Category Archives: Language Arts

Greek Mythology (Ella)

Note: This class was added after the blog was initially published.

In this Greek Mythology class, we will dive into some of the most fascinating stories of Classic Greek Mythology while asking philosophical questions and analyzing whether or not a story has a moral or modern significance.  Along with that, we will be learning about the history of Greece and Rome from the Trojan War to the Roman Empire.

We will watch movies that relate to mythology and judge them on their accuracy and relevance.

Please note that this class is open to middle and high school students.  You do not need to have taken my previous mythology class to participate.

There will be a small to moderate amount of homework.

Just Write (Sam)

This class is what the title says, Just Write. Let’s gather to work on building our writing skills in a relaxed way. I find that just taking the time to write and process thoughts and ideas helps us to stay connected to the skill of writing. We will have time to free write (journal), work on specific projects, blog, and even the chance to do collaborative work. If you’re looking to get more into writing or take the time to just write more, this is the class for you!

American Lit: Octavia’s Brood: Sci-Fi Stories From Social Justice Movements (elizabeth ortega)

Note: This class is open to high school students only.

Read 25 short stories written by 20 different authors inspired by Octavia Butler, including one written by the South Seattle musician, writer, and hip hop artist Gabriel Teodros. (I’m going to work on having him come as a guest speaker.)

Celebrate diverse voices and stories.

Dive into the blended world of sci-fi and social justice. 

Engage in rich discussion about how to envision and build the world you want to see.

This will be a read-aloud and discussion class. There will also be short writing assignments along the way to practice diving deeper into content and themes.

Octavia’s Brood, exists in part to redress a historical bias toward white male writers. In the 1960s, a poll to find the greatest science fiction novel of all time featured not a single female author… Science fiction “has responded to minority writers as society has responded- slowly.” This is thanks in no small part to the female African-American science fiction pioneer Octavia E. Butler who is commemorated in the title of the anthology. Specifically, the editors name-check the “Octavia Butler scholarship, an Octavia E. Butler Legacy Network, and all the work the Carl Brandon Society has been doing since 1997” as examples of science fiction’s slow progress toward equality across barriers of gender, race, and sexuality, of which Octavia’s Brood forms a part.

“[Questions of social justice] have deep roots in history and they are our responsibility to figure out with more focused attention than a sensationalized 24 hour news cycle allows. We chose to collect short stories that could be read quickly but ask important questions that stick with our readers. Where is home? What is justice? What makes life worth living and fighting for?” Speculative fiction interrogates current societal values through its portrayal of alternative paradigms and social structures, and the editors feel that traditional narratives allow for these complex parallels to be developed to their fullest.”

–Excerpts from an interview with the editors, Walidah Imarisha and Adrienne Maree Brown



Required texts/materials:

Sapiens (hannah)

Note: This class is open to high school students only.

Human history is shaped by three major revolutions: the Cognitive Revolution, the Agricultural Revolution, and the Scientific Revolution. These revolutions have empowered humans to do something no other form of life has done – create and connect ideas that do not physically exist (religion, capitalism, politics, etc). These shared “myths” enabled humans to take over the globe and are now putting humankind on the verge of overcoming the forces of natural selection.

This is the theory of humanity put forth by Yuval Noah Harari in his excellent and illuminating book, Sapiens. In this class, we will explore and analyze the newly released graphic novel version of this book. If you are interested in discussing ideas about where we came from, where we’re at, and where we’re going – this class is for you!

Connection to Place (hannah)

Through place-based learning, this class aims to immerse students in the heritage, culture, landscape, experiences, and opportunities of your immediate environment. 

This class will be divided into two units: your home and your neighborhood. We will begin by learning about the tribal lands which our homes now occupy. Later in the term, you will make a community asset map of your neighborhood to learn about the social organizations, structures, and services shaping the sociocultural landscape today. 

A lot of this class will be outdoors. Your yard and your neighborhood will be your classroom. Lessons will be interdisciplinary, including sociology, science, civics, language arts, and self care, with the objective to deeply learn about your immediate surrounding environment.

Fearless English (Scobie)

How I Make My Hypnosis Recordings - Start to Finish | Giovanni Lordi
This is brave creative writing in which you will write from prompts (mostly fiction, but some other possibilities, too). Why brave? Because you need to write work you’re willing to proudly read out loud to the rest of the class, or have read out loud by me. We will promise to be supportive, and to celebrate your wins. But you’ll also need to be ready to hear ideas about where you need to do more work and to accept the challenge to try to improve. There will be writing time given in class, but if you want to make the most of this, you’ll be finding outside writing time as well. Trust me, when the excitement of this class gets going, you’ll WANT to work on your stuff!

World of Stories (hannah)

Note: This class is open to middle school students only.

How does culture shape our stories and storytelling? How do stories transform when they’re transmitted from culture to culture? What can we learn about other cultures by reading their stories? 

In this class, we will explore these questions by reading literature from around the world. Types of texts will include excerpts from novels, short stories, and poetry by authors including Jhumpa Lahiri, Haruki Murakami, Homer, Yann Martel, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Oscar Wilde, and Isabel Allende. 

This is a class about reading and discussing texts and culture. There will be some analytical writing assignments in and outside of class.

Writing Group (Sadie)

Do you like writing but don’t have the time? Have you wanted to create a writing piece but procrastinate? This is the class for you! This class will be fairly simple; we will gather synchronously to share what we are working on and write in class together, with optional sharing at the end. I will bring in writing prompts and games, but for the most part you will be setting and accomplishing your own writing goals while checking in with everyone on your progress and giving each other feedback! It’ll be a lot of fun, and a great opportunity to hold yourself accountable for your creativity. Come write with me!

Homework: No outside work.


Totally Async Dictionary Game (Scobie)

This will be an entirely online term for players who love the game, with no zoom meeting and no class time–just rounds of the Dictionary Game on the app with notices through Slack. It got off to a slow start in Winter Term, but we finally got the hang of it. I’ll publish new rounds and give you a day or two to respond with your word or definition, then run voting, then do the reveal for all to see, and I’ll show the scoreboard from time to time. Plan on playing mostly for fun: don’t count on it to add significant English credit for graduation.