Language Arts Class Descriptions

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Showing 12 classes

Masterworks: Literature Roundtable

Quarter 1, 2, 3, 4: Starts on September 12, 2018

Class Time: 4:00 pm      Duration: 90 min

Instructor: Melanie Kosar

Grade Range: 11th-12th

Prerequisites:

Masterworks is a collegiate-level literature analysis and discussion class for advanced high school English students. Written works will be selected for their contribution to world literature or their influence on society. In the first half of the course, students will read and discuss literature focusing on tales of voyage, revenge, comedy and tragedy from the ancients through 1800, such as Homer s The Odyssey , Swift s Gulliver s Travels , and selections from Shakespeare. Students should expect to see a number of writers of the Western canon before transitioning to Medieval and Renaissance authors, and continuing with the Age of Enlightenment.

During the second half of the course, the class will explore modern works, beginning with the 1800s Romantic Period, and progress to the present. Readings will include pieces from a diverse group of writers, from Faulkner to Hurston, T.S. Eliot to Coelho, Morrison and Orwell, to non-Western writers. Along the way the class will discuss the rise of journalism, popular media, music, and the role of both technology and globalism in the study of literature. Works from other eras and authors will be added as time and interest permit.

For this course, students should be active, engaged, advanced readers who come to class prepared to participate in intellectual discussion. Students should expect to read up to 100 pages per week. Students are also expected to take the lead in weekly class discussions by sharing their reflections/ reactions to the readings, drawing conclusions/ comparisons with other works, and investigating scholarly articles or other writings on the theme, genre, or by the assigned author. The course instructor will serve as a facilitator-moderator and will use Socratic discussion to further the class s analysis of the literature. A goal in the class is to encourage students to think critically about what they are reading and to help them identify patterns and divergences in material that will give them a framework for anything they read in the future. Students will be expected to write one paper per semester and give one oral presentation to demonstrate understanding and interpretation of materials.

6 students must enroll in order for this class to be held. Price: $1129.00

Fabricating Fiction: Fantasy Writing

Quarter 1: Starts on September 7, 2018

Class Time: 11:00 am      Duration: 55 min

Instructor: Anne Sharp

Grade Range: 7th-8th

Prerequisites:

Over the course of the quarter, middle school writers will create an original fantasy-themed short story. Each week the class will read excerpts from well-known fiction as inspiration for identifying key elements of fantasy writing. The class will explore the evolution of the fantasy genre and read short passages or chapters from literature such as Grimm's Fairy Tales, The Hobbit, Through the Looking Glass, Harry Potter, and more, along with film clips, art, or photographs for inspiration in their fantasy writings. The class will examine the key elements of a short story including plot, characters, setting, and tone. A portion of each class will be dedicated to sharing students' working drafts and refining their stories with collaboration and in-class feedback. Students will be expected to complete some writing and short reading at home each week. Literature selections will not be assigned in their entirety, but students may want to continue reading the complete story. The culmination of the students' work will be a bound class literary magazine. Topics in this year s class series include: Fantasy Writing (1st quarter), Gothic Tales (2nd quarter), Sci-Fi Short Stories (3rd quarter) and Writing Journeys and Creating Character (4th quarter)

6 students must enroll in order for this class to be held. Price: $150.00

Public Speaking: The Art of Storytelling

Quarter 1: Starts on September 12, 2018

Class Time: 2:00 pm      Duration: 55 min

Instructor: Arthuretta Martin

Grade Range: 5th-8th

Prerequisites:

Students develop their public speaking skills and their own "voice" through the Art of Storytelling in a fun, supportive environment taught by a seasoned speaker, coach, and storyteller! Students will build on the theme of interpretive reading, voice, and inflection by adding memorization and use of their bodies to communicate the stories. Storytelling is not acting but it is a creative, performing art and a great tool in successful public speaking. Students will have the option of writing and telling their own stories or re-telling a known tale. Students will have the opportunity to view videos of professional storytellers from different genres and countries and choose the genre they would like to demonstrate. Students will practice posture, eye contact, enunciation, pauses, and timing while receiving tips and techniques from the instructor and peer feedback. The class will culminate in an end of the quarter presentation for parents. This workshop is open to students new to public speaking or those with experience, and students may repeat the program to continue to refine their public speaking skills.

