The WMA English department offers a curriculum that merges the best writings of the Western tradition with contemporary global literature, creating a comparative approach. Students are encouraged to consider the themes of canonical works, frame them within a global context and explore how they might speak to today's global concerns. The goal of the English Department is to expand students’ horizons by introducing them to the world's best writing in fiction, poetry, drama and all forms of nonfiction. A major aim of the program is to develop critical and creative thinkers who see beyond cultural stereotypes and biases. Our program focuses intensely on writing and our progression offers students mastery of the tools needed to structure and write a compelling analytical and argumentative paper. The English department encourages collaboration through daily discussion of the texts. This Socratic approach fosters dialogue and debate, which in turn strengthens verbal skills. The art of rhetoric is also introduced and public speaking is a component in each grade level course. Seminar-style classes oblige students to be prepared, engaged and ready to participate fully in class discussion. An intensive focus on process writing ensures that students are well prepared for the rigors of college.
Students must be enrolled in English every trimester. We require successful completion of English 9, English 10 (or Honors English 10), English 11 (or AP Language & Composition) and 3 credits from Grade 12 trimester courses (or AP Literature & Composition). Grade 12 students taking electives must take Writing Seminar and/or Research & Writing along with other English electives to equal three credits. ESL students are expected to complete courses through English 11 for a diploma.
- masterpieces of literature (english 9)
- English 10
- Honors English 10
- AP Seminar (AP Capstone Year 1)
- American literature (English 11)
- AP Language & Composition
- AP Literature & Composition
- AP research (AP capstone year 2)
Level: Grade 9 and select international students
Overview: Thematically, this course explores the relationship of citizen and leader within a global framework. The program is designed to introduce students to the different genres of literature as well as the structural approach to the English classroom at the Academy. The course aims to promote and engender a love of reading, writing and the joys of discourse; to give students a chance to explore their creative and analytical voices; and to focus on communication and analysis of ideas. Reading for class is presented as an active exercise, a conversation between reader and text with annotation required. Assigned texts include a balance of the traditional Western Canon and an introduction to global literature, including (but not limited to): The Lord of the Flies, Metamorphosis, The Odyssey, and Macbeth. Students explore mythology through reading and research, but the culmination of the unit is a group film project on a selected myth. The student films are presented at an all-English 9 screening, where the student work is judged and awards (called the Ovids) are presented. Students are also introduced to poetry and short story, and explore these genres through their own creative writing. Throughout the year, students develop familiarity and mastery of the five-paragraph analytical essay and thesis writing. Grammar and writing instruction are incorporated into the curriculum as specific units but the teaching of writing mechanics is also integrated into the process writing approach that is a component of all writing assignments. Assignments include: major literary analysis papers and creative writing assignments; journaling and student responses to the literature; daily class discussions; reading quizzes; grammar worksheets, the Ovid film project, and a cumulative final exam.
Prerequisite: Incoming international students require approval of the ESL and English departments
Level: Grade 10 and select international students
Overview: The learning theme of English 10 is the complications of leadership across global, historical and cultural perspectives. The objective of the course is to provide a robust reading and writing experience whereby students analyze and consider texts connected by the search for individual meaning and responsibility within a broader society. Reading assignments include Fahrenheit 451, Night, The Crucible, Julius Caesar, Picture of Dorian Gray, Frankenstein and a major poetry unit that culminates in our annual Poetry Out Loud recitation contest. Class discussions and writing assignments are based on these texts and supplemented with grammar instruction and preparation for the SAT. Students will develop SAT vocabulary and learn to write effective essays for the SAT writing section. They will also work to build solid critical reading skills and acquire the process of analytical writing through classroom discussion and regularly scheduled thesis-driven papers. Assessments include: daily class discussions; weekly grammar, vocabulary, and reading quizzes; literary analysis assignments; a major research project; and a cumulative final exam.
Prerequisite: Grade 9 English course, or approval of the ESL and English departments
Level: Grade 10 and select Grade 11 students
Overview: This honors level course is designed to prepare students for the rigors of AP Language & Composition or AP Seminar in their junior year. Students are expected to complete reading and writing assignments at an accelerated pace and participate in class discussions on a deeper level. Students also read ancillary texts in conjunction with each major work studied to further their understanding of historical context and global perspectives. Students explore contextual relevance of the texts to individual and world perspectives; examine character and plot in the context of global themes; expand their understanding of global cultures; and compare/contrast literature from various historical and global settings with the aim of achieving a greater understanding of these works as they apply to the students’ world today. Assigned texts include Fahrenheit 451, Night, Things Fall Apart, The Woman Warrior, Frankenstein, and Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. The poetry unit consists of works from global poets, and culminates in our annual Poetry Out Loud recitation contest. The writing goal of this course is to expand upon the five-paragraph, analytical, thesis-driven essay form; to introduce the concepts of rhetoric; and to put these into practice in essays that take a position and support it. Assessments include daily participation in discussion, regular reading and annotation checks, formal literary analysis essays and related assignments, argumentative essays, a major research essay and a final exam.
