Upper School American Literature
Term: Yearlong 2018-19, September 4–May 24
Target Grade Levels: Grades 9–10; 11th–12th graders welcome
Instructor: Mrs. Shaltanis
Schedule: T/Th 2:00 p.m. EST, 60–75 min.
(Enroll in this course and the corresponding history course and save 195.00! To take advantage of this discount, call our office at 866-730-0711 to register.)
This course promotes analytical reading and responsive writing skills in order to better contemplate universal ideas of humankind. Delving into the rich collection of American novels, short stories, and poetry, the teacher and students examine characters and their motivations, conflicts and their resolutions, and themes prevalent throughout history. Students learn to recognize literary devices, such as schemes and tropes, and utilize them in writing expository, persuasive, and analytical essays. Learners will be expected to annotate various portions of text, participate in class discussions and draw connections among the chosen readings. In this upper school course, students will seek and examine the virtue and wisdom in these great books, while also noting the ways in which the authors influence one another and participate in the “Great Conversation” of Western civilization.
While this course primarily features literary study, it also incorporates some study from American history, helping students to see and enjoy the integration of both history and literature. This class is paired with our upper school American Government course, which is scheduled back-to-back with that course in a “block.” Students who take both courses receive a discount. This course may also be taken as a standalone literature study.
Placement: The target grades for this course are 9th–10th grade. Students must have successfully completed an 8th-grade-level writing course; they will be expected to have competency in vocabulary, annotation, essay-writing (various forms of written discourse) and know how to write a summary and reflect on a text (though the instructor will work to develop these skills throughout the course). Students are expected to have strong reading and writing skills as well as the interest and capacity for engaging in discussion about literature and history. Students suited for this course will continue refining the following scholarship skills as they approach mastery:
- Actively and independently engage in note-taking
- Apply teacher critiques
- Adhere to deadlines
- Be responsible for class and project preparedness
- Take initiative to ask questions for understanding and comprehension
High School Credit: This course is the equivalent of one high school credit in English or literature.
Syllabus: Download the 2018-19 course syllabus here.
How much time will students spend on homework?
This varies by student according to his or her pace. However, the average reader can expect to spend approximately 1.5–2 hours per week reading course materials, and approximately half an hour to an hour working on the questions. Students will submit regular weekly assignments. Midterm and final exams will be given.
How is faith integrated with these courses?
These seminar-style discussions unfold organically. One could approach the texts with a focus on defensive critiques of classical authors. By contrast, we seek to read charitably. We treat classic authors as if they were friends, gleaning every available truth while also examining them from a robustly Christian perspective.
Click here to view the syllabus for this course which includes the finalized reading list.*
*Required texts are not included in the purchase of the course.
Phaedra Shaltanis is a seasoned classical educator with 20 years of experience teaching in the classical tradition. Her experience includes home educating her four children, teaching in private schools, creating a classical curriculum for young learners, serving as a leader in various programs, and mentoring parents and teachers in classical education. Phaedra cherishes conversations built on God’s truth and strives to engage others through discourse, particularly in the areas of literature and history. She hopes to encourage her students toward a stronger ardor for language as they seek after God and treasure their membership in Christ’s kingdom.
Computer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with processor with a speed of 1 Ghz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with MacOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do NOT recommending using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.
High-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with an download/upload speed of 5/1Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.
Headset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class.
Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm
Zoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use.
To download Zoom:
- Visit zoom.us/download.
- Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
- Open and run the installer on your computer.
- In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.
from Classical Academic Press