X
This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing to use this website, you consent to our use of these cookies.

Humanities—English

The LJCDS Humanities Department’s mission is twofold: to develop students' academic skills and to develop social-emotional and metacognitive skills. 

Through the study of the social sciences and world literature, students become familiar with both historical facts and concepts and with the more general social scientific skills that are especially useful in examining current events. Students gain a deep (albeit developing) understanding of themselves and their humanity, the cross-cultural humanity of others, and the connections between life and literature. 

Through close analysis of texts and the meaning of both spoken and written language, they develop empathy and compassion for the human experience in all of its diverse forms as they also develop their own authentic voices. 

Communication skills are developed through thoughtful and active listening, speaking, reading and writing. Students write concise, effective and clear prose that communicates ideas and supports them with evidence from texts. They actively participate in classroom activities, listening carefully to their peers and articulating ideas that build on and extend others’ points.

In addition to daily participation in classroom discussion, students at all grade levels present oral reports, craft analytical and research-based essays, and complete both individual and group projects.  

  • American Studies: English II/U.S. History

    2 semesters, 1 credit
    Prerequisite: English I and Global History (formerly WCCP)

    American Studies is an interdisciplinary investigation of the nation’s culture, from the earliest people on the land to contemporary society. Students read literature, historical documents, scholarly articles and more while also viewing art, photographs, and early versions of newspapers, posters and other forms of public communication. Students write traditional academic essays but also complete inquiry-based projects aimed at independent research and share their results via discussions, debates, role-playing and the creation of historical documents. The goal of this reading, writing and viewing is to find connections and patterns that help define American culture. This is a dual-block class: it meets for two blocks and counts for both the English II and the sophomore American history requirements.
  • AP English Language and Composition

    2 semesters, 1 credit
    Prerequisite: Department approval of a writing portfolio. The portfolio will include three English essays from the student’s work in English II. Admission is at the discretion of the reading committee and the chair. (Grade 12)

    AP Language and Composition is a college-level course that prepares students to “write effectively and confidently in the college courses across the curriculum and in their professional and personal lives.” (College Board) Students read and analyze a wide range of nonfiction texts (newspaper editorials, essays, biographies, literary criticism, travel writing, sermons) as well as short fiction and excerpts from longer works. Students become familiar with rhetorical strategies that make for strong, persuasive writing. Students continually revise their writing for clarity and precision. At the end of the year, students take the AP Language and Composition exam.
  • AP English Literature and Composition

    2 semesters, 1 credit
    Prerequisite: Department approval of a writing portfolio. The portfolio will include three English essays from the student’s work in English II. Admission is at the discretion of the reading committee and the chair. (Grade 11)

    The AP English Literature and Composition course focuses on reading, analyzing and writing about imaginative literature (fiction, poetry, drama, criticism) from various periods. The course aligns with an introductory college-level literature and writing curriculum. Students engage in close reading and critical analysis of imaginative literature written in—or translated into—English. Writing assignments include expository, analytical and argumentative essays that require students to analyze and interpret literary works. This course delineates the skills and conceptual understandings colleges and universities typically expect students to demonstrate in order to receive credit for an introductory college literature course and placement into a higher-level literature course. At the end of the year, students will take the Advanced Placement exam in English Literature and Composition.
  • English I

    2 semesters, 1 credit

    English I focuses on storytelling, specifically the ways humans create visions of success and failure in their lives. Students read novels, short stories, nonfiction, drama, poetry and graphic novels while composing both traditional essays and writing according to the genres they are reading. In addition, students study vocabulary from a workbook that explains word roots to support their work in both reading and writing.
  • English II

    2 semesters, 1 credit
    Prerequisite: English I

    U.S. Literature studies United States literature from Native American oral traditions to contemporary works of fiction and nonfiction. Writing at this level assumes that students have mastered the basic form and conventions of academic essays and provides practice with revisions to emphasize that point. Vocabulary and grammar lessons emerge from the reading materials and student essays, making those instructions specific to the context of the course discussions. From U.S. Literature, students move on to make choices from the English elective course lists.
  • English III Seminars

