New courses for 2nd trimester (HS)

Dear Parents/Guardians and Students,

We are excited to present to you the following new course offerings for the 2nd trimester.  The first trimester ends on 12/3, and students will receive credit for satisfactory work in their first trimester courses.  The second trimester begins on 12/6 and will continue until March 18, 2011.

Students will continue in the same science and math courses throughout the year. Physical education and English may change.  Students in 9th grade will only take 2 trimesters of global history this year, thus some will not have social studies in the 2nd trimester.  We are offering a number of different English courses, and adding 9 new elective courses.

Physical Education offerings:

Zero period big gym (begins at 7:40, every other day)
1st or 2nd period big gym
7th period co-ed swim
7th period single sex swim (if enrollment is sufficient, we will run single sex courses)

English offerings:

1. Fairytales, Folklore, and Mythology with Ms. Silverstein (grades 9 & 10)

Course Description: In this course, you will read folk tales, fairy tales, and myths from cultures around the world. You will analyze the way people use stories to explain their lives, and you will write your own myths and legends to explain why your own life works the way it does.

Texts: excerpts from Grimm’s Fairytales, Lang’s Red/Yellow/Blue Fairy Books, the Greek Mythology books, various web sources similar to this site.

Assessment: create a myth or origin story to explain a particular phenomenon; write an essay analyzing what one culture’s folklore or mythology demonstrates about that culture’s values

2. Identity & Memoir with Ms. Kaufman (grades 9 & 10)

Memoir is how writers look for the past and make sense of it.  We figure out who we are, who we have become, and what it means to us and to the lives of others: a memoir puts the events of a life in perspective for the writer and for those who read it.  It is a way to validate to others the events of our lives  our choices, perspectives, decisions, responses.

Memoir recognizes and explores moments on the way to growing up and becoming oneself, the good moments and the bad ones.  It distills the essence of the experience through what the writer includes and more importantly, through what a writer excludes.  Memoir celebrates people and places no one else had ever heard of.  And memoir allows us to discover and tell our own truths as writers.
– Nancie Atwell, In The Middle, Heinemann (1998), pg. 372

Course description:

This course will be both a writing workshop as well as a literature one. Students will immerse themselves in the genre of memoir in an effort to analyze and then create their own memoirs. Students will explore the theme of identity formation and will look at how memoir is expressed through multiple genres.

Essential Questions:

1.  To what extent is our identity defined by internal and external forces?
2.  What are characteristics of a memoir?
3. How can exploring written, visual and other genre lead us to a deeper understanding of ourselves and others?

Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian
The Color of Water
Works of David Sedaris

3. Search for Self: Identifying voice in literature with Ms. Micillo (grades 9 & 10, 1 section is co-taught with Ms. Kim)

Course Description:  Students will read at minimum, two full length memoirs, and excerpts from others, exploring the theme of identity formation.  Students will exam how authors develop their voice through memoir.  In turn, students will construct their own memoir focusing on how their identity has been shaped presently.

Assessments: Students will be writing literary analysis essays and their own memoir. There will be a number of 1 page reflection papers.

Major Texts:
The Color of Water by James McBride
Little Bee by Chris Cleave
Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian

4. Freedom Narratives with Ms. Micillo (11th grade, or advanced 10th grade with 80+ in English + teacher’s recommendation)

Course Description:  Students will examine several texts revolving around the theme of enslavement, whether it is enslavement to another individual, a culture or society, or to themselves through self-restrictions.  In doing so students will be able to identify common issues that occur cross-culturally.

Assessments: Students will be writing literary analysis essays, including a critical lens essays which directly prepares students for the Regents in English.  There will be a number of 1 page reflection papers.

Major Texts:
A Long Way Gone
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs
Uncle Tom’s Cabin

5. Dystopian Literature with Ms. Silverstein (11th grade, or advanced 10th grade with 80+ in English + teacher’s recommendation)

Course Description:  In this course, you will read books and short stories about people who tried to create the perfect community–and failed.  We will also study examples of failed Utopias from history.  In the end, you will create your own perfect community, and predict how it could all go horribly wrong.

Possible texts include, but are not limited to:
The Giver
Animal Farm
Harrison Bergeron, a short story by Kurt Vonnegut
The Hunger Games and/or Uglies/Pretties/Specials

Assessments:  Critical lens essays using our texts; create a utopia; write a short story set in your utopia that exposes its problems

6. Film Adaptations with Ms. Kaufman (11th grade, or advanced 10th grade with 80+ in English + teacher’s recommendation) This is a Pre-AP English course, to prepare students for AP English Literature next year.  It is highly recommended that students interested in taking AP English Lit in 2011 take this course.

