Rhetoric and Composition 1

Year-long

This course develops skills in critical reading and writing necessary for success in Upper School courses. Students hone their ability to select significant concepts from a variety of fiction and nonfiction texts and learn to analyze and evaluate those concepts, with a critical eye on their intended purpose and audience. Students will be introduced to the tenets of sound argument, including identifying appropriate and convincing evidence from a selection of mentor texts. Students will apply what they learn from master writers to their own pieces to help them discover the elements of effective argumentative and analytical style.

Rhetoric and Composition 2

Year-long

This course builds upon the skills developed in Rhetoric and Composition 1 by refining the practice of effective style, organization, argument, analysis, and research. Students apply their advanced critical reading and analysis skills to selected texts in multiple disciplines.

AP Literature and Composition

Year-long

Reading and discussing literature invites students to examine their own ideas closely and to support those ideas with specific details.  Students discuss and defend their critical thinking with textual support almost daily in small Literary Circle groups, full class presentations, or in analytical writing. The first semester provides a chronological, close textual study of the highlights of British literature.  The concepts of heroism, pilgrimage, unrequited love, and self analysis link our discussions to the present as we study Beowulf, Chaucer, and Shakespeare, among others.  Students develop note-taking entries to further strengthen creative and critical thinking, and write formal analytical essays using the Writing Process for pre-writing, outlining, peer editing, and revision.  

The second semester shifts to a thematic approach to British literature, focusing on topics such as Youth, War, Love, and Ideals.  A research paper of literary analysis, creative literary assessments, and the final thematic Reading Research Presentation provide students the opportunity to select themes to study, works to read, and topics to develop into an argument for their final exam presentation.


Throughout the year, Advanced Placement students participate in outside reading, creative assessments, student directed Literary Circles, weekly instruction and/or practice in stylistic and analytic writing for Free Response Questions on the AP English Literature Exam, and serialized reading and analysis of David Copperfield.

Journalism Honors

Year-long

This rigorous course will introduce the tenets of effective journalism and reportage, digital publication design, and critical analysis of media. As scholars of journalism and empowered citizens, students will critically analyze the mass media’s coverage of current events on local, national, and world-wide levels. They will learn to regard with healthy skepticism information they receive from the web, the television, and the radio; they will confront their own hindrances to critical thinking as they challenge the assumptions, inferences, and opinions in both subjective and objective reportage.

Students will write for real-world publications, including The Silhouette (Carolina Day’s yearbook), The Asheville Citizen-Times, and a variety of on and off-campus platforms; as such, their work will be subject to deadlines that carry real-world consequences. The writing and digital material they submit for publication will reflect rigorous engagement with the drafting and revision process.

In addition to a writing-intensive curriculum focused on development of clean and powerful style, this course will permit students to pursue their individual interests in digital media creation, photography, and advertising as staff members of The Silhouette.

AP English Language and Composition

Semester

This fast-paced, writing-intensive course challenges students’ critical thinking skills through rigorous rhetorical analysis of non-fiction texts and refinement of effective argumentative strategies. The course will introduce students to the practical application of sound logic and reasoning as they grapple with both classic and contemporary texts as well as their own arguments. Students will prepare for the AP English Language and Composition exam in May by developing the skills of critical reading, analysis, synthesis, and argument.

Creative Writing

Semester

This course comprises the study and writing of three genres: poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction.  Students read professional examples of each genre, and they read articles about crafting these genres.  Of course, students engage in writing exercises nearly every class period and evening.  Each Wednesday, students submit a manuscript and receive prompt, thorough written commentary.  Every three weeks, students hold workshops during which they dedicate an entire class period to discussing each author’s piece he/she selected to further develop/polish.  The class culminates in a public reading.

Wit Lit: Reading, Appreciating, and Writing Humorous Works

Semester

Humor is a powerful tool of persuasion that requires intellectual pursuit of a topic and a sophisticated delivery (in regard to tone, surprise, pacing, and originality/specificity).  Students will read, study, discuss, and emulate a variety of humorous fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. They will practice many forms and techniques of humor, simultaneously delighting and persuading.  Peer-editing and class workshops are crucial parts of this course, as students must test-drive their original pieces before improving them.  By the end of the semester, students will be armed with at least three polished, hilarious pieces, and they will participate in a public reading.  After all, isn't making people laugh and think one of the best superpowers?  

