Course Outline Spring 2003 Semester

Course Title: It's Not Just What You Say, It's How You Say It: The Power of Language in Life and Literature

Teacher: Rachel Posner
Site: Midtown
Subject Area: English

Course Overview:
This course calls students'attention to the impact of language in their daily lives and in literature. By developing students'awareness of the choices they make in their own communication in personal, public, and professional spheres, the course will enhance their ability to recognize and analyze the literary choices authors make to express their ideas and themes. Students will learn skills relevant to career searches and participation in public discourse. Through examination of literary genres, techniques, and devices, students will prepare for the ELA Regents exam.

Topics to be included:
• Language in personal relationships (conflict resolution, choices and outcomes)
• Language in professional interactions (resumés, cover letters, interviews)
•Language in public discourse (editorials, letters to newspapers and representatives)
•Issues of dialect, code switching, and linguistics (Geneva Smitherman; The Story of English documentary)
• Genre studies
•Analysis of how literary techniques and devices contribute to the overall theme
•Texts include poems by John Donne, Gwendolyn Brooks, Wilfred Owen, and Langston Hughes; and short stories by Margaret Atwood, Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy Allison, Toni Cade Bambara, Jamaica Kincaid, Edgar Allen Poe, and Tim O'Brien

• Active reading, analysis, and response to literature (ELA Standard # 2)
•Creative and expository writing (ELA Standards # 1, # 2, and # 3)
•Understanding the conventions and characteristics of various literary and non-literary genres and producing examples of these (ELA Standard # 2)
o Reading and writing documents and engaging in role plays relevant to personal, professional, and public situations (ELA Standard # 1 and # 4)
•Understanding the conventions, uses, and grammatical structures of Standard English in relation to those of non-standard dialects (ELA Standard # 4)
• Discussion, collaborative group work, presentations, and dramatic role plays (ELA Standards # 1-4)
•Developing the ability to assess situations, evaluate options, and make beneficial linguistic choices (ELA Standards # 3 and # 4)

Methods of Assessment:

• Student self-assessment • Student production of examples of genres and forms studied
• Portfolios • Student- and teacher-generated rubrics
• Journal responses • Worksheets and quizzes
• Student-teacher conferences