Click on each course name to learn more about it.
Middle School Courses
7th Grade English
This course begins a two-year study of writing skills and reading comprehension skills. The 7th grade year specifically focuses on the basics and acquiring the skills for success in the 8th grade and beyond.
For writing, students will study how to write short stories, essays, non-fiction, and poetry. The course develops students’ skills with figurative language, grammar, and organization. The course has a variety of vocabulary lessons and activities to enhance the student’s work.
For reading, students will be assigned certain texts to read as a class, but they will also have the opportunity to choose texts to read to provide the most appropriate learning experience. Students will be evaluated in a variety of ways including quizzes, tests, writing assignments, discussions, technology projects, etc.
Students will have two intensive grammar units throughout the year.
Technology is integrated into all aspects of the course from writing, to presentations, to practicing reading skills.
8th Grade English
8th grade English is a continuation of the 7th grade course. Now that students have acquired the basics, they are expected to go further and begin to “read between the lines.”
Students will continue their study of short stories, essays, non-fiction, poetry, and novels, but now they will be expected to analyze and interpret on a deeper level. By the end of the 8th grade, students will be capable of writing a solid five paragraph essay in which they analyze a piece of literature. Students will also write and present a research paper on a topic of their choice. The course will also include intensive grammar and vocabulary units to help with their writing skills.
Because of the wide variety of learning abilities in the classroom, additional readings will be given for students who require a further challenge. Also, students will be given the choice for some of their texts to most suit their learning needs. Their reading will be evaluated in a variety of ways including quizzes, tests, journals, writings, oral presentations, etc.
Technology will continue to be integrated into all aspects of the course from writing, to presentations, to practicing reading skills.
Creative Writing Electives
7th and 8th Grade students with an overall grade point average of a 90 or higher, a grade point average of a 95 or higher in English, and a recommendation from their current language arts teacher can elect to take a creative writing course when scheduling permits.
This course is designed to challenge middle school students serious about creative writing by extending their skills in the areas of diction, style, fluency, etc.
The course will vary depending of the students’ individual interests in the field of writing. The course may include poetry, short story, novel, and independent reading to provide an added challenge to the English curriculum.
*Student and parent should contact the guidance counselor for more information.
High School Courses
9th Grade English • English 1
This course is the 1st year in a 3-year sequence designed to develop a student’s skills for creating a personal literary vision and voice by introducing the essential skills of the high school English program: mechanics, style, reading comprehension, thinking, interpretation, and rhetoric. Sentence combining and patterns develop fluency with language—the personal voice—whereas learning the illuminating concepts of passage, tragedy, and literary craft deliver the requisite vision for literary study. The rudiments of argument, rhetorical development, paragraph organization, and the thesis statement initiate students into the world of critical thinking and “academic” writing. Further, students learn effective techniques to ensure success throughout high school and beyond—such as highlighting and annotating—with the goal of moving students away from teacher-dependent strategies and toward those students can use both to make meaning of any text and to compose a variety of rhetorical models.
10th Grade English • English II
This course is designed to develop and expand the student’s ability to read with increased critical awareness various works of American Literature. Students will gain an appreciation and understanding of the literary, cultural, and historical influences on works from Twain, Steinbeck, Poe, and Salinger, among many others. The course will foster the student’s ability to write clearly and articulately about these works, and includes a unique study of vocabulary, grammar, and usage. By course’s end, students will have increased their already strong foundation in the language arts learned throughout their years at Jenkintown MS-HS.
10th Grade English • Honors English II
This course will focus on the same content as English II, at a more accelerated and advanced pace. Students will delve more into literary criticism and research, and will write more frequently about the works they encounter. The course is designed to prepare students for the AP English Literature course that is traditionally taken during 11th grade. Prerequisites: 90% in English I with teacher recommendation and PSSA reading score of advanced.
11th Grade English • English III
This course will provide students with a broad survey of literature crafted by authors from the British Isles (specifically: England, Scotland, and Ireland). A variety of literary styles will be covered, including, but not limited to: science fiction, naturalistic fiction, dystopian fiction, mystery, drama, and poetry. Students will continue to hone their skills at comprehending dense texts, uncovering deeper themes in fiction, and evaluating the author’s use of literary devices. The course’s day-to-day structure follows a seminar format which provides students with the opportunity to enhance their speaking, listening, and writing skills. By course’s end, students will have increased their already strong foundation in the language arts learned throughout their years at Jenkintown High School.
11th Grade English • Honors English III
Prerequisite: Students are admitted to this program based upon a combination of the following: 88% or above in 10th grade English II, 27 on the PSAT reading test score, teacher recommendation. These students have demonstrated at a minimum an overall “B” level mastery of language arts skills through 10th grade English and requisite scores in PSAT testing, but who do not wish to enroll in the AP Literature and Composition course.
11th Honors English III exists as an expanded version of English III. The same texts are covered, however, more responsibility is placed on the students to lead day-to-day discussions, and creative extension projects supplement traditional essay assignments.
11th Grade English AP Literature and Composition
Prerequisite: Students are admitted to this program based upon a combination of the following: 92% or above in 10th grade English II, 30 on the PSAT reading test score, teacher recommendation.
