Students explore thematic questions related to identity, beauty, love, family, race, freedom, and human nature as they read and study the novels, short stories and plays in this 9th grade course.
This English course for 9th grade students is based on the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts, and on our 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 passages—short stories, poems, and nonfiction—that serve to enrich students’ understanding of the topics, symbols, and themes of the novels. The texts are thematically linked, and students explore thematic questions related to identity, beauty, love, family, race, freedom, friendship, and human nature over the course of the year.
It is important to note that we designed this English course exists in conjunction with a 9th grade Composition class in which students build their writing skills.
Students read three masterful works of fiction by Sherman Alexie, Karen Russell and Alice Walker, and practice skills, habits, and routines that will be used regularly in the high school classroom.
Students explore thematic topics, symbols and motifs in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, and discuss the impact of racial stereotypes on the identity development of young black women and men.
Students read John Steinbeck's classic novel Of Mice and Men, as well as other complex articles and poems, and discuss the author's portrayal of the “other”: those on the fringes of society.
As students read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Purple Hibiscus, which tells the story of a young Nigerian girl and her family, they investigate the topics of identity, oppression, love and tradition.
Students read and discuss William Golding's classic novel Lord of the Flies along with several non-fiction articles and poems, debating the question of the fundamental goodness/evil of human beings.
Students hone their literary analysis and writing skills as they read Shakespeare's iconic Romeo and Juliet in the original Early Modern English.