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Honors and AP Courses » English 1 Honors

English 1 Honors

A 9th Grade Core Course: English 1 Honors

Teachers: Ms. West; Email: [email protected] and Ms. Yee; E-mail: [email protected]

 Course Description

  • The focus of English 1 is to encourage the development of academic reading writing, listening and speaking skills as develop their skills as critical thinkers and researchers, writers and effective listeners and communicators from a global perspective.  All students are required to participate in class discussions, collaborate with peers, and provide evidence of critical thinking competency through verbal and written responses to literature, informational text, project presentations and independent assignments.


  • Students will improve their overall critical reading, writing, and speaking skills using social science strategies such as:
  • Creating fact based arguments and supporting the arguments with textual evidence
    • The creation of and defense of thesis statements


    • Analysis and synthesis of historical events
    • Analysis of multiple points of view

 Unit Breakdown from 2015-2016

Below is a sample of the first two units we cover in English 1 Honors. These units begin in August and end early October.

Unit 1: Short Stories Unit and Intro to Annotation Strategies ( August to September)

      •  Scarlet Ibis
      • The Most Dangerous Game
      • The Necklace

  Goals of the Unit: Annotation Strategies: DIDLS, SOAPS, Costa’s Levels of Questions/Bloom’s Taxonomy,


 Unit 2: House On Mango Street ( September to October)

Goals of Unit: Author’s Purpose and Style ( students should understand that an author makes choices purposefully for effect and be able to articulate the reasoning)

Literary Terms: Sentence Fragment, Vignette, Plot, En Medias Res, others, Structure of a Basic Personal Essay Major Writing Assignment: Biographical Narrative, Dialectical Journal Entries

Sample Essay Questions:

 “House on Mango Street” Essay Prompt (Suggested Time: 45 minutes)

 Directions: You have recently read The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros and “From Gang Member to Governor?” by Sonali Kolhatcar. Using both of these texts as evidence in your essay, answer the following questions thoughtfully:

 Rodriguez claims that poverty is “ intimately linked with incarceration, calling California’s prisons the ‘largest state-sponsored poor people’s housing’”( 3). As well, he later claims that “ ‘All people need art’, he said, ‘because we have not just material poverty but a poverty of imagination, a poverty of dreaming, and of vision.’ As someone who found transformative redemption through poetry and writing, he wants to see arts funding concentrated on poor communities because ‘ there are whole neighborhoods in California where for miles and miles you cannot find an art gallery, a bookstore or a cultural space’” (4).

 What does Rodriguez claim? Are his ideas justified?


Using HOMS, “From Gang Member To Governor”, and your own life experiences as evidence, defend, qualify, or challenge the claims Rodriguez makes in the above quotes.

Literary Terms for Fiction: Plot, Mood, Tone, Irony, Style, Suspense, Syntax, Imagery, Diction, Audience, Purpose, Speaker, Sentence Structure.

Biggest Challenges:

  • Many Freshmen have trouble adjusting into self-efficacy
  • Students who are struggling have to come to tutoring and/or ask questions. Many students are reluctant to do so.
  • This class requires a critical analysis of text. This means going beyond what simply happened in the story.
  • Many students are good at memorizing but struggle when it comes to having to analyze or explain thinking.  
  • Students need to be willing to struggle and realize that improvement usually happens a little at a time, but it will come, if paired with a consistent and detail oriented work ethic.

 What to look for in a potential English 1 Honors student:

  • A student who feels English is his/her strength
  • Hard workers  in the willingness to keep trying if they don’t first succeed
  • Willing to practice and refine writing/analytical skills
  • A student who can both work independently and collaboratively