Language Arts Class Descriptions

All | Math | Science/Technology | Extracurricular | History/Humanities | Art/Music | Language Arts | Foreign Languages

Showing 11 classes

Masterworks: Literature Roundtable

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

Class Time: 3:30 pm      Duration: 90 min

Instructor: Melanie Kosar

Grade Range: 11th-12th

Prerequisites:

This is a year-long class that is in-progress. Mid-term enrollment may be possible by contacting Compass to discuss placement.

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

Smart Start: Thinking Fun for Young Learners

Quarter 3: Starts on January 9, 2019

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: $146.00

Traditional Tales Retold: Japanese Folklore- Xander and the Island of Lost Monsters

Quarter 3: Starts on January 9, 2019

Class Time: 12:00 pm      Duration: 55 min

Instructor: Megan Reynolds

Grade Range: 5th-7th

Prerequisites:

Follow the adventures of Japanese-American sixth grader Xander Miyamoto as his world is turned upside when he disregards a warning in a comic book. Xander s planned to spend spring break week playing video games but instead stumbles into a wild adventure chock full of weird monsters- flying white rats, a fire-breathing bird, a giant, a snow demon, and other creepy things. Xander and his best friend Peyton find themselves in an action-filled plot where they must rely on courage, friendship, and pride of heritage. Some readers will recognize this fantasy adventure as a modern re-telling of the legend of Momotaro, a story known to every Japanese school child and likened to Percy Jackson.

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: $146.00

Word Masters: Verbal Analogies and Vocab Challenges

Quarter 3: Starts on January 9, 2019

Class Time: 10:00 am      Duration: 55 min

Instructor: Megan Reynolds

Grade Range: 4th-6th

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: $146.00

Writers' Workshop: Jump into Journalism

Quarter 3: Starts on January 9, 2019

Class Time: 11:00 am      Duration: 55 min

Instructor: Karen Hickman

Grade Range: 5th-6th

Prerequisites:

Journalism--the activity or profession of writing for newspapers, magazines, or news websites or preparing news to be broadcast. Students will explore the wide range of writing that falls under "journalism" and will practice drafting reports, news writing, news coverage, and feature writing, and possibly photojournalism.

Students will learn the specific art of news writing, and will evaluate style, ethics and objectivity when we put our words out there for the public. The class will look at comic-based journalism and will create their own cartoon to disseminate a message or promote a platform. Fake news, the Fourth Estate, and Freedom of the Press will be included in discussions about the roles journalists play from reporter and columnist to copy editor or TV broadcaster. Students will add several new skills to their writer's toolkit- the journalistic writing and the mindset of a journalist.
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: $161.00

Fabricating Fiction: SciFi Short Stories

Quarter 3: Starts on January 11, 2019

Class Time: 11:00 am      Duration: 55 min

Instructor: Anne Sharp

Grade Range: 7th-8th

Prerequisites:

Middle school writers will explore the evolution of science fiction and combine personal research with creative writing to create worlds beyond our present time and place. Students will investigate current and future innovations/advances in the fields of science, technology, and medicine then apply their findings to the question "What if?", to build a sci-fi plot and create an original short story. Each week the class will analyze excerpts from well-known science fiction to identify key elements of the genre as well as the elements of a short story-characters, setting, plot and tone. Students will examine passages from classic and modern literature such as Frankenstein, stories by Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury and Rod Serling, detective magazines, comic books and more, along with film clips, art, or photographs for inspiration in their writing. 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 conduct some research, writing, and 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.

6 students must enroll in order for this class to be held. Price: $171.00

Shakespeare Off the Page: As You Like It

Quarter 3: Starts on January 11, 2019

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 class 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 pastoral comedy, As You Like It, and analyze its characters, plot, themes and motives. Students will take on the personas of an exiled Duke, his banished daughter, her beloved cousin, an usurping twin brother, a love-sick hero, a scornful shepherdess and her forlorn suitor, and a cast that includes a clown, a wrestler, a goddess, and numerous lords, including the brooding Jaques whose words "all the world's a stage" are known the world over.

