Communication Arts

  • Students must earn 4.0 English credits to graduate from WGHS.

    3270 FRESHMAN LITERATURE AND COMPOSITION
    Credit:  1 unit
    Open to Grade:  9
    Freshman Literature and Composition is a one-year course incorporating the study of language skills and writing with an introduction to various literary genres.  The course provides a foundation and background for students who are college-bound and expect to take advanced English courses in the later high school years. Students study the novel, short story, drama, and poetry (including the epic). Some major works studied include The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and Homer's Odyssey. Optional works include A Separate Peace, Of Mice and Men, Lord of the Flies, and Purple Hibiscus.  In addition, students read short stories by such authors as Poe and O. Henry; and poetry by such authors as Robert Frost and Langston Hughes. Vocabulary study draws from the literature or from word lists appropriate for this grade level.  Students study the process of writing from the generation of ideas through revision and editing. All students write several multi-paragraph papers each semester and study the various modes including narration, explanation, persuasion, and description.  In addition, students study the grammar and mechanics of English and apply those skills to expository compositions, including the I-Search paper. This course emphasizes the development of study skills including organization and long- and short-term planning.  Because of the nature of this course and the material covered, students do a considerable amount of reading and writing outside the classroom. Opportunities to earn Honors grades are given each semester.

    9060  GIFTED & TALENTED 9
    Credit: 1 unit                 
    Prerequisite: In Gifted and Talented Program
    Open to Grade: 9
    Gifted 9 is a language arts course for gifted freshmen. Its purpose is to immerse gifted students in literature, writing assignments, activities, and projects that will challenge them while addressing their unique learning styles and affective needs. Freshmen English is a foundations course, so students will study the foundations of literature and the English language. Therefore, this course will cover such basics as the epic, Greek and Shakespearean tragedies, the novel, poetic techniques, the short story, and creative non-fiction. Students will practice various writing techniques. Relevant historical and cultural material will be addressed as well, in order that students may better understand overarching themes and archetypal patterns. Heavy emphasis will be placed on grammar (particularly sentence structure, clarity, and punctuation) and vocabulary (word origins, analogy-building, and ACT/SAT test prep). The largest assignment of the year is the I-Search research project, which also involves out-of-school job shadowing. It will be written in the second semester. Students are required to read four books over the summer. Note: This course will count as a weighted grade.

    3040 ENGLISH 10
    Credit:  1 unit
    Enrollment: based on reading assessment and teacher recommendation
    Open to Grade:  10
    This full-year course, designed for tenth-grade students who read below grade level, emphasizes the basic principles and terminology of expository writing and literature.  It includes the study of literary works, grammar, vocabulary, and composition. Writing instruction includes paragraph development, the personal essay, the critical paper, and the research report.  Students have daily homework, including frequent reading and writing assignments. At least three formal essays are required each semester.

    3450 WORLD LITERATURE AND COMPOSITION
    Credit: 1 unit
    Open to Grades:  10
    This full-year college preparatory course for sophomores is designed to prepare students for the advanced English courses offered to juniors and seniors.  Since it combines a study of literature with that of composition, reading and writing assignments are frequently connected. Vocabulary study draws from the literature or from word lists appropriate for this grade level.  Students improve their linguistic and analytical skills by interpreting literature in terms of such elements as theme, characterization, structure, symbolism, irony, and figurative language. Organized around world literature, readings may be chosen from the following:  Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar or Macbeth, Camus’ The Stranger, Satrapi’s Persepolis, Hesse’s Siddhartha, Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, Wiesel’s Night, Orwell’s 1984, Mishima’s The Sound of Waves, Markandaya’s Nectar in a Sieve, Coelho’s The Alchemist, Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate and Dante’s Inferno.  Equal emphasis is placed on the writing process, particularly sentence structure, paragraph organization and development, diction, and mechanics.  Students concentrate on form and technique in writing four to six major compositions per semester, including personal essays and critical essays of varying lengths.  Also included in the first semester is the researched argument paper. Students sit for the Missouri End of Course Exam in April, which will comprise 10% of the semester grade.

