Academics
Curriculum

English

The English curriculum is the backbone of the curriculum at Grier School. Earnest Gaines once said, “The Six Golden Rules of Writing: Read, read, read, and write, write, write.” Here at Grier, we take this to heart. We focus on the writing process, and we believe that through training in writing and composition, literature, grammar, and vocabulary, we prepare our students well for studies at the postsecondary level. Every student is required to take at least one English class each year and may take additional electives when possible. While we seek to prepare students for university expectations, we also hope to instill a love of language and literature within the students who are in our classes.

Courses

List of 13 items.

  • English 7: Language Arts and Literary Elements I

    Seventh grade English is designed to focus on writing and the analysis of literature while covering grammar, vocabulary, and spelling in depth. Literary studies empower the students to analyze, synthesize, and enjoy multiple genres and to be able to identify the five elements of the story. The writing process is reinforced by developing expository and creative pieces such as short essays, poetry, and personal reflections. Grammar studies include a sequential review of basic concepts, the eight parts of speech and four types of sentences, and an introduction to complex sentences, adjective and adverb clauses, and appositive phrases.
  • English 7 Honors: Language Arts and Literary Elements I

    English 7 Honors follows a similar curriculum to English 7 while adding several more challenging texts, assignments, and projects. Prerequisites: Teacher recommendation, a grade of 85 or better in subsequent honors course or 90 or better in other English course, and an English placement test. (ESL students can only mainstream into Honors prior to January. They must meet all pre-requisites.)
  • English 8: Language Arts and Literary Elements II

    Eighth grade English continues the reinforcement of critical thinking skills as well as the sequential mastery of basic grammatical and mechanical skills, including the eight parts of speech. The writing process is reinforced by creative and expository writing exercises. Literary studies thematically explore the responsibilities of personal relationships while reinforcing the recognition of the five basic story elements. In addition to the five basic literary elements, students will study the five steps in the plot and points of view. Poetry terminology is also introduced. Vocabulary and spelling studies continue with words derived from the literary texts.
  • English 8 Honors: Language Arts and Literary Elements II

    English 8 Honors continues the reinforcement of critical thinking skills as well as the sequential mastery of basic grammatical and mechanical skills, including the eight parts of speech. This course follows the curriculum of English 8 while including additional and more challenging texts, exams, assignments, and a research project. The writing process is reinforced mostly by expository assignments with a few creative assignments. Students are introduced to the research process resulting in a research paper and project. Literary studies thematically explore the responsibilities of personal relationships while reinforcing the recognition of the basic story elements. In addition to the five basic literary elements, students will study the five steps in the plot and points of view. Poetry terminology is also introduced. Vocabulary and spelling studies continue with words derived from the literary texts. Prerequisites: Teacher recommendation, a grade of 85 or better in subsequent honors course or 90 or better in college preparatory courses, and an English placement test. (ESL students can only mainstream into Honors prior to January. They must meet all prerequisites.)
  • English 9: Introduction to Literary Genres

    This course introduces students to works representing a variety of cultures and literary genres: short story, novel, poetry, and drama. Emphasis is on careful and accurate reading and comprehension of the material. Students master vocabulary through vocabulary lists derived from the text. They also continue their study of grammar. Students work on their writing skills through frequent essays and a research paper.
  • English 9 Honors: Introduction to Literary Genres

    This course follows the curriculum of English 8 while including additional and more challenging texts, exams, essays (one every two weeks) and a research paper. Prerequisites: Teacher recommendation, a grade of 85 or better in subsequent honors course or 90 or better in other English course, and an English placement test. (ESL students can only mainstream into Honors prior to January. They must meet all prerequisites.)
  • English 10: American Literature Survey

    This survey of American literature approaches texts dating from Early America to the contemporary period thematically in three major units: America-Land of Promise, Individuality and Alienation, and Coming of Age. Students read short stories, plays, novels, poetry, and other forms of literature analytically; they work throughout the year to further develop skills and strategies necessary for reading challenging texts. Students learn to annotate texts consistently, focusing on literary devices, development of plot, character, theme, motif, and symbolism. Additionally, this course includes intense instruction on writing. Students continue to develop as writers, focusing primarily on critical essays but also on one research paper and a few creative assignments.
  • English 10 Honors: American Literature Survey