Prerequisite: Grade 9 English course and departmental permission
Level: Advanced Placement, Grades 10, 11, 12, may be taken in place of English course
Overview: AP Seminar is a foundational course that engages students in cross-curricular conversations that explore the complexities of academic and real-world topics and issues by analyzing divergent perspectives. Students will explore issues of global diplomacy in the way it traditionally appears (government to government) as well as how it is evolving in the current age. Students will research and contemplate such topics as public diplomacy (the way governments influence populations of other countries), digital diplomacy, and the role of NGOs (e.g. Red Cross, Doctors without Borders) and private and supranational diplomatic organizations (e.g. the United Nations, the European Union) through the lens of existing hotspots around the world today. Using an inquiry framework, students practice reading and analyzing articles, research studies, and foundational literary and philosophical texts; they also listen to and view speeches, broadcasts, and personal accounts; and they experience artistic works and performances. Students learn to synthesize information from multiple sources, develop their own perspectives in research-based written essays, and design and deliver oral and visual presentations, both individually and as part of a team. Ultimately, the course aims to equip students with the power to analyze and evaluate information with accuracy and precision in order to craft and communicate evidence-based arguments.
Prerequisite: departmental permission
See full AP Capstone™ program.
Level: Grade 11, select Grade 12 students
Overview: This American literature survey course introduces students to the best of the American writing tradition, including Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, and The Great Gatsby, as well as short stories and poetry. These classics are often paired with contemporary works, such as The Kite Runner and The Things They Carried, assorted short stories and essays. Students engage in intensive reading of the literature and focus on developing critical reading and writing abilities. Students write several analytical essays and complete assignments in a variety of other forms: personal, creative, expository, argumentative and research. Process writing – brainstorming, outlining, drafting, revising, editing – of each major paper assignment is expected. The goal is to have students expand upon the five-paragraph essay format and embrace more strategies to develop clear, economical and honest style in their prose. Instruction is given on elements of essay structure, syntax, grammar and MLA formatting. Teacher conferences are an important component of this writing program. Assessments include: five to seven major writing assignments, as well as journals and process writing assignments; regular quizzes on the reading and tests following each major reading unit; and a final exam. Daily class participation is expected, and participation is graded based on class preparation and engagement in class discussion. The third trimester will also include a short grammar and writing mechanics review in preparation for students taking the ACTs and SATs, as well as a unit on the personal essay in preparation for the Common App personal essay students will have to write senior year.
Prerequisite: English 10 or approval of the ESL and English departments
Level: Advanced Placement, Grades 11 & 12
Overview: The goal of this course is to develop students' writing and reading skills to a college level and prepare students for the Advanced Placement English Language and Composition exam in the spring. Students read and carefully analyze a broad and challenging range of nonfiction (and some fiction) prose selections. The major text for this course is The Bedford Reader, which will be supplemented with handouts. Students will also read American literary works such as The Great Gatsby, The Awakening, The Scarlet Letter and This Boy’s Life. Writing is examined utilizing the template of Aristotle's definition of the rhetorical situation. Writing assignments include literary analyses, memoir, creative writing, argumentative essays, editorials, press releases, journals and textual analyses. Students keep a journal comprised of informal, unpolished responses to the assigned readings and write in class each week, including timed impromptus. Individual and group exercises focus on discovery, organization, thesis development, and argument development. Teacher conferences are not scheduled but highly advised. The third trimester will also include a short grammar and writing mechanics review in preparation for students taking the ACTs and SATs, as well as a unit on the personal essay in preparation for the Common App personal essay students will have to write senior year. The AP exam in May is mandatory.
Prerequisite: departmental permission
Level: Advanced Placement, Grade 12 or postgraduate.