    3455 HONORS WORLD LITERATURE AND COMPOSITION
    Credit:  1 unit
    Recommendation: Students who earned an “A-” or better in both semesters of Freshman Literature & Composition have experienced an appropriate yet challenging placement in this course; one semester of Freshman H-Grade strongly recommended.
    Open to Grade:  10
    This rigorous, accelerated course for sophomores is designed for the student who is ready for a challenging and intense English experience. Organized around works of world literature, readings may be chosen from the following: Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, Camus’ The Stranger, Hesse’s Siddhartha, Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, Orwell’s 1984, Dickens’ Great Expectations or A Tale of Two Cities, Mishima’s The Sound of Waves, Markandaya’s Nectar in a Sieve, Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate, Satrapi’s Persepolis, and Dante’s Inferno. Students may also expect to read extensive selections of nonfiction and poetry. Equal emphasis is placed on the writing process, particularly sentence structure, paragraph organization and development, diction, and mechanics. Students concentrate on form and technique in writing six or more major compositions per semester, including researched essays, rhetorical analysis, and critical essays of varying lengths. Also included in the first semester is the persuasive research paper. Students sit for the Missouri End of Course Exam in April, which will comprise 10% of the semester grade.  Summer reading is required. Note:  This course counts as a weighted grade.

    9070  GIFTED & TALENTED 10
    Credit: 1 unit
    Prerequisite: In Gifted and Talented Program
    Open to Grade: 10
    Gifted 10 is a language arts AP prep course for gifted sophomores. Its purpose is to immerse gifted students in literature, writing assignments, activities, and projects that will challenge them while addressing their unique learning styles and affective needs. Students will study the literary and cultural movements of Europe, beginning with the Anglo-Saxon Era and moving chronologically forward to address the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Romantic Era, Enlightenment, Realism, Modernism, and Surrealism. They will study seminal literary works and artistic forms from each time period. Relevant cultural and historical background will also be addressed along the way to increase understanding of literary trends and genres. Grammar instruction is weekly, addressing in particular review of all material from the previous year as well as advanced sentence structure and diagramming. Vocabulary instruction will consist of test preparation, etymological studies, and analogy building. The largest writing assignment of the year is the persuasive research paper, which will be written in the second semester. Students are required to read four books over the summer. Note: This course will count as a weighted grade.

    3763  20th CENTURY AMERICAN LITERATURE & COMPOSITION
    Credit:  1 unit
    Open to Grade: 11
    This college preparatory course provides an extensive study of literature, composition, grammar, and research techniques. Literary study will focus on influential modern American literature supplemented with relevant texts from the 19th through the 21st Centuries. Representative works may include Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, Morrison’s Song of Solomon, Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Miller’s The Crucible, Krakauer’s Into the Wild, Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, and selected short stories and nonfiction. The course stresses composition as a process of critical analysis.  Throughout the year, students will write multiple essays based on literature, exposition and argumentation, and research.  Critical reading skills, ACT preparation techniques, and vocabulary development are emphasized throughout the year.

    3771 HONORS US STUDIES ACC/AP LANGUAGE                                                     
    Credit:  Credit: 2 Units (1 unit English and 1 unit Soc. St.)                            
    Recommendation: Students who earned a “B” or better in Honors World Lit & Comp or “A-” or better in World Lit & Comp have experienced an appropriate yet challenging placement in this course.                  
    Open to Grades:  11
    Honors U.S. Studies, a rigorous, wide-ranging investigation into U.S. history and culture, stresses those skills requisite for the college-bound student.  A two-period block of time is provided for it (though students receive separate grades in each half of the course). This course’s cross-disciplinary approach offers the students an opportunity to take a philosophical look into U.S. history, literature, and culture in unison.  An English instructor and a social studies instructor teach full-time in the program. The social studies component of the course is a chronological study of American history beginning with the Age of Exploration and concluding with modern America. The literature in this course is also presented chronologically, and may include such works as Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Sinclair’s The Jungle, Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, Morrison’s Sula, as well as numerous shorter works from various eras, including 18th century slave narratives.  Students should expect to write multiple papers per semester in a variety of modes. Vocabulary study, critical thinking and reading skills, and grammar/editing techniques are stressed throughout the year.  This class helps students prepare to take the Advanced Placement Test in American History and the Advanced Placement Test in English Language, and it satisfies the American History requirement for graduation.  Summer reading is required.

    Note 1: This course will count as a weighted grade and ACC is available in both English (3 hours) and social studies (3 hours per semester). AP credit is available for both portions of the course to those students who elect to take the exam.

    Note 2: Students enrolled in English 3772 must be enrolled concurrently in Social Studies 8120.  Please see the Social Studies course descriptions for further information on the Social Studies portion of the course.