    This chronological survey course in American literature allows the student to see the literary progression of and influences upon American writers from the Puritan age to the contemporary era, and to relate these developments to American history, a course most take concurrently. Shorter selections and poems are used to teach the necessity of close reading skills, the usefulness of literary terms, and the rigors of critical thinking; longer works enable the students to discuss structure, narrative voice, character development, and image patterns. Discussion and oral interpretation are daily activities. Vocabulary lessons promote understanding of connotation, denotation, and usage. Writing continues to be a major focus, with most emphasis placed on critical analysis of works read, although students may write creatively in imitation of or in homage to the writers. A research paper builds on previous skills of reading and writing and also enables students to engage in independent research and to review the techniques of writing a coherent and honest research paper. Prerequisites: Teacher recommendation, a grade of 85 or better in subsequent honors course or 90 or better in other English course, and an English placement test.
  • English 11: Survey of British Literature

    This survey of British Literature is a chronological study of works drawn from the Anglo-Saxon, Medieval, Renaissance, Enlightenment, Romantic, Victorian, Modern, and Contemporary periods. The primary emphasis in the study of literature is to encourage students’ critical thinking, speaking, and writing skills. A secondary emphasis is to trace the development of the British literary tradition as it reflects social shifts and historical events. Students analyze the differences between oral and written literature, develop their knowledge and understanding of literary terms, engage in close reading, and continue to develop their research and critical writing skills through a variety of papers. Vocabulary helps to refine the students' reading, writing, and oral skills, as do discussions and oral interpretations. Primary emphasis is placed on oral discussion through literary analysis. College writing requirements are addressed through both out-of-class papers and timed in-class essays demanding the use of research, argument, comparison/contrast, character sketch, and cause and effect. Grammar and style topics are reviewed and taught as needed, based on students' writing needs.
  • English 11 Honors: Survey of British Literature (Pre-AP)

    This course is a comprehensive survey tracing the development of the British literary tradition as it reflects social, cultural, and historical shifts. Works are organized chronologically and represent the Anglo-Saxon, Medieval, Renaissance, Enlightenment, Romantic, Victorian, Modern, and Contemporary periods. The primary emphasis is on enabling students to develop critical thinking, writing, and speaking skills on a more advanced level. Students entering the course are expected to possess above-average reading, writing, and speaking skills, which are further refined through daily practice and frequent, challenging assignments. Most days, students sharpen their analytical skills by engaging in oral discussions of assigned readings. In-class (timed) and out-of-class essay assignments focus on literary analysis demanding the use of close reading, definition, comparison/contrast, argument, character sketch, and causal analysis. Students also complete at least one research project. This class is a precursor to the 12th grade AP class in English Literature and Composition; as such, the assignment schedule is rigorous. Prerequisites: Teacher recommendation, a grade of 85 or better in subsequent honors course or 90 or better in other English course, and an English placement test.
  • English 12: World Literature

    This course is a comprehensive survey of World Literature focusing on various cultures in context. Students will consider literature from a wide range of cultures originating in Europe, Africa, Asia, Central and South America, and the Middle East. The primary emphasis is to enable the students to develop critical thinking, writing, and speaking skills and to understand the relevance of cultures from all over the world. Students will trace the enduring presence in contemporary culture of the texts that they study. Another goal is to show the relevance of great writers of the past to the thinking of today's students. Expository writing skills are further developed through the writing of out-of-class analysis papers, as well as in-class essays. College writing requirements are also addressed through both out-of-class papers and timed in-class essays demanding the use of argument, comparison/contrast, character sketch, and cause and effect. Grammatical skills are included as needed based on students' writing needs. Primary emphasis is placed on oral discussion and students' questions through close reading and analysis of the literature read.
  • English 12 Honors: World Literature