Course description:  This course will explore works of American and World Literature through multiple perspectives. We will look at decisions that authors, playwrights, and filmmakers make to communicate their ideas and tell their stories. We will emphasize active reading, seminar-style discussions, critical analysis, and performance based learning.

Essential Questions:
1. What choices do directors make when adapting a book or play to film?
2. How can we use performance to understand and interpret a challenging text?
3. Is it possible to identify clear-cut heroes or villains in literature?
4. Whose story is being told? Whose story is silenced?

Kite Runner
Shakespeare: Macbeth
To Kill A Mockingbird

Assessments: Student-led direction of Macbeth; critical lens literary essay

Elective offerings:

1. Criminal Justice and the Law taught by Ms. King
In this course students will be provided with basic knowledge of the structure, philosophy, and processes utilized in the delivery of Justice. The course will also examine basic practices of criminal investigation, which will give students an opportunity to compare and contrast aspects of the constitutional system. This survey of justice will provide students with the necessary knowledge so they can understand and impact the system, to enable it to best serve individual and societal needs.  Students will be required to study historical cases, current cases, reconstruct crime scenes, interview officers of the court and law enforcement, and complete varied projects. Tentative course outline as follows:
•       History and Development of Criminal Investigation
•       The New York City Chancellor’s Code of Discipline
•       The U.S. Constitution
•       The New York State Constitution
•       Types of Crime
•       Warrants and Arrests
•       Interview and Interrogation
•       Legal Considerations and Crime Scene Investigations
•       The Future of Criminal Investigations
•       Physical Evidence
•       Rules and Role of Evidence
•       Law Enforcement
•       The Structure and Function of  the Courts
•       Advocacy: The State vs the Defendants Advocate
•       Juvenile Justice System
•       Mock Trials

2. Conflict Resolution & Peer Mediation taught by Mrs. Macaluso

We’ll be looking into conflict–why it occurs and how to stop it.  For some topics that will be addressed, see this website.

3. Health for Life

This is the required health course for all high school students.  If you have not yet taken health, this course is require for graduation.

4. AP Microeconomics taught by Mr. Crump (this counts as required Economics course, and could be college credit if the student passes the AP exam in May with a 4, or 5)

The purpose of an AP course in Microeconomics is to provide a thorough understanding of the principles of economics that apply to the functions of individual decision makers, both consumers and producers, within the larger economic system. It places primary emphasis on the nature and functions of product markets, and includes the study of factor markets and of the role of government in promoting greater efficiency and equity in the economy.

5. Theatrical Productions with Ms. Silverstein–9th period modified schedule.  See Ms. Silverstein for details and contract.

This course will be a credit bearing course exploring how to present a text on stage in a production.

6.  Piano keyboarding with Ms. Wingate

This course will count as a music credit, and will teach students how to read music and play piano.

7. Chorus with Ms. Wingate–9th period schedule

This course will teach reading music and vocal techniques to strengthen your singing abilities.  It will count as a music credit.

8. Pre-AP Music Theory with Ms. Wingate

This course will prepare students to take AP Music Theory.  For more information on AP Music Theory, see the course description here.  This is a 1 credit music elective.

9. Geo-Hazards with Mr. Diaz

Tornados, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are all topics covered in this course.  We are looking at how natural phenomenon impact human lifestyles and our reactions to them.  We’ll be doing quite a bit of research, groupwork and presentations in the class.  We’ll be using internet resources, textbooks and a variety of videos (Twister, The Core, The Day After Tomorrow, Volcano, and Dante’s Peak) This counts as a 1 science elective.

Club options for 2nd trimester:

  • Outdoor Club with Mr. Diaz
  • School Store with Mr. Del Casino
  • Service Club with Ms. King or Ms. Ciarniello
  • Library HW time with Mr. Chickerie or Ms. Oswald
  • HW help with Mr. Gharsellaoui
  • Cinema Club with Ms. Kim
  • English help with Ms. Kaufman
  • 4H club with Ms. Chamblee (6th grade only)
  • 6th grade HW help/Outdoor Club with Ms. Bender
  • Big Brothers/Big Sisters with Mr. Bush & Ms. Silverstein
  • Girls Club with Ms. Jackson or Ms. Micillo
  • Student Council with Ms. Levien
  • Math help with Mr. Crump, Ms. Ragusa, or Ms. Wang
  • Step Club with Ms. Louis
  • Instrumental Music with Ms. Wingate
  • Student Court with Ms. White
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