7 students must enroll in order for this class to be held. Price: $141.00

Smart Start-Thinking Fun for Young Learners

Quarter 1: Starts on September 12, 2018

Class Time: 11:00 am      Duration: 55 min

Instructor: Megan Reynolds

Grade Range: K-2nd

Prerequisites:

Stretch your child's brain with this metacognitive class! In Smart Start, children will sharpen their critical and creative thinking skills to become more independent and effective learners. Using in-class readings of high quality literature, children will be introduced to a broad range of thinking strategies such as de Bono's Thinking Hats, SCAMPER, and FFOE (Fluency, Flexibility, Originality, and Elaboration). Through facilitated discussion and community inquiry, children will learn to ask their own questions and raise issues for discussion, explore and develop their own ideas and theories, and give creative reasons.
Each week, students will complete engaging activities that require them to apply what they have learned. For example, the class might consider, What happens when Max returns to Where the Wild Things Are the next day? Next year? How about 10 years from now? (Green Hat Thinking). They may expand to discuss what would happen if another character from literature, like Curious George or Cinderella, visited Where the Wild Things Are? (SCAMPER approach "C" for combining two things that do not normally go together). Young learners will have fun on this engaging, creative class which will boost their ability to use higher order thinking skills, predict outcomes, and solve problems! New stories and activities are introduced each week and not repeated from previous sessions. Students must be able to think independently, work collaboratively, and enjoy a good challenge. Emerging readers and writers can be accommodated.

6 students must enroll in order for this class to be held. Price: $128.00

Traditional Tales Retold: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard

Quarter 1: Starts on September 12, 2018

Class Time: 12:00 pm      Duration: 55 min

Instructor: Megan Reynolds

Grade Range: 5th-7th

Prerequisites:

Follow sixteen-year-old Magnus Chase, the half-mortal son of the Norse God Frey, on his quest to prevent Ragnarok- a cataclysmic battle among Norse gods Odin, Thor, Loki and others. The Magnus Chase series is the most recent, mythology-inspired young adult fantasy by Rick Riordan, author of the Kane Chronicles and Percy Jackson series.

Why do myths, legends, and fairy tales inspire countless retellings and reinvention? Traverse the globe while exploring the world of traditional tales in this class. Each quarter, students will read a full-length novel based on myths or fairy tales while simultaneously exploring the source material that inspired the author. In addition, students will analyze the culture and geography that generated the traditional tales and the hero cycle. Students will have the opportunity to synthesize all they have learned through a project shared on the last day of class. This class will be run as a book group with students being asked to read sections each week and return prepared to discuss. Students are welcome to read the works via recorded audio books if preferred.

Topics in this year s class series include: Norse Mythology- Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book 1: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan (first quarter); Egyptian Mythology- Tut: The Story of my Egyptian Immortal Life by P.J. Hoover (second quarter); Japanese Folklore- Momotaro: Xander and the Island of Lost Monsters by Margaret Dilloway (third quarter); and European Fairy Tales- A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz (fourth quarter).

6 students must enroll in order for this class to be held. Price: $128.00

Word Masters: Verbal Analogies and Vocab Challenges

Quarter 1: Starts on September 12, 2018

Class Time: 10:00 am      Duration: 55 min

Instructor: Megan Reynolds

Grade Range: 3rd-5th

Prerequisites:

Word Masters is a language challenge for students who enjoy word games, spelling, building their vocabulary, and verbal adventures. Why study lists of words if you can make a game of it? The best way to learn new words is to use them! This class is inspired by the annual Word Masters Challenge (www.wordmasterschallenge.com). Each week students will tackle new vocabulary words and practice them through analogies and critical thinking challenges. Students will examine word meanings, relationships, synonyms and antonyms with in-class activities and games such as Pictionary, Scategories, Charades, and Apples-to-Apples. Word Masters will improve a student's reading comprehension, verbal reasoning, logic skills, and the ability to think analytically and metaphorically. Word Masters will continue each quarter with all new word lists, analogies, and activities.

