English Department

Students must earn four credits of English to meet New York State’s requirement for high school graduation. All English courses are designed to meet the Next Generation English standards with specific focal points on further developing students’ reading (via literary and informational texts), writing (exposition, narration, and argument), listening, speaking (in collaborative discussions with their instructors and peers), and critical thinking skills. Courses will cover a variety of genres, time periods, and themes.

English 9-12 classes at Amsterdam High School are taught at Regents and Honors levels, with consultant teachers working with students in the former level. Honors and elective courses may be taken for college credits through Fulton Montgomery Community College’s College in the High School Program. Additionally, 11th and 12th grade honors classes offer the opportunity to earn College Board’s Advanced Placement credit.

All students are mandated to take the NYS Regents examination in English Language Arts by the end of their junior year. Students must pass this exam to meet graduation requirements.

English 9 Honors 

1 Year | 1 Credit

This is the first honors course in a series of four accelerated English courses. This course focuses on preparing students for the NYS Regents Examination in English given at the end of grade 10. Further, it prepares students to succeed in AP level courses.

This course includes a survey of major literary genres (novel, nonfiction, short story, drama, poetry) emphasizing literary elements and techniques and specific instruction in various kinds of writing (narrative, expository, and informational). Instruction is given in spelling, vocabulary, and the conventions of standard written English. Library research/technology skills are developed in accordance with MLA format. Students will be expected to participate in a range of conversations and collaborations; as such, listening and speaking are also an integral part of this course.

Students will have to complete a teacher-selected summer assignment.  It is recommended that students enrolling in this course have already taken Accelerated English 8 at Lynch Literacy Academy.

English 9 Regents

1 Year | 1 Credit

This course offers students an in-depth approach to reading, writing, listening, speaking, and critical thinking in preparation for the NYS Regents Examination in English Language Arts at the end of 11th grade.

Close readings of a wide variety of literature (novels, short stories, dramas, essays, nonfiction, poems) assist students in becoming critical readers and writers. A process approach to writing emphasizes the author’s use of literary elements and techniques and argument. The use of technology is also required for this course (Google Classroom, Google Documents, etc.).

Instruction is also given in spelling, vocabulary, and the conventions of standard written English. Library research/technology skills are developed in accordance with MLA style.

English 9 PBL

1 Year | 1 Credit

This course offers students an in-depth approach to reading, writing, listening, speaking, and critical thinking in preparation for the NYS Regents Examination in English Language Arts at the end of 11th grade.

Close readings of a wide variety of literature (novels, short stories, dramas, essays, nonfiction, poems) assist students in becoming critical readers and writers. A process approach to writing emphasizes the author’s use of literary elements and techniques and argument. The use of technology is also required for this course (Google Classroom, Google Documents, etc.).

Instruction is given in spelling, vocabulary, and the conventions of standard written English. Library research/technology skills are developed in accordance with MLA style.

This course is co-taught alongside Global I, and uses a Project-Based Learning model in which students engage with the cross-curricular content in real-world projects.

English 10 Regents

1 Year | 1 Credit

This course offers students an in-depth approach to reading, writing, listening, speaking, and critical thinking in preparation for the NYS Regents Examination in English Language Arts at the end of 11th grade.

Close readings of a wide variety of literature (novels, short stories, dramas, essays, nonfiction, poems) assist students in becoming critical readers and writers. A process approach to writing emphasizes the author’s use of literary elements and techniques and argument. The use of technology is also required for this course (Google Classroom, Google Documents, etc.).

Instruction is also given in spelling, vocabulary, and the conventions of standard written English. Library research/technology skills are developed in accordance with MLA style.

English 10 PBL

1 Year | 1 Credit

This course offers students an in-depth approach to reading, writing, listening, speaking, and critical thinking in preparation for the NYS Regents Examination in English Language Arts at the end of11th grade.

Close readings of a wide variety of literature (novels, short stories, dramas, essays, nonfiction, poems) assist students in becoming critical readers and writers. A process approach to writing emphasizes the author’s use of literary elements and techniques and argument. The use of technology is also required for this course (Google Classroom, Google Documents, etc.).

Emphasis throughout the course is placed on vocabulary development, nonfiction as well as the improvement of writing style by blending the study of literature with the teaching of writing and library research/technology in accordance with MLA style. Speaking and listening are also an integral part of this course.

This course is co-taught alongside Global II, and uses a Project-Based Learning model in which students engage with the cross-curricular content in real-world projects.

English 10 Honors/FMCC ENG 103 + 104

1 Year | 1 Credit | FMCC 103 + 230 (6 Credits)

This is the second course in the honors level of the English curriculum.

This accelerated course offers students an in-depth approach to reading, writing, listening, speaking, and critical thinking in preparation for the NYS Regents Examination in English Language Arts at the end of the year. A process approach to writing emphasizes the author’s use of literary elements and techniques and argument. The use of technology is also required for this course (Google Classroom, Google Documents, etc.).