    This course is a comprehensive survey of World Literature focusing on various cultures in context. We will visit the literature of Europe, Africa, Asia, Central and South America, and the Middle East from a wide range of cultures. The primary emphasis is to enable the students to develop critical thinking, writing, and speaking and for them to understand the relevance of cultures from all over the world. Students will trace the enduring presence in contemporary culture of the texts that we study. Another goal is to show the relevance and connections of great writers of the past to the thinking of today’s students. Expository writing skills are further developed through the writing of analysis papers out-of-class, as well as in-class essay questions. College writing requirements are also addressed through both out of class papers and timed in-class essays demanding the use of argument, comparison/contrast, character sketch, and cause and effect. Grammatical skills are included as needed based on students writing needs. Primary emphasis is placed on oral discussion and students’ questions through close reading and analysis of the literature read. Prerequisites: Teacher recommendation, a grade of 85 or better in subsequent honors course or 90 or better in other English course, and an English placement test.
  • AP English

    As an AP course, this is a rigorous college-level course and is designed to teach beginning college writing. This course follows the curricular requirements as described in the AP English Course Description. The reading is challenging; the writing is frequent and requires an independent mind. Every day students will talk about writing and literature. In the discussions, students and teacher will address structure, style, diction, imagery, symbolism, metaphor, motif, tone, theme, syntax, and more. Students will learn how these make a work unique and will be reading from an intensive and extensive reading list. They will study British writers, American writers, and writers from all over the world. Students will read drama, fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, and they will read literature from the past and literature of today. In discussions of literature, they will learn the social, cultural, and historical values a work reflects and embodies. They will also learn about literary criticism and how to look at literature through different lenses, internalizing, and making their own connections. Prerequisites: Teacher recommendation and a grade of 85 or better in subsequent honors course or 90 or better in other English course.

Electives

List of 3 items.

  • Creative Writing

    Crafting written material requires a combination of imagination and skill. With an eye on each of these, students will exercise free play of mind while trying to gain precision, clarity, and freshness in their writing. We will pay close attention to arrangement, voice, and originality while experimenting with different genres and forms. Most classes will be in workshop form. This means we will bring to each discussion the utmost respect for each other’s writing as we work together through the revision process to sharpen our written art. Students will be expected to maintain a daily journal, participate actively, and produce a portfolio of six pages for a final grade. Students will also write one three-page, critical paper, and give a presentation on the techniques and peculiarities of the craft of an author. This is a one semester course for students grades 9-12.
  • Journalism

    Crafting a work of nonfiction requires a blending of imagination, skill, and attention to detail. Students will write articles based on their own experiences, as well as news articles compiled from first-hand research into world events, science, and sports. Types of articles covered will range from traditional hard news stories to lighter, more accessible human interest stories. They will learn to craft attention-grabbing headlines, powerful editorials and op-ed pieces, and internet-worthy blurbs. Writing from this class will form Grier's school paper, the Green and Gold. This is a one-semester course for students grades 9-12.
  • Public Speaking

    You will have to speak in front of people sometime in your life, whether it is giving a speech in class in front of your peers, organizing a fundraiser, giving a pep talk to your team, a business plan to your co-workers, or even the plan of attack for a team of surgeons. Learn how to project vocally and emotionally, how to get your message across with body language and intonation. Learn to think on your feet. Public speaking has been identified by psychologists as the number one fear in the general public. Don’t be afraid, be confident; take Public Speaking!!!This is a one-semester course for students grades 8-12.

Faculty

List of 7 members.

  • Kara Lawler 

    English Department Chair
  • Kathryn Barr 

    Teacher
  • Brynda Glazier 

    Teacher
  • Anthony Lang 

    Teacher
  • Samuel Salyards 

    Teacher
  • Daryl Smith 

    Teacher
  • Michele Thibodeau 

    Teacher
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Grier School

2522 Grier School Rd. | P.O. Box 308 Tyrone, PA 16686-0308
Phone: 814-684-3000 | Fax: 814-684-2177