    3775 AP ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND COMPOSITION
    Credit:  1 unit
    Recommendation: Students who earn a “B” or better in Honors World Lit. & Comp or “A-” or better in World Lit & Comp have experienced an appropriate yet challenging placement in this course. 
    Open to Grade: 11                       
    AP Language and Composition is a college level course designed to prepare students to be able to write effectively and confidently in their future courses across the curriculum and in their professional and personal lives.  Students will read a wide variety of predominantly non-fiction texts with an emphasis on American authors and essayists. The primary goal of these readings will be to analyze good writing by identifying and explaining the author’s techniques.  Students should expect to write extensively and for a variety of purposes in order to develop their own stylistic maturity in the use of rhetorical strategies. Assignments will include creating and sustaining expository, analytical, and argumentative compositions that introduce a complex central idea and develop it with appropriate evidence drawn from primary and/or secondary sources. Students can expect to conduct research requiring citation of primary and secondary sources with careful attention to inquiry and research.  Students may also expect extensive work in grammar and vocabulary. Texts studied in whole or part include Nickel and Dimed, Fast Food Nation, Freakonomics, Into the Wild, Glass Castle,The Grapes of Wrath, The Great Gatsby, as well as extensive selections of essays.  In May, students are encouraged to sit for the AP Language and Composition Exam.  Competitive and selective colleges typically award credit for scores of 4 and 5.

    Note:  This course counts as a weighted grade, and students may receive dual credit from UMSL.

    3700  AP ENGLISH LANGUAGE (GIFTED 11)
    Credit:  1 unit
    Prerequisite:  In Gifted and Talented Program
    Open to Grade:  11
    Juniors in the Gifted and Talented Program will study fiction and nonfiction texts with emphasis on American authors and essayists, along with advanced composition and rhetorical strategies. This course focuses on critical thinking and literary analysis. Attention will also be given to students’ affective needs and present areas of interest. Some cross-disciplinary study will occur, particularly with history and the humanities. In addition, students may expect continued work in grammar and vocabulary in preparation for college admissions tests. Students are required to read four books over the summer. At the conclusion of this course, students will have the option to take the AP exam in Language and Composition. Note:  This course counts as a weighted grade, and students may receive dual credit from UMSL.

    3685 AFRICAN AMERICAN LITERATURE AND CULTURE                                      
    Credit:  1 unit                                                                      
    Open to Grade:  12
    This year-long course is designed for the serious student interested in African-American heritage. Students study African-American writers and their contributions to the cultural development of this country. The course requires frequent independent reading, homework and group work, and class discussion. The literature—autobiographies, short stories, poetry, drama, and novels—are taught in chronological order.  The course not only has the intent of exposing students to literature from the African-American community, but also enlightening them to the nuances of a culture. Through the readings and class participation, students experience the inner workings of this very rich heritage. The course covers the oral tradition in Africa, the Civil War, the Reconstruction Era, and the beginnings of the Harlem Renaissance. Semester II covers the end of the Harlem Renaissance, World War II, the Civil Rights movement, and contemporary issues. Students may elect to take either Semester I, Semester II, or both.  Specific works may include Black Like Me, The Color Purple, Invisible Man, A Lesson Before Dying, Piano Lesson, and Bluest Eye.

    745 CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE AND COMPOSITION    
    Credit:  1 unit
    Open to Grade:  12
    This course is recommended for students who have taken Honors US Studies or 20th Century American Literature. This year-long course prepares students for college and other post-secondary opportunities. Students strengthen their critical thinking skills by exploring contemporary readings, composing at least six formal papers, and practicing revisions and rewriting. Anchor papers include the college admission essay first semester and the multi-genre research paper second semester. Key texts for this class include college-level reading selections along with focused exercises in editing, refining sentence structure, and drafting coherent paragraphs and essays. Weekly vocabulary study involves learning Latin, Greek and French word parts with English derivations. Service-learning assignments connect literature study to hands-on experiences in the world outside of school.