ENG 103 is designed to improve effective college level communication in writing and oral presentations. Assignments include argument development and analysis and current research techniques and procedures for documenting sources. Students plan, draft, and revise original texts and oral presentations.

ENG 104 expands on the written and oral communication skills learned in ENG 103. Assignments focus on students’ understanding, research, and interpretation of such literary genres as short stories, poetry, and drama.

Students enrolled in this course must pass the NYS Regents Examination in English Language Arts to fulfill state graduation requirements and move on to the third honors course in the sequence.

It is recommended that students enrolling in this course have already taken English 9 Honors.

Students will have to complete a teacher-selected summer assignment.

English 11 Regents

1 Year | 1 Credit

This course offers students an in-depth approach to reading, writing, listening, speaking, and critical thinking in preparation for the NYS Regents Examination in English Language Arts at the end of the year. Close readings of a wide variety of literature (novels, short stories, dramas, essays, nonfiction, poems) assist students in becoming critical readers and writers. A process approach to writing emphasizes the author’s use of literary elements and techniques and argument. The use of technology is also required for this course (Google Classroom, Google Documents, etc.).

Students enrolled in this course must pass the NYS Regents Examination in English Language Arts to fulfill state graduation requirements.

English 11 Honors/AP Language and Composition

1 year | 1 credit

This is the third course in the honors level of the English curriculum.

The AP English Language and Composition course focuses on the development and revision of evidence-based analytic and argumentative writing, the rhetorical analysis of nonfiction texts, and the decisions writers make as they compose and revise. Students evaluate, synthesize, and cite research to support their arguments. Additionally, they read and analyze rhetorical elements and their effects in nonfiction texts—including images as forms of text—from a range of disciplines and historical periods.

It is recommended that students enrolling in this course have already passed the Regents Exam in English Language Arts at the end of 10th grade.

Students will have to complete a teacher-selected summer assignment.

English 12

1 Year | 1 Credit

This course is designed for high school seniors who are embarking on various paths – college, the military, and/or workforce. It includes a survey of literature and involves works by various major authors’ writing across genres. Global citizenship is the focus; the major objective of this course is to prepare students for life beyond high school by nurturing their independence, while still providing the guidance necessary to achieve higher level thinking.

The class will focus on foundational works of American and British literature including those by Native Americans and other diverse cultures. Through close examination of these works, students will continue to develop their analytical reading and critical thinking skills. Throughout the school year students will conduct research on various relevant topics to develop analytical responses that conform to the MLA style for research and documentation.

An end of the year departmental examination is required.

English 12 Regents Recovery

1 Year | 1 Credit

This course offers students an in-depth approach to reading, writing, listening, speaking, and critical thinking in preparation for the NYS Regents Examination in English Language Arts. This course is specifically designed for students recovering Regents credit from their junior year.

Close readings of a wide variety of literature (novels, short stories, dramas, essays, nonfiction, poems) assist students in becoming critical readers and writers. A process approach to writing emphasizes the author’s use of literary elements and techniques and argument. The use of technology is also required for this course (Google Classroom, Google Documents, etc.).

Students enrolled in this course must pass the NYS Regents Examination in English Language Arts to fulfill state graduation requirements in either January or June.

English 12 Honors/AP Literature and Composition/FMCC 150 + 230

1 Year | 1 Credit | FMCC’s 150 + 230 (6 Credits)

This course culminates the honors level of the English curriculum.
The AP English Literature and Composition course focuses on reading, analyzing, and writing about imaginative literature (fiction, poetry, drama) from various periods. Students engage in close reading and critical analysis of imaginative literature to deepen their understanding of the ways writers use language to provide both meaning and pleasure. As they read, students consider a work’s structure, style, and themes, as well as its use of figurative language, imagery, and symbolism. Writing assignments include expository, analytical, and argumentative essays that require students to analyze and interpret literary works.

Students will have the opportunity to earn 6 college credits through FMCC’s College in the High School Program.

It is recommended that students enrolling in this course have taken 11 Honors/AP Language and Composition.

Students will have to complete a teacher-selected summer assignment.

Literature and Film

1/2 Year (ED) | 1/2 English Credit

This course will delve into how classic literature has continually influenced popular film and television for many decades. The course will focus on the examination of how effective movies follow the same structure and elements of the literature that they are recreating and/or influenced by. Students will not only read and discuss classic novels, short stories and essays, but they will also critique films as literature by exploring a film’s use of literary elements and techniques and/or commentary on society and humanity. A variety of directors and genres of films will be analyzed. An emphasis will be placed on the idea that knowledge and insight can be acquired through the exploration and enjoyment of the literature and films that encompass American pop culture.

This is a college preparation course that is highly dependent upon video presentations; therefore, attendance is of the utmost importance.

