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English

The English Department aims to help students develop reading and writing skills, and to foster a love of reading and the discussions that follow. Through the engaging complexities of literature, students continually grapple with ideas that recall us to our common humanity.

Our standard course sequence is: English 9; English 10; English 11; and English 12. By invitation based on teacher recommendation and ACT scores, qualified students may opt for our challenging honors program. Students who demonstrate proficiency are encouraged to take an exam in Advanced Placement English in the junior and senior year.

While we appreciate the role of technology in teaching and learning, we promote intentional uses of technology only when it improves student learning.

The mastery of English skills happens both in class and in moments of one-on-one work; thus, teachers work closely with students inside and outside of class hours. We believe that the foundation of responsible global citizenship resides in an individual’s ability to read analytically and communicate effectively in writing and speech.

Available Courses

English 9: The Individual

(1.0 Credit)
The Individual is a full year course. Students will focus on essential reading and writing skills, such as paragraph structure, sentence structure, annotation and reading comprehension skills. Students will read seven texts, including the core texts of Looking for Alaska, The Catcher in the Rye, House on Mango Street, and Romeo and Juliet. Writing work will include creative writing, formal analytical writing, and expository writing. Grading will be based on daily reading quizzes, major and minor writing assignments, vocabulary work, grammar quizzes, and tests assessing student understanding of key skills. Semester and final exams will assess all skills learned thus far. The course is founded on the essential question: Who am I? Accompanying essential questions include: What does it mean to be human? What is my relationship and responsibility to others? Focus will be placed on the self in relationship to the community. These questions will act as the backbone for all class discussions and writing assignments. There is no pre-requisite for this course.

English 9 Honors: The Individual

1.0 credit

The Individual is a full year course. Students will focus on essential reading and writing skills, such as paragraph structure, sentence structure, annotation and reading comprehension skills. Students will read ten texts, including the core texts of Looking for Alaska, The Catcher in the Rye, House on Mango Street, and Romeo and Juliet. Writing work will include creative writing, formal analytical writing, and expository writing. Grading will be based on daily reading quizzes, major and minor writing assignments, vocabulary work, grammar quizzes, and tests assessing student understanding of key skills. Semester and final exams will assess all skills learned thus far. The course is founded on the essential question: Who am I? Accompanying essential questions include: What does it mean to be human? What is my relationship and responsibility to others? Focus will be placed on the self in relationship to the community. These questions will act as the backbone for all class discussions and writing assignments. The primary difference between English 9 and Honors English 9 lies in the pacing and complexity of reading and writing assignments. Pre-requisites for this course include high ACT scores and a recommendation from past English teachers.

English 10: Individual and Community

1.0 credit

Individual and Community spans an entire school year. Students are expected to build upon previous foundational instruction as they incorporate more advanced literary analysis and thesis development within their written and oral discussion. Assessment inside the classroom will be conducted using traditional methods such as major and minor essays, quizzes and tests, reflections, and presentations. Remotely, online assessment of student work will occur regularly - most often utilizing the school’s digital learning platform, Haiku.

Just as the skills and learning objectives of this class build upon those developed in the previous year, so does its theme. Class members will re-examine their concept of self, now as it exists as a part of a greater whole. The concept of a community will be considered on many levels – including family, school, and as a residential grouping. Certainly, this exploration will suggest a number of essential questions: Who am I, and what is my relationship to my various communities? What responsibility do I have with respect to each community? What are my personal perspectives on community, including my family and my school? Texts include Fahrenheit-451, Inherit the Wind, Metamorphosis, Othello, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Maus I, The Alchemist, Spanking Shakespeare.

English 10: Individual and Community Honors

1.0 credit

Individual and Community spans an entire school year. Students are expected to build upon previous foundational instruction as they incorporate more advanced literary analysis and thesis development within their written and oral discussion. Assessment inside the classroom will be conducted using traditional methods such as major and minor essays, quizzes and tests, reflections, and presentations. Remotely, online assessment of student work will occur regularly - most often utilizing the school’s digital learning platform, Haiku.

Just as the skills and learning objectives of this class build upon those developed in the previous year, so does its theme. Class members will re-examine their concept of self, now as it exists as a part of a greater whole. The concept of a community will be considered on many levels – including family, school, and as a residential grouping. Certainly, this exploration will suggest a number of essential questions: Who am I, and what is my relationship to my various communities? What responsibility do I have with respect to each community? What are my personal perspectives on community, including my family and my school? Texts include Fahrenheit-451, Inherit the Wind, Metamorphosis, Othello, Oroonoko, Maus I, The Alchemist, Spanking Shakespeare.

