MHS English Department

The English Department faculty enables students to become critical readers, writers and thinkers. Students are equipped to read the world and write the future, with subtlety, acumen and precision. Students read widely and, with guidance, direct and cultivate their own rich reading lives. The curriculum over four years is designed to provide students with varied and rigorous work to help them thrive in high school, college, and participate actively and critically in a democratic society. Students engage in meaningful discourse with their peers, craft their own message and learn, through the writing process, to write with power. Students are offered increasingly sophisticated and elaborate writing and analytic tasks and are called upon to perform steadily more original, inventive, independent work. Over four years, students build upon the foundation for a life lived with curiosity, critical thinking skills, writing competence, enjoyment and a non-judgmental outlook on our world.

9th Grade Program

What is the power of story? This is the framing question that freshmen explore as they transition to high school. The Ninth Grade English curriculum combines independent reading and a selection of whole class texts to create a rich literary experience. Students will read, discuss, analyze, and write about texts such as The Odyssey, Antigone, Romeo and Juliet, Enrique’s Journey, Life of Pi, and many short stories and poems. Vibrant and current classroom libraries provide students with hundreds of choices for their independent reading—classics to contemporary, fiction and non-fiction. Students find their voices and hone their writing craft through frequent practice and writer’s workshop. They write across multiple genres, including expository, research, creative, and persuasive writing. The year culminates in the iSearch paper, which is self directed and includes all of the modes of writing practiced over the course of the year.

10th Grade Program

Who am I? Through the age-appropriate lens of identity, sophomores explore the internal and external forces that shape who we are and who we will become. In Forms of Literature and Writing (or Tenth Grade English), students study multiple forms of literature, including short stories, poetry, essays, fiction, non-fiction, film, and drama. All tenth graders read Night, along with other Holocaust literature; dystopias, such as Fahrenheit 451 or 1984; Macbeth; East of Eden; and contemporary fiction, such as The Kite Runner or Different Seasons. Students will engage in deep discussion and writing around these whole class texts. In addition, they will read a rich selection of independent reading titles. As it did their freshman year, independent reading will complement their whole class reading and increase their volume of reading. They will further hone their writing skills through varied and purposeful assignments: essays, editorials, memoirs, and more.

Junior Composition and Literature

Also known as The American Experience, Junior Composition and Literature is an exciting course that focuses on the American voices of our past, present and future. Through a gamut of classic American and contemporary texts, art, and current media and film, the course explores the origins of the American Dream--the promise of a good life in exchange for hard work. Through their reading and writing, students will explore this promise and how it shapes our history, our discourse and our identity. Units focused on the Puritans, the nature of work in America, race, the American landscape and dystopia help students explore the rich, complex and complicated cultural history of our great country.

AP Language and Composition

AP Language and Composition is a college level course that helps students become skilled readers and writers through engagement with multiple forms of predominantly non-fiction texts, including narratives, research, speeches, analytical and argumentative essays. With a focus on argument and how rhetoric shapes text, students read a wide range of texts from ancient civilizations all the way up to modern prose. As students read, they’ll pay attention to the author’s purpose, the intended audience, and how the two are tied together through language. Students will strive to strengthen the effectiveness of their writing through close reading and frequent practice, applying rhetorical strategies and incorporating information from multiple sources.

English 11 Honors

Over the course of the year, students study how our best writers use their craft to explore and expose the complexity of the American Experience. We analyze how our literary artists have been influenced by and respond to personal experiences, the cultural and political climate of their time, and to other writers and thinkers. Our focus is on learning, thinking and writing about the literature of our great and vastly complex nation. Students read and write widely and engage in rich and extended class discussion. Among the extensive reading list required, students read The Great Gatsby, The Awakening, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Students write across many genres, make frequent class presentations and engage in a close study of craft.

The Mamaroneck Associated Press

Facebook. Twitter. NBC Nightly News. CNN. Instagram. Journalism as a medium is changing due to the internet and social media. This course will develop an online “newspaper” and blog for news in real-time, called The MAP: The Mamaroneck Associated Press. The MAP’s focus will be where students will tackle different roles of the 21st century journalist: blogger, online reporter, videographer, radio broadcaster, “tweeter”, etc. While the course will be published through an online site, it will also explore/study and develop the many skills of traditional journalism, both reporting and broadcast. This class will exist separately from the school newspaper, The Globe. Students active in the school newspaper may wish to take the course to develop specific skills, although participation in the school paper will remain an extracurricular activity.

The Art of Film

In this course students will discover new ways to look at film. Students will learn how to talk about what they see in a way that goes beyond value judgments and emotional responses. Students will be introduced to the language of critics and filmmakers and will analyze films from such directors as Chaplin, Welles, Hitchcock, Lang, Scorsese, and Woody Allen. Readings include film scripts, biographies, and critical commentaries. In addition students will be expected to write several critical and analytical papers on the work of individual filmmakers. This is a course for those who seriously love films!

College Writing

This one-semester course, offered under the auspices of Iona College and taught by Mamaroneck teachers, is designed to help students master the process of writing mature, well-crafted expository essays for a variety of purposes and audiences. The curriculum for this course is the same one students would follow in a college composition course, and the expectations for the work produced are high. We’ll study and write personal essays, position papers, research papers, and more.

College Creative Writing

All writing is creative, so what’s different about this course? There will be a greater emphasis on risk-taking. We’ll experiment with new forms, and we’ll pursue artistry in language use. Short stories, poetry, personal essays, and journals will constitute a much larger part of the writing than analytical essays. We’ll write daily, either in class or at home, and we’ll share our work. “Freewriting” and “Focused Freewriting” will be regular class activities. Great writers are also voracious and critical readers, so we’ll be reading many varied selections --with an emphasis on short stories and poetry by modern and contemporary writers. We’ll also read works about writing and being a writer by authors such as Stephen King and Anne Lamott. Students enrolling in this course have the option of taking the course for college credit through an agreement with SUNY Albany.

Psychology and Literature

Beginning with Sigmund Freud, the field of psychology has had an enormous impact on our lives. In this class, we will explore the impact of Freud’s ideas on recent literature. As background, we will discuss basic concepts such as the id, ego and superego, as well as the Oedipal Complex. We will also keep dream journals and read from Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams. Novels such as Yehoshua’s The Lover and films such as “Girl, Interrupted” reflect a growing interest in the dreamlike stream of consciousness. The course will conclude with Salinger’s Franny and Zooey, which compares psychology and religion, asking if psychology can possibly answer all of the questions it poses. This is a course for those who love recent – 20th and 21st century—literature and are interested in psychology.

Classic Science Fiction and Contemporary Culture

In this course students will investigate how science fiction often becomes science fact. We will read works such as: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Films such as Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep/Blade Runner and TV shows such as Lost will also inspire our discussions. Our study will help us to see that cell phones, Google, American Idol and the ipod were envisioned long ago.

Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition

Advanced Placement English provides college-level work in both reading and writing. The course follows the genre approach, and students read a wide range of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction-- from Shakespeare to the work of contemporary poets and novelists. Students are expected to write on an advanced level and to analyze and critically evaluate the readings in well-organized, coherent compositions. The Advanced Placement English exam is required at the end of the course.