Taught at a first-year college level, this course builds upon the strong foundation of the previous two years to continue students’ development of both their vision and voice. New to this year are intensive studies in metaphoric analysis and literary craft strategies (using poetry); student-generated literary seminars; yearlong research projects; and the “college literary analysis essay.” Students develop the skills of “close reading,” described by the College Board as reading “deliberately and thoroughly, taking time to understand a work’s complexity, to absorb its richness of meaning, and to analyze how that meaning is embodied in literary form.” The studied texts reflect the college-level expectations, with the Board’s guidelines serving as a model:
“Works of recognized literary merit” which “invite and gratify rereading” and do not “yield all their pleasures of thought and feeling the first time through” provide the texts for this “intensive study.” The reading should “be both wide and deep” — from the sixteenth to twentieth century — “but, more importantly, [students] should get to know a few works well.”
12th Grade English • English IV
This course will provide students with a broad survey of World Literature (literature crafted by authors not from the United States or British Isles). A variety of literary styles will be covered, including, but not limited to: surrealism, stream of consciousness, existential fiction, drama, and poetry. Students will continue to hone their skills at comprehending dense texts, uncovering deeper themes in fiction, and evaluating the author’s use of literary devices. The course’s day-to-day structure follows a seminar format which provides students with the opportunity to enhance their speaking, listening, and writing skills. By course’s end, students will have been presented with all of the skills necessary to succeed in college-level Humanities courses.
12th Grade English • Honors English IV
Prerequisite: Students are admitted to this program based upon a combination of the following: 90% or above in 11th grade English III/90% or above in Honors English III, 27 on the PSAT reading test score, teacher recommendation. These students have demonstrated at a minimum an overall “B+/B” level mastery of language arts skills through 11th grade English and requisite scores in PSAT testing, but who do not wish to enroll in the AP Language and Composition course.
12th Honors English IV exists as an expanded version of English IV. The same texts are covered, however, more responsibility is placed on the students to lead day-to-day discussions, and creative extension projects supplement traditional essay assignments.
12th Grade English • AP Language and Composition
Prerequisite: Students are admitted to this program based upon a combination of the following: 85% or above in AP Literature, 92% English III Honors and a 30 on the PSAT reading test score, teacher recommendation.
This course is the continuation and complement of 11th grade A.P. Literature: it is taught at a first-year college level and it too builds upon the critical skills developed during that course. But in distinction, this course shifts its focus from literary analysis to rhetorical analysis, from fiction to non-fiction. Students will analyze numerous rhetorical devices such as syntax, diction, and writing style, in diverse works from authors such as Gladwell, Douglass, and Thoreau among many others. The course will refine and develop students’ conscious mastery of argumentation, eventually learning to synthesize complex sources into their own writing. Through assessments such as in-class and take-home essays, dialectical journals, and seminars, students will grow in their command of the skills needed to produce a sound, intelligent,academic voice.
Book Club 101
Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book.” Every book opens your mind to the world around you; every page, a new perspective; every character, another life. Reading is one of the greatest joys in life, so why not share it with a group of avid readers? Book Club 101 is a class completely dedicated to reading, analyzing, and discussing great literature. Students will read high-interest books chosen by the class that will be read in class. Class discussions will encourage students to share and discuss opinions, themes, and thoughts on the books. Class will be one semester in length; limited to high school students.
Journalism is an introduction to news writing. Students will examine and compose various forms of newspaper writing including news, sports, features and editorials. Students will be introduced to the elements of reporting the news focusing on interviewing, gathering information, evaluating sources, and writing leads and headlines. Students will consider newspaper design and editing, while preparing pieces for the high school newspaper.
Introduction to Cinema
Introduction to Cinema is a class primarily designed to improve students’ appreciation and knowledge of filmmaking and its long, storied history. Students will learn the tricks and crafts of the director, cinematographer and screenwriter, and then see how these pieces meld together to form visual art. From sound to score, from acting to screenwriting, from westerns to horror, students will understand how cinema attempts to mirror our lives and the human condition. By course’s end, students will have gained vital tools for not only critiquing and valuing a film’s worth, but also for laying groundwork for perhaps a future career in the motion picture arts.
SAT Prep • Verbal/Math
Open to Juniors Only
This course will help prepare students for the new SAT. Students will use vocabulary building strategies to learn the 200 most common words used on the SAT, develop their critical reading skills, and practice their essay writing. Practice questions from past SATs will be examined, in addition to helpful test-taking techniques. Periodically, students will take practice tests to familiarize themselves with the format of the test using their results to discover their strengths and weaknesses.
Introduction to Public Speaking is a graduation requirement for the class of 2015 and after. This class is recommended at the ninth or tenth grade level and is primarily designed to improve students’ public speaking skills, in both formal and informal settings. Almost all humans have a natural fear of speaking in front of large or even small groups. This class will not only help students alleviate that fear, but also give them the skills to master any experience requiring an efficient and effective speaking delivery. Students will develop conventional communication models such as persuasive and demonstration speeches, and learn proper speaking techniques from both historical and modern examples. In all, students will hopefully leave this course speaking confidently and passionately in front of just about any audience they encounter.
Creative Writing Independent Study
This course is designed to challenge students serious about creative writing by extending their skills in the areas of diction, style, fluency, etc.
The course will vary depending of the students’ individual interests in the field of writing. The course may include poetry, short story, novel, screenplay, and independent reading to provide an added challenge to the English curriculum. Students may take the class virtually from a study hall if scheduling does not permit students to enroll in the assigned class period.
Students who choose to take the class virtually must have an overall average of 85 or above and a recommendation from their current language arts teacher since the course requires students to work independently.