    2 semesters, 1 credit
    Prerequisite: English II or American Studies

    -Rhetoric: Conflict in the Classroom
    LJCDS has been working toward building and sustaining a culture of dignity as outlined by author Donna Hicks, Ph.D. Our efforts recognize that many traditional school practices fail to enhance dignity and sometimes even harm it. This course aims to ask and answer important questions about ethics, justice and conflict resolution, with an eye toward LJCDS’ vision of “Leading with Dignity.” Please note that this is NOT a course that aims to accept one philosophy as a universal truth. Dissent, disagreement and debate will be at the epicenter of our conversations, and we will read from a wide variety of texts in order to form a robust understanding of what each of us stands for. Eventually, our goal will be to create a shared vision for the future that takes all beliefs, opinions and philosophies into account. The final project takes the form of a proposal to the head of school to enhance practices that support the dignity of members of our community.

    -Tragedy, Triumph and Teenagers
    This course will explore the joy and heartaches experienced and the wisdom gained from the teenage years. What does it mean to grow up in America? How does the meaning shift according to gender and cultural backgrounds? What are the rites of passage, and why are they important? What types of moral/ethical growth take place? Texts may include The Bluest Eye, A Lesson Before Dying, The Things They Carried, Am I Blue? Coming out from the Silence, Ceremony and The Joy Luck Club, as well as essays and short stories.

    -Murder and Mayhem: The Villain in Literature
    Murder and Mayhem will explore the “dark side” of the human character. In this course, we will read novels, plays, poetry, short stories and essays as a way to speak and write about the nature of evil. We will explore society and the human mind in order to discover what makes people do wrong, and we will study the impact of retribution, both individual and societal, for wrongs done. What does it take to be a villain? What is the source of evil? Who is to blame if one engages in villainous activities—the individual? Society? The family/ neighborhood/ environment in which the person is raised? Are we villains if we do not actively confront evil? Is redemption possible? Texts may include The Inferno, Hamlet, Crime and Punishment, Heart of Darkness, Native Son and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

    -Science, Technology and Literature
    In this course, we will explore the development of the sciences from the classical period to the modern day. Over time, how have scientific thinkers and writers uncovered the greatest secrets of the universe? How has the relationship of science to magic and religion changed over time? How has our view of nature and its resources changed? How is knowledge created at all, and what is its relationship to power? To begin the course, we will read Lucretius’ On the Nature of the Universe, which offers one of the earliest theories of atomism. Then, we will study the period known as the “Scientific Revolution” by reading the works of Francis Bacon, Margaret Cavendish, Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton. We will then read Mary Shelley’s critique of science in Frankenstein and Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theory in On the Origin of Species to explore enlightenment views of science. To end the course, we will study the science fiction genre and discuss the most pressing environmental issues we face today. In particular, we will read the works of Rachel Carson and Barbara Kingsolver, as well as watch the television and film adaptations of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation and Frank Herbert’s Dune

    -Gender Studies: The Legacy of Adam and Eve
    Gender Studies is an interdisciplinary multicultural course designed to address issues pertinent to gender identity in the areas of writing, coming of age, relationships, politics, health and bridging the cultures. We will be discussing topics such as health care, eating disorders, civil rights violations, laws affecting gender equity, sexism in the classroom and workplace, societal myths about gender roles, media propaganda and in general, what teens learn about themselves as they become adults.
  • English IV Seminars

    2 semesters, 1 credit
    Prerequisite: English III or AP English Literature and Composition

    English IV students select from a range of course offerings. Options shift from year to year, based on student interest and schedule availability.

