Welcome Class of 2016


English 11 classes study American Literature. For an overview, check out the outline by the US Department of State on what it believes to be the essentials people should know about our national literature.
 
PBS has put together an interesting timeline of American literature. Check where the work we are currently reading falls in our literary history. In fact the internet has many well organized libraries of American literature right at your fingertips. 

We will take special note during the course of Milford author Harriet Wilson, whose bronze memorial statue sits just off South Street in the small park with the pond near Lincoln Street. To learn more about her, read the website dedicated to The Harriet Wilson Project.

Headed to a top college? Interested in what an American literature course might look like at a school like MIT? 
Many universities are opening up their content for anyone to work through independently. 
MIT's OpenCourseware American Literature is one example. Look through the Related Resources to compare what we read to what the students in this course may read.

Bookmark this class website because I will put many resources here for you during the semester. I hope that they will be helpful, so please make requests for additions and clarifications.

Harkness Tables and Literature Discussion
If you are not familiar with the idea of learning at a "Harkness Table," you will be after this semester. I like to think that we just have a bigger table, because our classes are decidedly larger than those the system was designed for, but I know you all are just as sharp and eager to learn. 

Pioneered at New Hampshire's Phillips Exeter Academy, the idea of "Harkness Teaching," is that "a teacher and a group of students work together, exchanging ideas and information, around a table."  Writing a column about how the introduction of technology like the iPad will influence the tradition of the Harkness method at Phillips Exeter, Katherine Towler explains the method, "In the course of 50 minutes, each member of the class will take a turn at defending a point of view, analyzing an idea, questioning an assumption, or simply wondering out loud." (A similar concept is promoted by Great Books; they call it "Shared Inquiry.")

While we don't have tables, we have desks that are suitably mobile. After all, at its most basic, this amazing system is most un-amazing in its simplicity: real people sitting around in a circle talking. While at Milford High School, we don't have classes of 12, we have twice as many minds to draw from and longer than 50 minutes together! Expect to contribute and to engage. It will be great.

Our Pedagogy from Phillips Exeter Academy on Vimeo.

 
What does this mean to you? When you come to class, be prepared with a passage from the reading of the night before that you have questions, comments and insights to offer our class. Discussions will be bright and engaging in a way that you will come to appreciate. If this sounds foreign, maybe your were this kid?

Harkness: Beating the System from Phillips Exeter Academy on Vimeo.


Remembering the sequence "position, proposition, reason, evidence" will help you formulate your logic on the topic of the day. In other words, prepare to explain what "I think" "because" "this shows"  with "evidence" "shown by" passages from our reading.

As simple and traditional as Harkness is, new ideas and disrupters in education also bring people together in collaborative, happy, productive ways.


Confused by MLA v. APA or CMS?
Purdue University put them side by side.

Tips for speech writing under Forms and Docs link.

Grammar gives you a headache?
Check the Grammar Guide link under "Useful Links." It has examples, explanations and quizzes for practice.