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 the serious undertones 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 this tale of betrayal, love, and redemption 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 an 8-week workshop that meets for two hours per week, coinciding with Compass s 3rd quarter schedule. 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 (British Literature) or Fine Arts (drama) for purposes of a high school transcript. The 2018-19 series for this class, includes: First Semester, 10-week Session - MacBeth; 3rd Quarter, 8-week Session As You Like It.

8 students must enroll in order for this class to be held. Price: $228.00

Building Blocks of American Lit: A Trio of American Genres

Quarter 3,4: Starts on January 9, 2019

Class Time: 1:00 pm      Duration: 55 min

Instructor: Anne Sharp

Grade Range: 9th-10th

Prerequisites:

We leave behind our studies of British literature and cross the Atlantic into America. American literature is closely aligned with advances in printing technology and the railroad industry. In order to explore a new land in person and in print, fledgling Americans built an empire of magazines, newspapers and journals. These publications fostered the development of essays, poetry, and short stories as the beginnings of American Literature.

The first part of this course will focus on essay as among the first American genre. Our struggle for independence from England required putting thoughts and opinions into words in writing and in speeches. We will look at the development of the essay from Revolutionary times to now.

As part of an independent study, students will work in partnerships or small groups to discover additional writers and essays on topics of personal interest. Through this research, students will see that essayists draw on their personal lives, yet find a way to focus their experiences on public matters and connect to the interests, concerns and events of their society.

Broadening the concept of an essay beyond the five paragraph construction, students will discover that essays exist not just in academia, but everywhere in daily life: op-ed pieces in newspapers, letters, speeches, blogs, columns. They will also learn that the best essays do not follow a formula, but are a creative and unique reflection of a writer s voice, mind and passions.

The second portion of this course will focus on the genre of the short story. Short stories emerged from fresh young writers who created a body of literature to chronicle the settlement and development of a new country its land, its people and its economy.

Short stories provide a wonderful opportunity to explore themes, and this course will introduce American writers chronologically and by the themes of their works. We will begin with America s Puritan roots and Nathaniel Hawthorne, then move to the pioneering of the Midwest with Mark Twain and Willa Cather. We ll explore modern social class through the writings of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Katherine Anne Porter. And we ll blast off into the universe with the stories of Ray Bradbury. As part of an independent/partner study, students will be given the mission of discovering additional stories and writers and reinventing another thematic grouping. Through this regrouping, students will see that themes defy time, place, gender, and social class and truly reflect the diverse America our country is. Students will examine the ways writers create narrative conflicts and develop characters. Students will identify and analyze pivotal scenes.

America had just begun to develop a sense of culture and the beginnings of a literary society when The Civil War broke out, bringing a halt to entertainment and reading for enjoyment. The sense of pathos that developed during this time for soldiers, slaves, one half of the country against the other highlighted a need for written expression that touched emotions. Poetry emerged, and writers like Whitman, Emerson, Thoreau, Dickinson and Julia Ward Howe used stanzas to capture the feelings of a nation. We will move from these voices to those of the Harlem Renaissance and the mid 20th century to explore how poetry has always been at the forefront of American Literature.

Emphasis in this class will be on critiquing literature, forming a thesis statement, keeping a reading response journal, writing literary commentary, and citing examples to defend position. Literary criticism is higher-level writing necessary for a student to transition from a casual writer to an academic and ultimately college-level writer. Criticism follows an analytical structure that parallels how 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 Fridays serving as a writing lab to explore the mechanics of writing criticism.