    3795 AP ENGLISH LITERATURE AND COMPOSITION
    Credit:  1 unit
    Recommendation: Students who have earned an “A” in 20th Century American Literature or “B+” in Honors U.S. Studies or AP English Language have experienced an appropriate yet challenging placement in this course. 
    Open to Grade:  12
    Students learn to read British literature (fiction, non-fiction, drama, and poetry) for multiple meanings and interpret them for theme, symbolism, figurative language, and consideration of authorial influences using multiple critical approaches.  Students also master composition skills such as grammar/usage, sentence structure, logical organization, controlling voice, and analytical argumentation. Studied works include Frankenstein; Wuthering Heights; Pride and Prejudice;  A Tale of Two Cities; Heart of Darkness; Much Ado About Nothing; Brighton Rock; Boy, Snow Bird; Never Let Me Go; Othello; Mrs. Dalloway; The Importance of Being Earnest; and selections of romantic, metaphysical, modern, and contemporary poetry.  Students write extensively both in and out of class. Students are encouraged to take the AP English Literature exam in May. Competitive and selective colleges typically award credit for scores of 4 and 5. Summer reading is required. Note:  This course counts as a weighted grade, and students may receive dual credit from UMSL.

    3715 EMERGING VOICES: LITERATURE OF CRITICISM AND RESISTANCE ACC (pending Board of Education approval)      
    Credit: 1 unit
    Open to Grade: 12
    The is a rigorous college-credit course for seniors interested in a disciplined study of literature written from varied, multicultural perspectives. Through exploration of rich and diverse texts that challenge both cultural and societal norms and expectations, students will develop skills in close-reading and literary analysis as well as in academic, formal writing. A special focus will be placed upon the understanding and interpretation of critical theory, and prospective students should expect to read college-level texts and compose literary analysis essays throughout the year. In addition, the course will focus on drafting and revising the college/career-readiness essay during the first month of school. Required texts may include the following: Song of Solomon,The Metamorphosis, Invisible Man, The Handmaid’s Tale, White Noise, The Piano Lesson, and numerous poems, essays, articles and excerpts. Summer reading is required. Note:  This course counts as a weighted grade, and students may receive dual credit from UMSL.

    3710  AP ENGLISH LITERATURE (GIFTED 12)
    Credit:  1 unit                      
    Prerequisite:  In Gifted and Talented Program
    Open to Grade:  12
    In this humanities-based course, students will learn to read and critically analyze four genres of American and British literature: nonfiction, drama, fiction, and poetry. Particular emphasis will be placed on close reading strategies and structural and literary analysis of critical texts; in addition, historical, contextual, and cultural background will be provided for all course content. Coursework will include critical essays, the college and career-readiness essay, poems, and a narrative, as well as weekly vocabulary study. At the culmination of the course, students will conduct an independent research and reflection project. Students are required to read three to four novels over the summer.  Students are encouraged to take the AP English Literature exam in May; competitive and selective colleges typically award credit for scores of 4 and 5. Note:  This course counts as a weighted grade, and students may receive dual credit from UMSL.

    READING CLASSES  

    3045 READING 9
    Credit:  1/2 unit                       
    Enrollment: based on reading assessment and recommendation of 8th or 9th grade teacher
    Open to Grade: 9
    This class allows students to work individually to improve comprehension, vocabulary development, and study skills.  A variety of materials are used in the class, including, but not limited to software, independent novels, class readings, newspaper articles, and timed reading passages.  A majority of work is done individually based on the reading level of each student.

    3120 READING 10
    Credit: ½ unit
    Enrollment: based on reading assessment and recommendation of 9th grade English teacher
    Open to Grade: 10
    This course provides students the opportunity to build reading strategies, to expand vocabulary and develop comprehension techniques through nonfiction and fiction texts, especially those connected to the World Literature course. Students practice skills necessary for critical reading and analysis of literature, efficient use of time, effective note-taking, studying and test-taking strategies. Reading assessment will determine class placement.

    3125 READING 11-12
    Credit:  1/2 unit
    Enrollment: based on reading assessment and recommendation of 10th or 11th grade English teachers
    Open to Grades: 11-12
    This course gives students the opportunity to build reading strategies, to expand vocabulary and develop comprehension techniques through nonfiction and fiction. Students practice skills necessary for critical reading and analysis of literature, efficient use of time, effective note-taking, studying and test-taking strategies. Reading assessment will determine class placement.

    ELECTIVE CLASSES

    3260 CREATIVE WRITING
    Credit:  1/2 unit
    Open to Grades:  10-12
    This semester course is open to student authors who wish to improve their creative writing skills.  It is in a workshop format and requires strong self-motivation and organization, as the student determines most of his or her writing assignments.  During the course, students compile a portfolio of rewrites, mini-lessons tailored to meet student needs and spark ideas, and many drafts. Mini-lessons will focus on everything from alternative forms of poetry to using research in writing and using personal experience to formatting dialogue.  Students will be encouraged to draft in genres of their choice: poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, screenplay, etc. Stretching the imagination and experimenting with new forms and topics are encouraged. Grades will be based on class participation in freewrites and mini lessons, weekly drafting, and the finalized pieces due at the end of each month.  The final for this course is revising a work and submitting it for publication.

