English Language Arts

11th Grade

Course Summary

This literature course for 11th grade students is grounded in the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts, the expectations of the new SAT, and on Match School’s approach to teaching English as outlined in our Program Overview document. Writing, vocabulary development, readings of informational texts, and opportunities to develop speaking and listening skills are all included in the course, with the primary emphasis placed on students’ development of the skills described in the Reading Literature Standards. During this year-long course, students read five novels and a number of paired works—short stories, poems, and nonfiction—that serve to enrich students’ understanding of the motifs, symbols, and themes of the novels. The texts are thematically linked, and students explore thematic questions related to racism, identity, colonialism, reality, and human nature over the course of the year. The units are designed to be flexible in length, depending on the amount of reading students are expected to do at home.

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Course Material Overview


Unit 1

15 Lessons

The Glass Menagerie

In reading Tennessee Williams' "memory play" The Glass Menagerie, students examine thematic topics such as individual freedom, obligation, reality and escape.

Unit 2

25 Lessons

Things Fall Apart

Students read Chinua Achebe's widely acclaimed Things Fall Apart as they examine themes of identity, culture, and colonialism, analyzing the author's careful choice of words and symbolism.

Unit 3

37 Lessons

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Students study the institutional processes and popular beliefs surrounding mental health in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, as they discuss and debate the themes of power, order, and authority.

Unit 4

15 Lessons

Short Fiction: A Study of Genre

Students read multiple genres of fiction, including the absurdist The Metamorphosis and the ancient Greek tragedy Oedipus the King, with the aim of exploring the question: "What does it mean to be human?"

Unit 5

31 Lessons

Dreaming in Cuban

Christina Garcia's novel Dreaming in Cuban will offer students a vivid picture of distant and present-day Cuba, as they contemplate how our past, good or bad, makes us into who we are today.

Unit 6

30 Lessons


Students discover the novel Waiting, examining such topics as the Cultural Revolution and Confucian values as well as tensions between old and new, rural and urban, and communism and capitalism.

Unit 7

26 Lessons

The Scarlet Letter

Students read the renowned novel The Scarlet Letter, exploring and analyzing the themes of sin, compassion, and hypocrisy as they played out in seventeenth-century Puritan New England.