Overview: The goal of this course is to prepare students for the Advanced Placement Literature and Composition exam. Students will be immersed in significant texts from the British and American traditions. Through close-reading techniques and critical writing assignments, students will learn how to analyze literature at a complex level and contemplate the author’s intention. Students will also identify the power of literature to shape the world while reflecting on the historical and social values of such works. Classics of the Western Canon are paired with contemporary global voices in order to spark dialogue and explore the intersection of the traditional and the new. Students will consider how themes of identity in Jane Eyre compare with Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao; or how the complications of race and bigotry in Othello compare to the modern story of The Reluctant Fundamentalist. Other works assigned include Beloved, The Canterbury Tales, Oedipus Rex, various short stories, and an extensive poetry unit that covers Shakespeare’s sonnets and the Romantics. Students will engage in major literary analysis and critical writing assignments — both long format and short essays — and are required to conference with the teacher frequently. Online class discussion board postings and various creative writing exercises will also be assigned to generate a deeper appreciation of literature and literary elements. The AP exam in May is mandatory.
Prerequisite: departmental permission
Level: Advanced Placement, Grade 11 or 12.
Course may be taken for English credit or department credit can be assigned to align with research subject area, pending permission from department chair and Dean of Studies. Students are encouraged to take this in conjunction with another AP course related to their topic.
Overview: AP Research allows students to deeply explore an academic topic, problem or issue of individual interest. Through this exploration, students design, plan and conduct a yearlong research based investigation to address a research question. In the AP Research course, students further develop the skills acquired in the AP Seminar course by understanding research methodology; employing ethical research practices; and accessing, analyzing, and synthesizing information as they address a research question. Students explore their skill development, document their processes, and curate the artifacts of the development of their scholarly work in a portfolio. The course culminates in an academic paper of approximately 4000–5000 words (accompanied by a performance or exhibition of product where applicable) and a presentation with an oral defense.
Prerequisite: AP Seminar and permission
Credits: 1 (full-year, weekly course)
Level: Open to all grade levels. This course is a general elective course and does not count as an English course.
Overview: This course meets one evening per week to create Wilbraham & Monson Academy's student newspaper, The Atlas. Students learn basic journalistic skills: interviewing, headline writing, news reporting, and writing a news or feature article. For each issue, students meet with a senior editor or the faculty advisor in a story conference, assist with production of the newspaper (including proofreading), and write (or participate in the writing of) an article or feature story. One class each month serves as an editorial board meeting to determine the content of the upcoming issue and make assignments. A second class each month will focus on production of the current issue of the newspaper. The goal of this course is to produce a quality school newspaper while learning to write grammatically correct and stylistically solid editorial copy for news, editorial, feature, and sports articles. Students will learn proper journalistic standards, ideals, and ethics, and will utilize technology to do layout, copy-editing, headline writing, and more. Students will participate in writing and production each month.
Prerequisite: Departmental permission
- RESEARCH & WRITING
- WRITING SEMINAR
- CREATIVE NONFICTION
- creative writing
- Writing Foundations
- Writing Workshop
Level: Grade 12 or postgraduate
Overview: This course is designed to help students acquire the skills necessary to produce a fifteen-page research paper while learning the spirit of inquiry and curiosity, building the research process from idea to thesis-based paper. Students will be expected to choose a topic of global importance, research it, evaluate materials, communicate abstract ideas eloquently and successfully, create a podcast and write an annotated bibliography. Related assignments are designed to build researching and writing skills. Independent work and initiative are expected. The faculty role is to provide guidance and hands-on instruction for each step of the research and writing process. Students will be assessed throughout the process.
Level: Grade 12 and postgraduate
Overview: The goal of this course is to improve the writer’s style, structure and voice, and to hone critical and analytical writing skills. Students prepare for writing at the college level by learning the three-step writing process and developing a personal writing style. Students will consider form, structure, style and use of rhetorical tools. Students will also read model essays and engage in discussion of content and meaning through analysis. Students will produce a variety of essays (3-5 pages in length) including personal, expository, and descriptive pieces, as well as the personal essay for the Common Application to colleges. This course will review the five-paragraph essay format and then move to longer format essay prompts, with an emphasis on refinement of thesis statements. Students will write daily and conference with the teacher in the computer lab where they will draft and edit work. Students will produce a final project: a 5-7 page thesis-driven research paper using MLA formatting and documentation standards. Additional assessments include four to five long-format essays in various genres.
Level: Grade 12, postgraduate or select underclassmen
Overview: This course offers students the opportunity to investigate what writer Philip Lopate calls “the stomach growls of life.” Through their own personal writing and exposure to a variety of forms and techniques, each student will begin to develop their own “voice,” think deeply on a wide variety of topics, and learn to engage different audiences. Students will tell their own stories and step outside of their comfort zones to do so. Students will develop critical judgment of their own writing and that of others; understand the expectations of college-level writing; grow in confidence and view writing as a skill that can be developed. Assignments include four personal essays 3-4 pages in length, utilizing process-writing steps for brainstorming and drafting, culminating in a final essay. During the course, students will analyze a series of essays from contemporary authors to learn and incorporate stylistic techniques into their own writing. Students will also share pieces of their work aloud with their classmates. They are expected to turn in a cover letter with most of their essays in which they will discuss their own writing and justify their choices.