    3261 CREATIVE WRITING II 
    Credit: ½ unit
    Prerequisite: Creative Writing I
    Open to Grades: 10-12
    This semester course is open to student authors who wish to continue to improve their creative writing skills. It is in a workshop format and requires strong self-motivation and organizations, as the student determines most writing assignments. During the course, students compile a portfolio of rewrites, mini-lessons tailored to meet student needs and spark ideas, and many drafts. Mini-lessons will focus on everything from alternative forms of poetry to using research in writing and using personal experience to formatting dialogue. Students will be encouraged to draft in genres of their choice: poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, screenplay, etc. Stretching the imagination and experimenting with new forms and topics are encouraged. Grades will be based on class participation in freewrites and mini lessons, weekly drafting, and the finalized pieces due at the end of each month. Active participation in the annual school writing festival is strongly encouraged. The final for this course is revising work and submitting it for publication.  

    3850 FILM APPRECIATION
    Credit: 1/2 unit
    Students must be concurrently enrolled in full-year English course
    Open to Grades:  11-12
    This one-semester course provides an overview of important genres, directors, techniques, and trends in American and foreign films. The course is designed to increase students’ appreciation for film, to provide an understanding of the dynamics that shape film, and to expand cultural awareness.  The course examines 12-15 films, representing major movements in film history, including film noir, the MGM musical, Hitchcockian suspense, the John Ford western, award-winning foreign work, and modern independent film. Film study concentrates on the analysis of movies as literature, giving scrutiny to plot, character, symbolism, and themes of each landmark film. The course requires serious note-taking, study questions, daily quizzes, exams, and two critical papers.  Film Appreciation is an excellent course for students who are serious about the critical study of film and its place in our popular culture.

    3500 JOURNALISM
    Credit:  1 unit of elective credit
    Prerequisites:  Freshman Lit & Comp. (may take concurrently)
    Open to Grades:  9-12
    Journalism is a one-year writing course intended for students who like to write, who want to prepare for college writing or who plan to work on the newspaper and the yearbook.  Course content includes news writing, features, editorials, advertising, headline writing, sports writing, news analysis, legal and ethical issues, video editing and production, and layout.

    3510  PUBLICATIONS:  THE ECHO PAPER
    Credit:  1 unit
    Prerequisites:  Journalism & instructor approval
    Open to Grades:  10-12
    The paper staff is chosen from the journalism classes.  The staff publishes the monthly school paper and its online version.  In alternate years it also prepares the Turkey Day program. Besides the time required for story assignments, staff members spend time outside school hours for page design of the  paper and ad solicitation.

    3332 PUBLIC SPEAKING (INTRO TO DEBATE)
    Credit: 1/2 unit                                
    Open to Grades:  9-12
    Prerequisite:  none             
    This is a semester long class that dives into the situations where one would need to address the public. Modeled after the national tournament events, this class explores different types of speeches, public service announcements, radio broadcasting and many other types of formal address.

    3335 DEBATE
    Credit:  1/2 unit                              
    Open to Grades:  9-12
    Prerequisite:  Public Speaking          
    This is a semester-long class that dives into the game of debate and deepening the knowledge previously learned in Public Speaking. Modeled after national tournament events, this class explores different types of debate, how to build better cases, constructing solid arguments and delivering strong speeches. Laptops are recommended.

    3800 WOMEN, GENDER, AND DIVERSITY ACC
    Credit:  1/2 unit
    Recommendation: Students who earned a “B+” in 10th or 11th grade English have experienced an appropriate yet challenging placement in this course.
    Open to Grades:  11-12                                                                                                              
    Women, Gender, and Diversity is an interdisciplinary, advanced credit course for the college-bound student.  It provides an introduction to Women's and Gender Studies and introduces students to cultural, political, and historical issues of concern to women. The course familiarizes students with the diversity of women's experiences worldwide and explores representations of women and women's contributions to multiple disciplines, including anthropology, history, sociology, psychology, and literature.  The class is discussion-based, taught in a seminar format, and students read and write extensively outside of class. Note:  This course will count as a weighted grade and students may receive Advanced College Credit through UMSL.