 3 AP (Language and Composition)
In preparation for the nationally administered Advanced Placement exam, this course presents a study of the major modes of rhetorical discourse (narrative, descriptive, expository, and argumentative) through interdisciplinary nonfiction readings. In oral discussions and critical essays, students will analyze the various components of selected readings. The number of students is restricted. Students who elect to take this course are required to take the Advanced Placement Exam given in May. A persuasive research paper is required.

English 3  – Honors/CP1
The junior student will embark on a year-long comprehensive survey of British literature which will explore the works of the Anglo-Saxons (Beowulf), the medieval period (Chaucer), the English renaissance (Shakespeare), the Romantic period, the Victorian period, up to the modern and postmodern times. Assigned outside reading, vocabulary, and writing help to build the student’s skills. In the second semester, the student is taught the fundamentals of the research paper. Attention is paid to methods of research, documentation, organizational techniques, and the proper MLA format of writing. Both levels cover the same basic material, but they move at different paces and have different reading and writing requirements.

English 3 – CP
A major goal of this course is to help the students become active, independent learners by developing and refining writing skills that mature learners use constantly as they interact with literature. This course will focus on British literature tied to the writing process (pre-writing, writing, evaluating, revising, proof-reading, and writing the final essay). Outside reading and vocabulary continue to be an integral part of this course. A persuasive research paper is required.

Senior Year

English 4 AP (Literature and Composition)
In preparation for the nationally administered Advanced Placement exam, this course presents a rigorous study of poetry, drama, and fiction. Through class discussion and in critical essays, students will analyze the various components of selected readings, such as theme, symbolism, style, and figures of speech. A literary analysis research paper is assigned to reinforce those skills taught in the junior year. The number of students is restricted. Students who elect this course are required to take the Advanced Placement Exam given in May.

English 4 – Honors/CP1
Students conclude their English studies at Bishop Hendricken with an intensive survey of world literature. The students explore the writings of the ancient and contemporary world, including the literature of Greece, Rome, India, China, Japan, and Africa. Outside reading, vocabulary, and writing are emphasized. During the first semester, students will have the opportunity to work on their college-application essays with assistance from their teacher and peers. Once again, students are required to complete a research paper with a focus on literary analysis, in which the skills learned in the junior year (principles of research, organization of ideas, effective expression of those ideas) will be exercised in preparation for the formal writing expected at the college level. Both the CP1 and Honors levels cover the same basic material, but they move at different paces and have different reading and writing requirements.

English 4 – CP
This course allows students to develop an understanding of the evolution of world literature. A primary goal of this course is to guide the student as he learns to apply and reinforce skills of thinking, writing and research. Focus will be on the literature as it ties to the writing process. Assistance in college-essay writing, emphasis on outside reading, vocabulary skills, and the writing process will shape this course. A literary analysis research paper is required.

Writing 104 – Accelerated
This course for seniors is offered as a concurrent enrollment program through the University of Rhode Island so that high school students may receive three college credits. The cost of this semester-long course is approximately $195 and will grant access to the URI library and online resources throughout the duration of the class.

In addition to instructing students to consider their purpose when writing, the current iteration of the course considers the ways in which contemporary audiences receive and digest information. Since the ways modern audiences receive and engage information is not simply through printed material, cultivating digital literacy is a major component of the class.

Per the Writing and Rhetoric Department of the University of Rhode Island, students will successfully complete the course by honing their skills in two different writing areas of their choosing. Students earn badges which represent their mastery of these areas of writing, demonstrating their competency through several scaffolded assignments.