These sample syllabi and calendars are intended for a high school level English course. Syllabi assign not only three or four primary works of literature, but also supplemental companion texts that students need in order to access these texts in a critically significant manner.
The course rationale for each syllabus discusses how literary theory influenced the structure of units. Rationales grapple with important questions about the role of critical theory in education. What critical context should an instructor provide to enrich and deepen a student’s understanding of the primary texts? How did you use the themes and ideas from critical theory to engage adolescent students in literature?
American Literature: Course Description
This course is designed to foster student’s critical thinking and introduce them to various lenses in which they can read texts. In this course students will read a variety of texts and supplemental works (novels, plays, poems, short stories) that reflect the diverse voices of American culture and will be introduced to various critical lenses, which will allow them to read texts from a variety of different perspectives while developing critical thinking skills. Through challenging assignments and classroom discussions, students will develop critical thinking that will allow them to question what it means to be American, how the form and content are influenced by the different time periods in American history, and how the universal theme of individual versus society is reflected in American literature. Students will be evaluated on class participation, unit tests, journal responses, and semester essay.
Applying Critical Lenses to Great Works of Literature with a Focus on the Hero
In this course you will be reading works of literature that examine the archetype of the hero. By applying Literary Criticism Theory, you will reflect on the characters, events, and overall narratives, through the lenses of Marxism/Socialism, Cultural Studies, Feminist Theory, Race Theory, and Digital Humanities, along with other theories as they arise in the context of your studies. Think of these lenses as different perspectives or points of view that allow one to gain a deeper understanding of the journey of many types of heroes, and how the narrative can help each of us to find the hero in ourselves.
Examining Hamlet through Lenses of Literary Criticism and Theory Examining Hamlet through Lenses of Literary Criticism and Theory
This course focuses on the study, analysis, and comparison of American literature from its beginnings to the present. Students will examine literary works from a variety of genres, including the short story, novel, drama, poetry and nonfiction. In addition to the selected readings, vocabulary and grammatical principles are included in the course of study. Students will be provided with the opportunity to gain experience in reading, writing, speaking, and critical thinking while studying a range of literary works representative of our society. An argumentative literary research paper is completed in the course, as is a study of Shakespeare’s Hamlet through various lenses of literary criticism and theory. Summer reading is required.
8th Grade ELA
This unit is based on the essential question: Why is tolerance an important concept to embrace? How do we develop tolerance? The focus is on the six-traits of writing throughout the year. In this unit we specifically will be focusing on word choice, voice, and ideas. Although the essential question is focused on developing and embracing tolerance, additional essential questions are incorporated into each lesson that are more specific to what historical, cultural, and personal connections and associations that should be made throughout each lesson. The objective is to engage in intellectual curiosity and inspire critical thought and personal growth. To do this it is important to provide a number of pieces of literature that offer unique perspectives as well as writing opportunities and activities to allow students the ability to as Appleman put it “view the world through a variety of lenses” and to be able to form their own meaning of literature.