Level: Grade 12, postgraduate or select underclassmen
Overview: The Creative Writing elective introduces students to the elements of writing fiction and poetry. Through reading and studying the work of established writers and poets across multiple genres and styles, students will explore, practice, and hone skillsets that will allow them to craft original work. This process will include discussion, analysis, in-class writing, peer-to-peer workshop and technique-specific practices. Over the course of the trimester, students will be expected to produce multiple pieces of writing with the goal of polishing at least one to the point that it can be submitted for publication.
Level: Grade 10 students
Overview: Writing Foundations is a one-trimester, three-day-per-week course that aims to help sophomores develop grammatical and mechanical skills and techniques that will allow them to produce strong, articulate, and academically sound writing. Acquiring and practicing these skillsets will equip students with the building blocks necessary for successful and ever-improving academic writing careers. Offered in addition to their regular English course, this class will rely mostly on in-class lessons, exercises, and writing assignments in an effort to bolster students’ grammatical and mechanical proficiency without the after-school time commitment of a full-time course. Students will create short, personal narrative writing pieces during the first several weeks to work on grammar and mechanics; a longer-format synthesis essay will be assigned in the last part of the term to reinforce MLA citation standards and research expectations.Prerequisite: teacher recommendation
Credits: 2 (two trimester course)
Level: As recommended; Writing Workshop assists students in need of writing support
Overview: Through a collaborative environment, students learn the skills necessary to develop an effective planning, writing, and revision process. Ongoing revision of a digital writing portfolio allows students to develop and apply an array of writing techniques to a variety of writing forms; increase organization; and learn to use more sophisticated expression, word choice, and advanced grammatical structures. This course is two trimesters and is offered in addition to a student's traditional English class and focuses on the student’s individual writing needs. Writing Workshop may be recommended in place of Writing Foundations.
Prerequisite: teacher recommendation
- GLOBAL LITERATURE: NOVELS
- Shakespeare: Critical Analysis and performance
- short stories: environmental literature
- women's literature
Level: Grade 12, postgraduates and select underclassmen
Overview: This course is designed to provide students with insight into global issues using a number of literary voices. Through the lens of literature, the course will help students learn about physical, political and human geographies. Protagonists from different countries and cultures provide us with a way of connecting with people whose motivations may be very different from our own, providing a window into other cultures and backgrounds. The course will also investigate different cultures along with the choices and consequences of emigration, and the continuing impacts of colonialism. The texts include: Adiga’s White Tiger, Herrera’s Signs Preceding the End of the World, and Hamin’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, as well as assorted essays and short stories. Through intensive reading, analysis and discussion of these texts, the class will investigate various universal themes and their historical context. Students will also use outside materials to learn about the history and politics of the unique settings of each of these novels. In addition to reading tests and quizzes, course assessments include several literary analysis essays and short research projects.
Level: Grade 12, postgraduate
Overview: Students in this course will study at least two of Shakespeare's major plays and his poetry. Textual analysis will culminate in at least two analytical essays. Our approach will be to acquaint ourselves with Shakespeare as he is meant to be experienced, through performance. To this end, the class will spend a portion of the trimester focusing on performance techniques and ending in a final graded performance. Possible texts include A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hamlet, Troilus and Cressida and Shakespeare's sonnets.
Level: Grade 12, postgraduate or select underclassmen
Overview: This course will be an introduction to environmental literature. Students will focus on fieldwork in writing about the natural world to create fiction and nonfiction writing. Students will also read works by nature writers, meet and talk to some local nature writers and natural scientists, and explore some of the issues that are inherent in writing about the natural world. Select readings will be culled from the following: The Sea Around Us by Rachel Carson, Temple Stream by Bill Roorbach, selected poems and essays by Scott Russell Sanders, Walden by Henry David Thoreau, To Build a Fire by Jack London, and Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
Level: Grade 12, postgraduate or select underclassmenOverview: This course will examine the works of female authors and their female protagonists. We will be looking at historical context, genre, style, and other issues in order to think about what has shaped women’s literature throughout the years. What does it mean to create a strong female character? Can you attract male readers with female protagonists? Students will learn an appreciation for diverse styles and forms used by women writers in various genres. The course will also ask students to consider more deeply the social and historical forces that have affected women's lives and their writing during various eras. Readings include: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.