Western Philosophy Honors

Semester

At its heart, the practice of philosophy is deeply concerned with the question of identity and being, either at an individual, collective, or national level. In their pursuit of answers to this question, the Ancient Greeks created the conceptual underpinnings of not only their own society but also the entire western world. In an effort to understand the relevance of this fact in modern society, this course will explore the major works and history of western philosophy, beginning with the pre-Socratic Greeks and continuing through the fall of the Roman Empire. Students will analyze important primary texts of the Ancient world, considering them in terms of both their own context and in relation to the contemporary world. This class will encourage the development of critical reading and writing skills through the use of class discussions, historical research, and analytical writing.

Contemporary Southern Literature: Backyard Brilliance

Semester

"Writing serious work one wants to be read and to last isn't like a hobby that can be picked up and put down, it's a lovely obsession and a very demanding joy"--Kaye Gibbons (born, raised, and living in North Carolina)


After Huck Finn “learned” Americans that “Just because you’re taught that something’s right and everyone believes it’s right, it don’t make it right,” Ernest Hemingway famously claimed all modern American literature sprang from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  Huck’s voice brought southern humor, landscapes, tensions, and mannerisms to literary life.  Since the 1950s--thanks to the colorful and profound works of William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, Harper Lee, Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, Eudora Welty, James Agee,  Carson McCullers, Zora Neale Hurston, and Thomas Wolfe--southern literature has flourished, and it is redolent of many distinct regional cultures.  Contemporary writers who have cultivated this southern literary blossoming include the likes of Alice Walker, Cormac McCarthy, Pat Conroy, Dorothy Allison, Ernest Gaines, Harry Crews, George Singleton, and Wiley Cash.  Indeed, numerous award-winning authors of southern literature call North Carolina their home: Lee Smith, Ron Rash, Kaye Gibbons, Tommy Hayes, Sharyn McCrumb, and Fred Chappell--to name a few. In this class, students will read, discuss, and interpret contemporary southern stories, essays, and poems.  They will also be treated to workshops/lectures from local renowned writers.  Since we will read only contemporary literature, the themes, conflicts, characters, settings, and sensibilities should be familiar as we contemplate the New South.  As in all literature courses, students will hone their critical thinking and writing skills through discussion and analysis.  Additionally, students will try their hand at writing their southern experiences.  Y’all come!

Reading a Movie: Film Technique, Philosophy, and Purpose Honors

Semester

The study of film opens the door to understanding the world and self. Film paints the broadest pictures of humanity and the smallest snapshots. Through analysis and research of film techniques, study of directorial choices, and synthesis of theme and context, students will examine films from multiple genres and time periods.  Student discussion supported by specific references to film technique, choice, or theme constitutes an essential element of class. Students will study both classic and contemporary films and have the opportunity to make selections for individual study and research.  During and after viewing, students will write argumentative, interpretive, and creative analyses of films. This course includes speakers, talks, and video on film technique as well as theatre viewing when appropriate.

Social Justice: Stories That Make a Difference Honors

Semester

Powerful stories enlighten us and embolden us to make life better for others.  Is there anything more influential than a vivid, poignant story? Effective narration, setting, plot, and characterization allow us to live as others--or to perhaps recognize ourselves.  Beyond this reading experience, we need study and reflection to help us understand the complexity that surrounds any given issue.  In this class, students will read fictional and nonfictional novels and short stories that spotlight important, controversial tensions within specific societies. They will discover and proclaim their personal reactions to these tensions through guided and thoughtfully revised writing.   

The Power of the Graphic Novel

Semester

Once only relegated to the Sunday morning paper or the backpacks of adolescents, comics (or, as they are referred to by academics-- “graphic narratives,” “sequential art,” or “image-texts”) have clawed their way into the American academic consciousness, as evidenced by the increasing number of universities offering coursework in this field. To understand this highly complex medium, students will apply their close-reading, analysis, and research skills to a survey of the best modern graphic novels, including but not limited to the Pulitzer-Prize winning Maus by Art Spiegelman, The Watchmen and V for Vendetta by Alan Moore, and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.


To ground their critical analysis of the contemporary comics canon, students will engage with the theories offered by scholar Scott McCloud in his revolutionary text Understanding Comics. Students interested in art, communication, and pop culture will particularly delight in the sophisticated intersection of the three in the graphic novel.

 

 

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