English I

English I: First-Year Foundations Course
Instructor: Flor Mota, flor@griffinschool.org

Our first-year English course will be a foundational and transitional time. As introduced in your summer assignment, we will focus on Socrates’ famous words: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Or, as the wisest of Jedi masters, Yoda, once said: “In a dark place we find ourselves, and a little more knowledge lights our way.” Our quest will involve self-exploration and exploration of wider worlds — real and imagined — through literature and film. 

Huck in The Ballad of Huck & Miguel, Kambili in Purple Hibiscus, Esperanza in The House on Mango Street, August in Another Brooklyn, Marjane in Persepolis all examine their lives and their worlds through harrowing challenges and attain their independence, though not without costs. Moonee in The Florida Project learns to be resilient in the face of poverty. In Macbeth, the titular character falls under the spell of dark forces that ultimately lead him down the deepest recesses of his own hubris.

This school year, we’ll examine ourselves, our motivations, our desires, our fears through the characters we will read about and study. For if ever there was a time of self-exploration, in the age of the selfie, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram — the time is now. 

In English I, you will: 

➢ Learn what it means to be a responsible, organized high school student.

➢ Practice communicating your needs, questions, concerns, opinions, and knowledge openly and honestly. 

➢ Practice being empathetic learners and leaders, who encourage and support each other’s educational endeavors. 

➢ Take calculated, creative risks. 

➢ Understand the learning process is often a frustrating process dependent on missteps, reflection, and learning from those missteps in order to achieve your goals. 

➢ Practice the writing process of brainstorming, planning, writing, and revising, revising, revising. 

➢ Engage both in informal writing assignments as well as formal writing assignments, with special attention paid to narrative, expository, and persuasive writing forms. 

➢ Hone your critical reading skills by setting a purpose for yourself; being able to accurately summarize what you’ve read and identifying central thematic ideas.