6 students must enroll in order for this class to be held. Price: $128.00

Writer's Workshop: Time Travel, Fantasy or Science Fiction?

Quarter 1: Starts on September 12, 2018

Class Time: 11:00 am      Duration: 55 min

Instructor: Karen Hickman

Grade Range: 5th-6th

Prerequisites:

What do Star Wars Jakku planet and Alice s Wonderland have in common? What gives fantasy its unique characteristics? What makes a story science fiction, and why do both genres often include time travel? An understanding of fantasy writing includes a look at science fiction. By seeing the similarities and differences in the works of Jules Verne, Kenneth Grahame, Lewis Carroll, E.B. White, and Madeline L Engle, we will create our own time travel stories. Developing a sense of audience and purpose through reading/writing groups provides students with ongoing commentary to help with their stories. An anthology of stories will be published at the close of the class.

The Writers Workshop gives students in grades 5-6 the skills they need for writing, reading, listening, and speaking that come from practicing by putting pen to paper. Sharing drafts and in-progess works enhances the understanding of language structure, encourages revision, and improves editing in story writing. Each quarter, students will review samples of literature and write about popular themes using the story elements of that theme. Imagination and creativity come easily to most young writers, but acquiring technical skills is also important. Each quarter, students will focus on specific skills. The skills are a part of their Writer s Tool Kit that includes understanding parts and kinds of sentences, plurals, possessives, and punctuation. Learning how to use a dictionary and a thesaurus, as well as practical, higher, middle school level skills such as summarizing, outlining, note taking, writing a book report, or citing sources are included throughout the four sessions. Topics in this year s Writers' Workshop series include: Time Travel, Fantasy or Science Fiction? (first quarter); Learn to Research, Life in a Castle (second quarter); Journalism (third quarter); and Writing Children s Books (fourth quarter).

7 students must enroll in order for this class to be held. Price: $141.00

Building Blocks of American Literature: A Trio of British Writers

Quarter 1, 2: Starts on September 7, 2018

Class Time: 1:00 pm      Duration: 55 min

Instructor: Anne Sharp

Grade Range: 9th-10th

Prerequisites:

In order to understand American Literature, it s important to know the roots of our literary tree, and we are deeply rooted in British Literature. As a new nation with emerging writers, Americans still consumed the literary works of our former mother country. This course focuses on two genres, the play and the novel, and three British writers, William Shakespeare, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and Charles Dickens, whose influence continues to resonate in American Literature today.

Beginning with the study of Shakespeare, students will read selected scenes and key acts of some of his well-known comedies and tragedies such as A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hamlet, As You Like It, Macbeth, Twelfth Night, and/or Romeo & Juliet. Students will analyze pivotal scenes and dialogue to identify methods Shakespeare used to present character and narrative conflict. Shakespeare s characters, memorable for their passion and angst, provide the psychological structure and templates for fictional characters for subsequent centuries including the twenty-first one.

The second half of the semester will move from stage to page. Students will examine the emergence of the English novel and its influence on modern literature by focusing on two pivotal writers: Charles Dickens and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. Dickens stories, first serialized in magazines then published as books, paved the way for both soap operas of the past and the binge-watching of today. Shelley s novel created and cemented the concept of gothic fiction. It is a literary cornerstone for multiple later genres: romance, detective, sci-fi, mystery, dystopian, and superheroes. Students will identify ways that Dickens and Shelley dealt with narrative conflicts and learn how to analyze character development and pivotal scenes. We remember Dickens s people in the same way that we remember those of Shakespeare.

Emphasis in this class will be on critiquing literature, forming a thesis statement, writing literary commentary, and citing examples to defend opinion. Literary criticism is one of the forms of higher-level writing needed for a student to transition from a casual writer to an academic and ultimately college-level writer. Criticism follows an analytical structure that parallels the way scientists approach problem-solving by selecting an area of study, developing a thesis or theory, and then supporting it with evidence.

