Category Archives: Language Arts

MS Mythology (Ella Muelen)

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

If you love stories, you will enjoy my class.  When I’m talking about stories, I’m not only talking about reading a book.  I’m talking about watching a movie, watching a TV show, listening to an audiobook, listening to a podcast and even good old fashioned human to human conversations.  These are all wonderful ways to enjoy a good story.  In my mythology class, we will explore stories from the ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and Norse people.  We will watch movies that tie into these myths.  We will then critique the story for accuracy.  We will research ancient myths and explore questions like: What makes a character a hero?  How is God defined in mythology?  The class will have a moderate amount of homework, but all of it will be manageable.  Please come and enjoy some fun myths with me.

American Literature- A Wizard of EarthSea (elizabeth ortega)

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

Celebrate Ursula Le Guin, a great American author who recently passed, by reading the first book, “A Wizard of Earthsea,” in her series, Earthsea.

“The first three Earthsea books … were written, at the request of her publisher, for young adults. But their grand scale and elevated style betray no trace of writing down to an audience.”

Le Guin wrote twenty novels and over a hundred short stories, in addition to poetry, literary criticism, translations, and children’s books over the course of her life. She wove cultural anthropology, Taoism, feminism, and the writings of Carl Jung into her writings, and contributed deeply to the worlds of science fiction and feminism.

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


“The rhythmic structure of narrative is both journey-like and architectural,” Le Guin has written. “Great novels offer us not only a series of events, but a place, a landscape of the imagination which we can inhabit and return to. This may be particularly clear in the ‘secondary universe’ of fantasy, where not only the action but the setting is avowedly invented by the author.”



Short Story Exploration (hannah)

In this class, we will explore the power and process of short story reading and writing. We will read stories by a range of authors including Alice Walker, Roald Dahl, Langston Hughes, Gabriel García Márquez, Neil Gaiman, Amy Tan, and Chinua Achebe. We will analyze the anatomy of  a great short story and practice writing some of our own.

Protest Writing, Continued (hannah)

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

This is a continuation of the Fall Term class. In Winter Term, we will finish Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist and begin Persepolis. We will learn more about the current state of protest in the USA and abroad. We will write a variety of things, including poetry and the classic 5-Paragraph Essay, and engage in socratic seminars to discuss what we learn.

Required texts/materials: The two books from Fall Term. If you want to take this class but didn't take it in Fall Term, let's talk.

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. 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. If you play nearly all the rounds, we’ll likely put it on your transcript, though plan on playing mostly for fun: don’t count on it to add significant English credit for graduation.

Summarize THIS! (Scobie)

IMPORTANT: Work with your advisor to set aside plenty of writing time for this class in your weekly schedule. It can be any time that truly works for you, but if you need open slots to get the work done during the school day, make sure you have them and will use them.

Each week, you’ll either be writing a summary of an audio piece to a specific word count, or you’ll be carefully improving and refining a previous piece.

A writing week:
Expect to listen to an audio or video source piece several times (Excerpts from This American Life, The Moth, and other well-produced audio/videos are common). Then you’ll take notes, make a draft, and improve it using a custom check-list created just for your writing skill set. You’ll have time in class to get started, and make progress, but you’ll probably need to spend more to produce your best work, so budget for that!

A re-writing week:
You’ll respond to a very detailed edit of your original work to further improve it.

For most students, it’s at least a few hours of work each week OUTSIDE of class, but a great investment in becoming an effective listener, logical thinker, and competent writer.

  • Credit for the class requires all summaries to be complete and up to the standards in your checklist.
  • If this is a repeat class for you, I’ll be asking you to up your game.