    -Murder and Mayhem: The Villain in Literature 
    Murder and Mayhem will explore the “dark side” of the human character. In this course, we will read novels, plays, poetry, short stories and essays as a way to speak and write about the nature of evil. We will explore society and the human mind in order to discover what makes people do wrong, and we will study the impact of retribution, both individual and societal, for wrongs done. What does it take to be a villain? What is the source of evil? Who is to blame if one engages in villainous activities—the individual? Society? The family/ neighborhood/ environment in which the person is raised? Are we villains if we do not actively confront evil? Is redemption possible? Texts may include The Inferno, Hamlet, Crime and Punishment, Heart of Darkness, Native Son and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

    -Rhetoric: Conflict in the Classroom
    LJCDS has been working toward building and sustaining a culture of dignity as outlined by author Donna Hicks, Ph.D. Our efforts recognize that many traditional school practices fail to enhance dignity and sometimes even harm it. This course aims to ask and answer important questions about ethics, justice and conflict resolution, with an eye toward LJCDS’ vision of “Leading with Dignity.” Please note that this is NOT a course that aims to accept one philosophy as a universal truth. Dissent, disagreement and debate will be at the epicenter of our conversations, and we will read from a wide variety of texts in order to form a robust understanding of what each of us stands for. Eventually, our goal will be to create a shared vision for the future that takes all beliefs, opinions and philosophies into account. The final project takes the form of a proposal to the head of school to enhance practices that support the dignity of members of our community.

    -Tragedy, Triumph and Teenagers
    This course will explore the joy and heartaches experienced and the wisdom gained from the teenage years. What does it mean to grow up in America? How does the meaning shift according to gender and cultural backgrounds? What are the rites of passage, and why are they important? What types of moral/ethical growth take place? Texts may include The Bluest Eye, A Lesson Before Dying, The Things They Carried, Am I Blue? Coming out from the Silence, Ceremony and The Joy Luck Club, as well as essays and short stories.

    -Gender Studies: The Legacy of Adam and Eve
    Gender Studies is an interdisciplinary multicultural course designed to address issues pertinent to gender identity in the areas of writing, coming of age, relationships, politics, health and bridging the cultures. We will be discussing topics such as health care, eating disorders, civil rights violations, laws affecting gender equity, sexism in the classroom and workplace, societal myths about gender roles, media propaganda and in general, what teens learn about themselves as they become adults.

    -Creative Writing  
    Creative Writing 101 is a prose-based writing workshop (with accompanying contemporary readings) drawing on narrative strategies and the distinctive forms and techniques of memoir, fiction, travel and food writing, personal essay, art, cultural criticism, journalistic reportage, etc. Students will learn how to read like a writer (with an eye not only toward content but for qualities of form and language) and make reading an active part of their writing practice. Typically, workshops are free-wheeling explorations of form, style and content and this one will be no different. 

    -Dystopian Fiction  
    How have marvels—or disasters—of innovation like electricity and computing shaped society and artists’ reactions to the changes? What constitutes a social ideal? How do humans aim for utopia while dystopia is the inevitable result? Authors of dystopian fiction create fantastical tales of joy and horror that mirror aspects of the human condition in culture. The semester is devoted to reading and critiquing dystopian writing of the past century. In the process, students will reflect on contemporary society’s social/moral/technological/medical advancements and failures. Sample readings include Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. The texts will be coupled with post-apocalyptic films such as Blade Runner and I Am Legend.

    -World Beat: African and African Diaspora Literature
    World Beat will follow the historical and political path of African literature beginning with a great legacy of oral literature to the contemporary African novel and exploring the literary arts from countries such as Nigeria, Algeria, Senegal, South Africa, Kenya and Rwanda and on to the African Diaspora created by the slave trade. As countries, cultures and individuals are confronted by outside forces, whether it is colonialism, political corruption, censorship, genocide, or migration to unfamiliar destinations, the necessary adaptation forces an examination of the tenets of identity and the notion of home. Literature allows us to experience the profound influence of culture through the lives of characters struggling to define themselves in relation to race, gender, religion, politics and nationality. The perspective through which people view unfamiliar values, expectations, modes of expression and standards of beauty will also force us to explore our own sense of the familiar and foreign.

La Jolla Country Day School

9490 Genesee Avenue
La Jolla, CA 92037
858-453-3440

© 2021 La Jolla Country Day School

Privacy Policy

COVID-19 Safety Plan

Country Day Connection Newsletter