The student should expect to spend 2-3 hours per week on writing homework, investigation, or reading for this class. The class will meet twice a week with Wednesdays introducing the concepts and vocabulary of the literature and authors, and Friday serving as a writing lab to explore the mechanics of writing criticism. Topics in this year s class series include: A Trio of British Literature (1st semester) and A Trio of American Genres (2nd semester). Homeschool families may wish to count this course as a component, or partial, credit in English or language arts for purposes of a high school transcript.

6 students must enroll in order for this class to be held. Price: $569.00

Compass Literarians: A Creative Writing and Literary Magazine Board

Quarter 1, 2: Starts on September 7, 2018

Class Time: 2:00 pm      Duration: 55 min

Instructor: Anne Sharp

Grade Range: 8th-12th

Prerequisites:

This semester-long course is a home for students who love to write, who love to read writing, and who love to share writing with others. Writing is often a solitary act, but writers also need a community in which to grow. Mirroring the design of famous writing salons/groups like The Bloomsbury Group, The Algonquin Round Table, and The Inklings, this course fosters a Compass community that will encourage individual writers, promote literary collaboration and provide challenging feedback to boost creativity and artistic development.

Our first semester will focus on building a personal writing portfolio strengthening students' passions for genres and forms they re comfortable with as well as trying writing that is new to them. Using writing workshops to capitalize on what they already know and to encourage experimentation in unfamiliar areas, students can expect to grow as writers, editors and leaders in our Compass community.

Students will use their own work and the works of professional authors to understand what makes good writing, to improve technique, to experiment with new forms/genre and to understand the drafting, editing and publishing process.

Using the InkBlot Writers website that we built last year, students will have an internal and ongoing method for publishing. This portal will serve as both a place for students to explore their own fiction and nonfiction writing and to begin the process of creating online writing materials (columns, blogs, tutorials, videos, TED-type talks) for others.

Our second semester will focus on editing and publishing. Students in this course will select writings from their portfolios and prepare them to submit to contests, anthologies and publications beyond our Compass campus. While continuing to draft and explore their own personal writing, InkBlot students will assume editorial roles in the production of InkBlot, a beyond-our-classroom anthology. As editors, students will design and build an anthology, advertise the publication, solicit manuscripts and artwork, develop selection criteria, review/select/edit material, and learn the principles of layout and design. Embedded in this process are real-world experiences, and students will improve their communication and organization skills through goal-setting, time management, meeting deadlines, emailing, confirmations, proofreading, etc.

Students should expect to spend 2-3 hours per week out side of class on investigation, writing, or editing for this class. Homeschool families may wish to count this course as a component, or partial, credit in English or language arts for purposes of a high school transcript.

6 students must enroll in order for this class to be held. Price: $269.00

Nonfiction Seminar: The Art of the Personal Essay

Quarter 1, 2: Starts on September 7, 2018

Class Time: 12:00 pm      Duration: 55 min

Instructor: Anne Sharp

Grade Range: 11th-12th

Prerequisites:

Figuring out who you are and what you think is the core of growing up. The personal essay provides a process of discovery as well as a finished product a resulting chronicle of both journey and person.
Going beyond the five-paragraph template that encourages cookie cutter essays, this course will focus on developing a unique architecture embedded with personal style, voice, and narrative structure. In short, students will uncover not just who they are as individuals, but who they are as writers and how to fuse these two identities into a creative, organized, clear, and elegant essay.
In the first part of the semester, we will focus on who you are and where you re heading (nonfictional character analysis). Recognizing that some students will have college essays on their minds and calendars, we ll devote lessons to analyzing applications, prompts, and the general process of showcasing self on paper.

As part of an application, an essay fills in the gaps and provides an opportunity to present what s not anywhere else. A well-written essay puts the writer across the table from the reader. - It s a powerful form.

We ll examine how professional writers put their selves in front of us. We will read essays by Henry David Thoreau, George Orwell, Robert Benchley, James Baldwin, Joan Didion, Annie Dillard, and Joyce Carol Oates. Students will strengthen their observation skills, learning to take note of people, places and situations around them and use this data to add richness and detail to writing. Students will strengthen a writing focus by narrowing not just to a topic, but an individual, a moment, a scene, or a conversation that embodies a polished thesis that may or may not be overtly stated.