6 students must enroll in order for this class to be held. Price: $684.00

Nonfiction Seminar: The 21st Century Essay & Its Role in Media

Quarter 3,4: Starts on January 9, 2019

Class Time: 12:00 pm      Duration: 55 min

Instructor: Anne Sharp

Grade Range: 11th-12th

Prerequisites:

Sometimes form follows function, and this course focuses on how the classic essay transposes in today s technology. Students will examine the role of nonfiction in our emerging century as they explore how new media, with its rapid and fluid access to information influences writing, reading, and viewing. Shifting from the personal essay to other forms of sharing what you know blogs, posts, reviews, TED Talks, for example students will analyze how form is shaped by purpose, audience, time, space and other elements. As they continue to search for examples of strong narrative voice and good storytelling in our survey new media, students will work to discern fact from opinion, observation from inference vetting information for accuracy, truth, bias, credibility, documentation and reliable sources. They will become more critical, discriminating readers, who are better able to separate the realms of fiction and nonfiction. It s hard to do these days. Course content will come from appropriate online sources--blogs, websites, social media, podcasts as well as from traditional publications--newspapers, magazines, television, radio. We will listen, view and read material by modern essayists such as Marilynne Robinson, Sarah Vowell, David Sedaris, Sloan Crosley, Neil deGrass Tyson, Anna Quindlan, Peggy Noonan, David Brooks, Malcolm Gladwell, Jason Weiser and others who influence what we think, read, consume and do.

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 the week and Friday serving as a writing lab designed to revise and refine drafts. Students will be expected to 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: $684.00

Compass Literarians: A Creative Writing & Literary Magazine Board

Quarter 3,4: Starts on January 11, 2019

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: $342.00

Debate-Able: Debate for Teens

Quarter 3,4: Starts on January 11, 2019

Class Time: 11:00 am      Duration: 55 min

Instructor: Mo Hamilton

Grade Range: 9th-12th

Prerequisites:

Desmond Tutu once said, Don't raise your voice, improve your argument." Do you have what it takes to strategically win an argument? We live in a world where you will be challenged to think for yourself, defend opinions, and question conventions in society. Learn how to respond with evidence and enthusiasm when your opinion is challenged in this fun and interactive class!

Effective debate is a life skill that incorporates logic, communication, and public speaking skills. Being able to debate helps teens improve reasoning, conflict resolution, and confidence. In this class, students will learn the fundamentals of debate including persuasive appeals, a brief history of debate, and different styles of debate.

Desmond Tutu once said, Don't raise your voice, improve your argument." Do you have what it takes to strategically win an argument? We live in a world where you will be challenged to think for yourself, defend opinions, and question conventions in society. Learn how to respond with evidence and enthusiasm when your opinion is challenged in this fun and interactive class!

Effective debate is a life skill that incorporates logic, communication, and public speaking skills. Being able to debate helps teens improve reasoning, conflict resolution, and confidence. In this class, students will learn the fundamentals of debate including persuasive appeals, a brief history of debate, and different styles of debate.

Over the semester, students will learn how to prepare and deliver three types of argument: The traditional, prepared, on-on-one, Lincoln-Douglas style debate; a researched and practiced Public Policy debate on a current topic affecting the country or community; and the off-the-cuff, think-on-your-feet Extemporaneous style debate in which students are paired to argue a specified topic with limited preparation time. Each week, students will practice giving brief impromptu speeches, delivering prepared presentations, and debating classmates.

Debaters will learn how to structure an argument, build their evidence, and best practices for researching a topic. Students will learn techniques for quoting sources, presenting statistics, acknowledging opposing views, and incorporating visual aids in debate. The class will also practice stylistic elements of public speaking such as using transitional words, timing, gestures, and eye contact. In this class, students will learn how to really listen to their opponent and how to craft a rebuttal. At the same time, debaters will be taught to read their audience, hold their attention, and establish credibility. Students will practice evaluating classmates and giving, receiving, and incorporating constructive feedback. For purposes of a high school transcript, homeschool families might chose to count this class as a component, or partial credit, in communication.

7 students must enroll in order for this class to be held. Price: $322.00

11 events displayed.