English Language Arts

12th Grade

12th Grade ELA Course Summary

Please Note: The Fishtank team is beginning the process of revising the 11th and 12th Grade ELA courses to refine the sequence of unit texts and provide deeper, more aligned support for teachers and students. The full sequences for 11th and 12th Grade ELA will be available for the 2025-26 school year.

The new 12th Grade ELA sequence will center around the theme On Being Human. Two new units for 12th Grade will be released in January 2025 for teachers who wish to pilot them in early 2025.

  • Unit 1: Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  • Unit 2: Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro, with excerpts from Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

In 12th Grade English Language Arts, students explore enduring themes such as love, family, memory, and culture through powerful works of fiction from around the globe and across the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries: Invisible Man, A Doll’s House, The God of Small Things, The Great Gatsby, thematically aligned Famous Speeches, and related multimedia materials. Students will spend time examining the techniques and styles of the various authors, analyzing how each author crafts his or her story and communicates his or her message, including a special emphasis on intertextuality and the authors' use of allusions to other great works of literature to deepen their own messages. Across the 5 units, students deepen their paragraph writing skills through narrative, opinion, analytical, and informational writing tasks.

Building upon the knowledge and English Language Arts skills they’ve developed in previous years, students deeply engage with complex texts through both independent reading and guided Close Reading, prepare for and engage in longform whole class discussions including Socratic Seminars, and write multi-paragraph responses to Essential Questions by gathering evidence and effectively communicating their thoughts. 

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12th Grade Book List


Unit 1

36 Lessons

Invisible Man

Students trace an unnamed African American narrator's "Hero's Journey" from innocence to self-discovery in Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, examining the novel's harsh critique of American society.

Unit 2

10 Lessons

A Doll's House

Students dive into the novel A Doll's House, exploring this social critique of middle-class Victorian society including issues of gender roles, freedom, and appearance versus reality. Students also investigate the genre of dramatic realism.

Unit 3

37 Lessons

The God of Small Things

Students investigate the complex, nonlinear style of The God of Small Things and its themes of history, colonialism and love, focusing on the novel's literary devices, plot structure, and language.

Unit 4

16 Lessons

Famous Speeches

Students analyze and interpret speeches, honing their rhetorical analysis skills and deepening their understanding of how authors use particular strategies to effectively communicate their ideas to a given audience.

Unit 5

10 Lessons

The Great Gatsby

Students read The Great Gatsby, evaluating Fitzgerald's critique of the American 1920s, as well as considering issues of social class and the impact of history and memory on individuals.

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