The student should expect to spend 2-3 hours per week on writing homework, research, or reading for this class. The class will meet twice a week, with Wednesdays introducing writing concepts and literature for the week and Friday serving as a writing lab in which students revise and refine their drafts. Students will keep a journal and a portfolio to organize their writings and class handouts.

6 students must enroll in order for this class to be held. Price: $569.00

Public Speaking for Success

Quarter 1, 2: Starts on September 7, 2018

Class Time: 11:00 am      Duration: 55 min

Instructor: Monifa Hamilton

Grade Range: 8th-12th

Prerequisites:

Glossophobia is defined as the fear of public speaking", and in a recent survey conducted by Chapman University, public speaking was again defined as the #1 fear! Unfortunately, it is that fear that hinders many teens from becoming expressive, confident, and capable of speaking and being heard. Yet, public speaking is an invaluable skillset that we need throughout our lives!
In this class, students will find their voice! Preparation is the key, so students will learn how to select and formulate a speech topic, get to know their audience, and develop a speech. The class will learn how to control the nerves, incorporate gestures, eye contact, and other nonverbal body language techniques, and how to enhance their presentations with vocal variety, props, and visual aids in addition to learning the Art of Engagement.
Students will practice three speaking styles: Impromptu, Extemporaneous, and Original Oratory. Impromptu Speech is an off-the-cuff oral response to a question, statement, or phrase with minimal preparation. Participants will learn how to quickly think on their feet and deliver a two- minute speech. (Coach Mo won this category at Toastmasters International, District 27). Extemporaneous Speech is prepared on short notice with thirty minutes to outline a position on an issue or theme given three prompts to consider. Original Oratory, a favorite in the National Forensics and Speech competition, can be an informative or persuasive speech that is composed, rehearsed, and delivered by the speaker on any topic they choose. (This is a category that Coach Mo competed in while in high school and placed as a finalist for New York State.) At the end of the quarter, we will crown an Original Oratory Speech Champion...the first for Compass!

7 students must enroll in order for this class to be held. Price: $260.00

Shakespeare Off the Page: MacBeth

Quarter 1, 2: Starts on September 14, 2018

Class Time: 11:00 am      Duration: 115 min

Instructor: Heather Sanderson

Grade Range: 8th-12th

Prerequisites:

Read it! Act it! Students will enjoy this two-hour, 10-week workshop with Shakespearian coach Heather Sanderson who hails from England and is known for instilling a love of Shakespeare into the hearts of students throughout the Greater DC area. The class will explore Shakespeare's timeless tragedy, Macbeth, and analyze its characters, plot, themes and motives. Students will take on the personas of King Duncan, General Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, the Three Witches, and a cast of courtesans, soldiers, murders, and apparitions in this tale of corruption, political ambition, and paranoia.

Students will read various roles, study and act out scenes, practice monologues, and work through the literature while having fun with fellow teens. Theatre games will be used to encourage collaboration, and specially designed improv exercises will be used to stretch teens' imaginations and help them get "in character". The class will use read-aloud and in-class dramatization to decipher the original language, word choices, and to identify suspicion, guilt, madness, conflict, and betrayal in this work. The class will work from complete texts (not redacted, abridged, or simplified school versions) to hear and practice Elizabethan lingo. (How did someone of Shakespeare's time hurl insults or woo a woman?) Students will learn how the Bard crafted scenes and conveyed the primary storyline and sub-plots in a dark tale that has endured for over 400 years.

Several scenes will be shared with parents on the last day of class as a way for students to demonstrate their appreciation and understanding of what they have learned about Shakespeare. Instructor Heather Sanderson shares a teaching style based on actions and interactions, developed from years of experience coaching Shakespeare in a way that appeals to students. Her approach brings abstract concepts, complex themes, and difficult language to the students' level, so that they can relate to and appreciate Shakespeare. This is a 10-week workshop that meets for two hours per week from September 14 through November 16. The course fee includes the cost of the selected paperback edition of the play. Homeschool families may wish to count this course as a component, or partial, credit in English or Fine Arts (drama) for purposes of a high school transcript.

8 students must enroll in order for this class to be held. Price: $281.00

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