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High School British Literature (Honors or On-Level)

Teacher: Shabrayle Setliff

Each quarter we will explore one major work and a constellation of related short stories, poems, and essays that address the major work’s big questions and themes. We will use our knowledge of literary devices as a tool to analyze texts, and we will learn to generate thoughtful questions that will drive deeper engagement. We will also learn how to weave the common modes of writing (compare/contrast, description, definition, narrative, etc.) into our essays. We will focus on two major essays per semester, integrating academic writing and research skills as well as literary analysis. This class will prepare students to write in organized, clear, and thoughtful academic prose.

The structure of our classroom will be that of a flipped classroom. Because of limited classroom time, it is imperative that students incorporate a significant portion of the coursework into their homeschool schedules throughout the week. Students should expect anywhere from three to five hours of at-home work for reading, writing, vocabulary, consuming content-related multimedia, and other assignments and projects.

This class can be taken as an on-level or honors course. Honors-level course work will include weekly SAT vocabulary lists in addition to the weekly content-connected vocabulary that the whole class will do, an extra weekly assignment (an extra short-essay question, for example), and differentiation of writing assignments and projects that may require additional higher-order-thinking responses. I will also suggest extra readings for honors students. Note: An honors course load will likely increase the amount of time that students will spend on work outside of class, depending on the student’s pace. Expect an extra one to two hours of work per week. Students should feel free to begin the year at whichever level is best for them with the knowledge that they are welcome to switch if they need to.

I will keep numerical data for each student, and I am happy to print or email a grade report for you at any time. I will not return work with numerical grades to students; however, I will provide narrative feedback. Additionally, I use a coaching approach to writing, so feedback will also be given in real time. Students always have the option to revise and resubmit work. In fact, this is encouraged.

Semester I

British Literature: 10th-15th centuries

Our major works will be Beowulf and The Canterbury Tales. Some additional works will include The Song of Roland and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Our two major writing assignments will be a compare and contrast essay and a historical research paper. Both essays will integrate literary analysis of the major works.

Semester II

British Literature: 16th-20th centuries

Our major works will be Macbeth and Animal Farm. Some additional works will include A Modest Proposal and Gulliver’s Travels. Our two major writing assignments will be a character analysis essay and a persuasive essay.

Classroom Texts

I have chosen translations that are readable and engaging. I have tried to balance those criteria with a faithful rendering of the original texts. Students will also be exposed to the original versions of the texts in class. We will also excerpt certain passages to read in multiple translations as an exercise in text analysis.

Please note that it is important that students have the specific translations and editions listed below. Please feel free to make use of used books or to borrow from the library. Whatever works best for your situation. Students can make annotations with post-it notes if they are borrowing the book.

Semester I

Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf (2000, ISBN 9780374111199)

A.S. Kline’s translation of The Canterbury Tales (2016, 1539651150)

Semester II

Macbeth: The DVD Edition (Folger Shakespeare Library) Students will watch portions of the staged production at home. The DVD is included with the book.

Signet Classics: Animal Farm by George Orwell (2004, 9780451526342)

Classroom Supply List

  • Scissors
  • Sticky notes
  • High lighters (three colors, please)
  • Pencils
  • Glue sticks
  • A three-ring binder
  • A notebook

Instructor: Shabrayle S

Minimum enrollment requirement: 5

Course Length:  1-hr per week /14 weeks / semester

Cost: $185 per semester+ $15 material fee = $200 per semester


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