English 11: The Individual and Society

1.0 credit
The Individual and Society is a yearlong course. Students will focus on reading comprehension as they analyze a variety of complex texts. Students will respond to the texts in diverse ways, including formal analytical essays, creative projects, poetry, film, and artistic responses. Continued work on paragraph structure will include ways in which a student might seamlessly infuse argument, evidence, and analysis into his or her writing. Students will read 8-10 texts, including The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, Slaughterhouse-Five, 1984, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Grading will be based on daily reading quizzes, major and minor writing assignments, and tests assessing student understanding of key skills. Semester and final exams will assess all skills learned thus far.

Essential questions for the course include: Who am I and what is my relationship and responsibility to society? To what social communities do individuals belong, and how do those communities influence their existence? What does it mean to be an individual amidst varying social constructs and cultures? These questions will act as the backbone for all class discussions and writing assignments.

English 11 Honors: The Individual and Society

1.0 credit

The Individual and Society is a yearlong course where students may take the A.P. Language and Composition exam at the end of the year and should feel prepared for the exam after course completion. Students will focus on reading comprehension as they tackle a variety of complex texts, as well as the oral skills that come with analysis of such texts. Students will respond to the texts in diverse ways, including formal analytical essays, creative projects, poetry, film, and artistic responses. Continued work on paragraph structure will include ways in which a student might seamlessly infuse argument, evidence, and analysis into his or her writing. Analyzing the complexity of language will be a primary focus both in class and at home. Students will read 15 texts-- Five novels, five plays, three collections of poetry, and two collections of short stories-- including Slaughterhouse-Five, Hamlet, Equus, Beloved, and The Collected Works of W. B. Yeats. Grading will be based on creative project work, major and minor writing assignments, and tests assessing student understanding of key skills. Semester and final exams will assess all skills learned to date.

The course is founded on the essential questions: Who am I and what is my relationship and responsibility to society? To what social communities do individuals belong, and how do those communities influence their existence? What does it mean to be an individual amidst potentially warping social constructions of morality, justice, race-relations, etc.? These questions will act as the backbone for all class discussions and writing assignments. Students must be recommended for this course.

Digital Journalism

0.5 credits or 1.0 credits

Digital Journalism is a semester course with a focus on building a digital portfolio and resume as well as giving students practical experience through the production and editing of various digital material. The course will begin with the study of the shift from print to digital media and concepts of media ethics, design, and business will be applied throughout the course. The course is taught in a newsroom setting, where students will work in partnership to create digital content both in the classroom and throughout campus. High-level student work will be featured on the HPA website, as well as in social media. The class will include discussions on emerging media themes, the importance of Web analytics, and the impact of social media on the news stream and mainstream media. A portion of the course will focus on creating not only a digital portfolio, but also digital literacy and citizenship. Guest speakers both in the digital media industry, as well as in academics, will present on trends in digital journalism and working in the field.

English 12: Environmental Literature

0.5 or 1.0 credits

Environmental Literature is a semester or yearlong course offered in the fall and spring semesters. This course explores narratives from Polynesia, the U.S., and the world to look at how where people live influences their values, personality, and identity. We will explore the relationships between people and land and how that relationship is expressed through narratives and forms identity and culture. The essential questions of the course include: How do our relationships with places help construct our sense of self? From where do we get our values and our beliefs? How do people decide what resources to protect and which to exploit? How do our consumer choices affect our personal health and the health of our environment? How do our environmental choices affect our relationship with place?

Students will focus on reading comprehension and analysis as they approach a variety of complex texts and respond in diverse ways, including formal analytical essays, creative writing, poetry, and film responses. Field trips will take students to Pu‘ukohola, Waipio Valley, and other culturally and historically significant locations on the Big Island. Readings include a range of complete texts and excerpts, including The Way to Rainy Mountain, American Primitive, Silent Spring, and Ha‘ena: Through the Eyes of the Ancestors. We will also explore our own interactions with the environment. Grading will be based on daily reading quizzes, major and minor writing assignments, and tests assessing student understanding of key skills. Semester and final exams will assess all skills learned in the course.

English 12: Food in Culture & Politics

0.5 credits

Food in Culture & Politics is an experiential section of Literary Interpretation where students will join together in an interdisciplinary research and publication project on studying about food in English literature.

We will consider food as a topic in literary works from different genres and periods as well as contemporary questions of food justice, health, sustainability, food and poverty, the fast food industry, controversies about seed, sustainable food production, and myths about hunger. Working in groups, students will read in the emerging field of food studies, as well as novels, film, young adult literature, culture studies literature, peer reviewed research articles, news articles, and magazine articles. Students will write blogs, literary analysis, research pieces, create videos, as well as engage in community-based activities.