Mock Trial

1/2 Year | 1/2 Credit

This English course would be a combination of public speaking, theater, and debate. A unique opportunity for a close examination of our country’s legal system, this class charges students with the task of preparing for a case provided by the New York State Bar Association. Students will analyze, research, and role play in preparation to compete against students from other schools in Montgomery County. This dynamic course will hone students’ critical thinking, public speaking, and writing skills.

Public Speaking

1/2 Year | 1/2 Credit

This course is designed for students who are interested in gaining the public speaking skills that are crucial for college and career readiness.  Students will learn the importance of effective public speaking as it plays an important role in their academic, professional, and social lives.  Students will hone their oratory skills through a variety of approaches that focus on three major types of speeches: informative, persuasive, and special occasion. Students will have the opportunity to critique a variety of speeches through video and print format. Students will also be required to develop and present several types of speeches throughout this course which will be evaluated by the teacher using specific rubrics and criteria.

This course offers students FMCC credit for ENG 132. 

Creative Writing

1/2 Year | 1/2 Credit

This course is an opportunity for students to grow as authors.  Students will read and analyze models of each of three key genres and write their own original poetry, personal narratives, and short stories in this semester-long course.  Students will share their work with each other, give and receive constructive feedback to support each individual‘s growth as creative writers. Students will participate in reading, analysis, and class discussions.  The course will culminate in the publication of a literary anthology made up of original student work (print and/or digital).

School Newspaper

1/2 Year | 1/2 Credit

The newspaper course is designed to give students a basic understanding of journalism and newspaper writing process and techniques. Students will write, edit, and layout seven issues of the school newspaper:

  • news
  • sports
  • current events
  • advertisements
  • cartoons
  • photography
  • local biography

The newspaper will be published in print and in an online version.  Further, there may be an opportunity to submit various news articles to local community news outlets including The Amsterdam Recorder and The Daily Gazette. Students in this course do all the work for publication of each issue of the paper. Students will develop their writing abilities and editing skills by creating several articles for the school paper. Students will also develop skills in photography and comic drawing. The course will also require some after-school deadlines, as well as some out-of-school time for news coverage.

Sports Literature

1/2 Year | 1/2 Credit

This course is designed for students who are interested in sports and the world of athletics.  This course will provide students with the reading, writing, and analysis skills necessary for interdisciplinary success.  This course will show students that reading and writing can be fun and exciting, especially with an engaging topic such as athletics and the opportunity to make individual text selections.  The class will read a variety of texts that may include sports novels, informational texts, poems, speeches, and/or biographies. Digital media, including news clips and or film, will be used to accompany the literature/topics throughout the course.

Introduction to Theater I

1/2 Year | 1/2 Credit

This half-year course will trace the wide range of theater from its beginnings to the present in order to explore the relationship between this unique art form and the societies that produced it with a focus on Western Theater. Students will explore the many forces (cultural, political, scientific, and economic) that have impacted the development of theater into the powerful and dominating force it has become in our lives. Various methods of assessment, including individual and group projects, and improvisation, will be used. Project preparation may at times be extensive. In addition, students will be required to be active in a student-chosen aspect of the drama production at the high school during this class.

Introduction to Theater II

1/2 Year | 1/2 Credit

This half-year course will introduce students to the three broad areas of modern theatrical performance: acting, directing, and designing. As an introductory course, all students will fulfill basic requirements in each area, but students will be asked to focus on one of them for their final project. The goal is to have students understand the interconnected nature of theatrical professions and the scope of responsibility for each. In addition, we will study theater as an art form by reading and observing drama, so students will develop the skills to properly critique the three areas of performance.  Students will be required to be active in a student chosen aspect of the drama production at the high school during this class.

Young Adult Literature

1/2 Year | 1/2 Credit

This semester-long course is designed to increase the level of student reading, engagement with reading and in-depth analysis through the use of worthy Young Adult Literature (YA) works in the context of a standard English classroom. Research suggests that reading and analyzing YA literature serves as an excellent gateway to understanding and analyzing more difficult literary works. So, students will closely examine YA novels to study and consider the important literary concepts found within the works of the standard English curriculum as they lend themselves to the development of personal narrative, expository, and argumentative writing. Students will read, analyze, interpret, respond to, evaluate and compare literary concepts in the novels orally, in writing, and in presentations.

Documentaries: The Study of Real Life in Film

1/2 Year | 1/2 Credit

What is a documentary? How do documentaries influence and shape our opinions of the world we live in? This course will give students the opportunity to view, analyze, and discuss a variety of documentaries ranging in topics. We will look at how filmmakers’ use fact and narrative to communicate a desired message to their audience. Through close analysis and discussion of the films viewed in class, students will be asked to consider the objectivity and validity of the issues and events portrayed in the films as well as the film-makers’ purpose in its creation. This course is designed to have multiple interdisciplinary connections. Students will also have the opportunity to create a documentary on a topic of interest using district technology resources. Course work includes a research project and presentation.