A school for boys in grades 7 - 12. Founded in 1867.
English Department Writing Center

High School Objectives

High School Objectives

Objectives for the High-School Grammar and Composition Program

English I


I. Grammar


In Warriner's Handbook 4th Course, the students review parts of the sentence, verbals, clauses, diagramming, usage of pronouns and verbs, and punctuation. This eight-week review in the beginning of the year serves as a foundation for writing future themes. Along with reinforcing sentence-building and editing skills, the grammar review provides the vocabulary of
grammar and style that teachers use when evaluating their students’ writing.


II. Composition


After reviewing paragraph construction and writing several expository paragraphs during the first quarter, students progress to study the basics of the five-paragraph expository theme (building on the junior school's work) in four or five formal themes. Students learn pre-writing techniques, outlining skills, and some editing and proofreading skills. Along with urging close reading and analysis of literature, ninth-grade teachers emphasize such formal concerns as writing coherent and thorough outlines and learning the mechanics of presenting formal essays. Since English I stresses the structure and mechanics of theme-writing, upper-level teachers should be able to focus more on content and logical argumentation.


Some instructors teach a memoir, personal essay, or narrative in addition to the major analytical themes. These types of assignments build the writing process, demonstrating a variety of ways students can discover topics, develop drafts, and polish their writing. Imaginative writing is crucial to a young person’s thinking process and self-examination. Depending on their writing and grammar skills, most ninth-graders will have other opportunities to write poems, journals, descriptions, and narratives.


English II


I. Grammar


In Modern English in Action workbook, students review parts of the sentence, verbals, clauses, diagramming, usage of pronouns and verbs, and punctuation. Similar to English I, this six-week review in the beginning of the year serves as a foundation for writing future themes. Along with reinforcing sentence-building and editing skills, the grammar review provides the vocabulary of grammar and style that teachers use when evaluating their students’ writing. Though grammar fundamentals are still emphasized in this review, stylistic principles and editing skills are given more attention than in English I.


II. Composition


Students continue to develop their ability to write the five-paragraph expository theme. English II teachers expect more independent thinking and stronger analysis than in English I. In particular, students are expected to write stronger introductions and conclusions than in English I, along with developing sound body paragraphs using the assertion-proof method. Following much of the groundwork in English I, students should build a writing process using pre-writing, outlining, drafting, and editing skills. By the end of the year, students should have mastered the formal skills of outlining and formatting a well-revised theme according to the M.B.A. Theme Guidelines. The research paper is also taught, including methods of research and documentation, and ways to organize a lengthy essay.


Some instructors teach a memoir, personal essay, or narrative in addition to the major expository themes and the research paper. Since English II is a survey of American literature, students usually have the chance to write journals in the manner of Emerson and Thoreau, and poems in the style of such ground-breaking poets as Whitman, Dickinson, and William Carlos Williams. As in English I, personal writing is seen as important to a young person’s development.


English III


I. Grammar


In Correct Writing, the students review parts of the sentence, verbals, clauses, punctuation, pronoun-antecedent agreement, subject-verb agreement, and stylistic exercises on parallelism, passive voice, dangling modifiers, unclear pronouns, too much coordination, illogical subordination, and diction. Unlike the eight-week and six-week grammar reviews in English I and II, juniors will review grammar (while studying literature) into the second quarter or longer, depending upon their mastery of the stylistic principles that they should be applying to their theme-writing. Though grammar fundamentals are still emphasized in this review, stylistic principles and editing skills are given more attention than in English I and II.


II. Composition


Students continue to master the five-paragraph expository theme, building on the expectations of a solid introduction, three body paragraphs, and conclusion. Students write five or six expository themes and, if the teacher chooses, a memoir or narrative. Students are urged to work independently on their thesis statements and outlines. By now, the student should have a clear picture of the writing process (pre-writing, formal outlines, drafting, editing, proper documentation). Though matters of form are still evaluated carefully, the content and logic of their essays receive more attention than in English I and II.


English IV


I. Grammar


In Correct Writing, the students review some of the same exercises as English III, placing stronger emphasis on stylistic errors including subject-verb agreement, pronoun-antecedent agreement, parallelism, passive voice, dangling modifiers, unclear pronouns, too much coordination, illogical subordination, and diction.


II. Composition


The objectives in English IV are similar to English III with greater emphasis on independent thinking in all stages of the theme process: topic derivation, pre-writing, outlining, drafting, editing, and documentation. Students are urged to work independently on their thesis statements and outlines. By now, the student should have a solid writing process (pre-writing, formal outlines, drafting, editing, proper documentation). Though matters of form are still evaluated, the content and logic of the essays take precedence. Most of the major themes are expository, but some teachers include a memoir, narrative, or another assignment. Some classes finish the year with a senior project that reviews techniques of writing and documenting a lengthy essay, along with updating research skills.

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