This class will develop skills of literary interpretation relevant to advanced work in English. We will undertake extensive and careful reading, research, maintaining a class blog, and write literary analysis papers. Guiding Questions:

  • If you are what you eat, then what are you?
  • How does food influence culture and identity?
  • How do our food choices affect our personal health and the health of our environment?
  • How do people decide which natural resources to protect and which to exploit?

English 12: Writing for Performance

0.5 credits

Writing for Performance is a semester course. Students will write, direct, and act in four plays to be performed in GPAC throughout the semester. Class time will be spent writing scripts, rehearsing scenes, and preparing those scenes for performance. In addition, students will read five plays, exploring ways to take those plays from the page to the stage. Writing for Performance will reward students for risk taking, both in acting, directing, and writing. Students will need to balance all three core components of the course. In a particular scene, one student might be the primary writer, another the primary director, and three others the actors in the scene. In the very next scene in the show, the roles might switch, with the actors writing and directing. Leadership and vision will be prioritized for directing, creative thinking for writing, and preparation for performing. Haiku posts, journaling, and portfolio work will make up a large percentage of student grades. As a culminating project, students will organize a portfolio replete with one revised written scene, a series of journals on directorial choices they’ve made, a video of scene performance, and a paper connecting experiences in all three realms.

English 12: Poetry and Prose of Movement

0.5 credits

Poetry and Prose of Movement is a semester course. Students will explore the ways in which poetry, fiction, non-fiction, visual art, and performative art shape movement. Students will read and write poetry and prose, create and analyze visual art and performative art, and use written and spoken word to lend their own shape to other artists’ understanding of movement. For example, students might be asked to write both analytical and poetic responses to a dance performance viewed at the Kahilu theater. In class, a poem about the movement of a rushing river might connect to a painting, in turn connecting to a Nelson Mandela speech about shifting conceptions of race relations. The student’s job in weaving all of these forms of art together would be to respond both analytically and creatively. Movement comes in many forms, both artistically and socially, and we will make use of as many mediums as we can to explore the ways others have approached movement and the ways in which we can create our own interpretations of human movement. Grades will derive from Haiku discussion participation, graded creative projects and writing assignments, class participation in graded activities connecting art to movement, and two large projects. The first project will be due four weeks in, and will involve both analysis and creation of art, and the culminating project at the end of the semester will combine critical analysis of another’s work, analysis of one’s own work, and a project and paper on ways in which art influences movement.

English 12: Shakespeare

0.5 credits

Shakespeare is a semester course dedicated to the study of the works of William Shakespeare. Throughout the semester, students undertake detailed exploration of the texts of selected Shakespearean histories, tragedies, and comedies. Additionally, members of the class receive continuing exposure to other materials related to Shakespeare - from his poetry to modern film renderings of his plays. Finally, the life of this most famous playwright is examined within his historical context. Assessment inside the classroom will be conducted using traditional methods such as written quizzes and tests, reflections, and presentations. Remotely, online assessment of student work will occur regularly - most often utilizing the school’s digital learning platform, Haiku. A formal analytical essay generally covers each major title. Texts include: Richard III, King Lear, The Taming of the Shrew, Hamlet

English 12: Gothic Romance

Gothic Romances is a semester course dedicated to the advancement of verbal and written literary analysis skills, utilizing the medium of the horror story. Students will receive thorough practice in discussing literary techniques that are applicable to a wide range of literature. By the same token, the members of the class will also attempt to isolate certain features that are common to works of horror, serving as "common threads" within the genre. The course curriculum covers a wide range of styles and authors, from horror’s foundations to its modern practitioners. Although film renditions of various stories are sometimes viewed, this is not a film class. Students of the class must be prepared for a full and varied plate of reading and writing assignments. Assessment inside the classroom will be conducted using traditional methods such as written quizzes and tests, reflections, and presentations. Remotely, online assessment of student work will occur regularly - most often utilizing the school’s digital learning platform, Haiku. A formal analytical essay generally covers each major title. Texts include:The Shining, The Silence of the Lambs, Mary Reilly, The Strange Case of Dr, Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
0.5 credits

English 12: Good and Evil in Literature

0.5 credits
Good and Evil in Literature is a semester and/or yearlong course offered in the fall and spring semesters. We examine a variety of ethical philosophies starting with Socrates and chronologically ending with Annette Baier. The primary text used is Great Traditions in Ethics, and all reading material will be provided. The first semester focuses on ethics and the self, while the second semester focuses on ethics and society. This is accomplished through critical analysis, class discussion, essays, presentations, and projects. The following essential questions will guide students towards a greater understanding of ethics: what is The Right; how do we define The Good; what is our role in society regarding The Right and The Good; How do we balance the needs of the individual and the needs of society when considering choice, voice, culture, resources, equality, and the world; what role does kuleana (obligation/duty) play in ethics, and how does this apply to me. Each semester ends with a final project and essay requiring students to demonstrate the skills and knowledge they have acquired over the course of the semester.

English 12 Honors: Humor in Literature

0.5 credits
Humor in Literature is a semester course where students may take the A.P. Literature exam at the end of the year, and should feel prepared for the exam after completing this course. Students will read and analyze a variety of humorous writing including satire, parody, dark humor, puns, and irony. Students will break down what makes something funny, from simple jokes to entire novels. In addition, students will be asked to evaluate humor for its effectiveness in persuasion, entertainment, and social commentary. A variety of authors, comedians, and cartoonists will be studied including, Douglas Adams, Mark Haddon, Terry Pratchett, Jack Handey, Kurt Vonnegut, Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, and Mark Twain. While studying the "how" of humor, students will try to create some of their own, mirroring humor techniques and explaining how the humor works in self-reflections. Grading will be based on daily reading quizzes, major and minor writing assignments, projects, and tests assessing student understanding of key skills. A semester exam will assess the skills, terminology, and analysis of literature covered.The course is founded on the essential questions: What is it that makes us laugh? How does humor influence culture and society? What is a humorists’ argument and how is it expressed? These questions will act as the backbone for class discussions and writing assignments. Students must be recommended for this course.

English 12 Honors: Philosophy in Literature

0.5 credits

Philosophy in Literature is a semester course where students may take the A.P. Literature exam at the end of the year and should feel prepared for the exam after course completion. Students will read and analyze a variety of philosophical writing including an exploration of absurdism, existentialism, determinism, Postmodernism, Epicurianism, nihilism, and Utilitarianism. Students will break down arguments within philosophical works. In addition, students will be asked to evaluate philosophies within literature for effectiveness in persuasion, entertainment, and social commentary. A variety of authors, poets, and philosophers will be studied including Franz Kafka, Albert Camus, Friedrich Nietzsche, Diogenes, Kurt Vonnegut, Samuel Beckett, Oscar Wilde, and Mark Twain. While studying the "how" of philosophical writing, students will try to create some of their own, mirroring writing techniques and explaining how the their thinking works in self­-reflections. Grading will be based on daily reading quizzes, major and minor writing assignments, projects, and tests assessing student understanding of key skills. In lieu of a semester exam, students are required to present a “Meaning of Life” project at Student Philosophy Night, a showcase of student work open to the public. The course is founded on the essential questions: How does philosophy influence literature? How does philosophy influence culture and society? What is a philosophical pieces’ argument and how is it expressed? What is the meaning of life? These questions will act as the backbone for class discussions and writing assignments. Students must be recommended for this course.

English 12 Honors: Creative Nonfiction

0.5 credits

Creative Nonfiction is a semester course where students may take the A.P. Literature exam at the end of the year and should feel prepared for the exam after course completion.
. Students will read, analyze, and discuss a wide range of modern nonfiction, including memoir, food and travel writing, nature writing and historical and political pieces. Students will learn to craft careful, original, artful nonfiction prose of their own, describing their experiences and observations with vibrant, original imagery, and persuading their audiences without reverting to clichés or generalizations. Students will also learn to participate in group critiques, editing and enriching the work of their peers while strengthening their hold on the essentials of written language. These skills will be applicable to the major writing tasks of their collegiate and adult lives. Every-class-period staples of the course will include check-in, a daily lesson in metaphor through which students express their mental and emotional states before diving into the work of the day, opening write, a daily exercise in which they respond to a prompt with 10-15 minutes of thoughtful writing, and style point, a daily consideration of an element of writing
style that will help their writing grow technically stronger. The course will be guided by one essential question: what makes writing work?

English 12 Honors: 21st Century Novel

0.5 credits
The 21st Century Novel is a semester course. Students in the course will read, discuss and analyze fiction from the last 15 years, focusing on the way authors in the early 21st century remember the last century and envision the later decades of the current one. Essential questions will include: how do novelists help us imagine what the future will bring? What purpose does fiction serve in today’s world? What makes a text relevant? And What common themes emerge as we look closely at a range of today’s fiction? Core texts will include Lauren Groff’s Arcadia, Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story, and David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks.Students who take English 12 Honors: The 21st Century Novel must be ready to experience what is new in literature.

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