Students who take this humanities option will study a
survey of the history of ideas from the Ancient Greek World to the
mid-Twentieth Century. The major periods that we will cover are the Greek
World, the Roman World, the Medieval World, the Renaissance, the
Enlightenment, The Romantic Era, and finally the Modern World. We will focus
on the commanding ideas typical to thinkers of each period: their conception
of human nature, the relationship between the individual and society, and the
connection between man and the natural world. We will study how a culture’s
literature, art, and music reflect the period's zeitgeist. Our central
goal will be to define the moral, political and philosophical principles that
uphold civil society today.
Students taking this Humanities course will satisfy their History, English,
Art and Music requirements. The course will meet every day of the ten-day
cycle. The course will meet in a technology-enhanced room where we can make
full use of the computer’s multimedia capabilities and exploit internet
First Semester Topics and Texts:
Ancient History in Twenty Minutes: The Age of Mythology
September: Homer: Essay on Odysseus vs. Achilles
October: The Greek Ideal Project
October: The Middle Ages in Europe: Beowulf, part one
November: Early Renaissance: The Prologue from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales
November: High Renaissance Art and Architecture; Shakespeare’s The Tempest
December: Shakespeare’s Macbeth
January: The Enlightenment; Voltaire's Candide
Midyear Exam (20% of Semester Grade)
Second Semester Topics and Texts:
January: The French Revolution
February: Romantic Poetry: Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge
February: The Industrial Revolution
March: Russian Short Stories
March: Josef Conrad, Heart of Darkness
April: Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis
April: World War One Poetry
April: Modernism: Art, Poetry and Music
May: Artifacts Essay
May: The Origins of World War II
May: Lorca, La Casa de Bernarda Alba
May: Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz
Final Exam (20% of Semester Grade)
Course Goals for the First Semester
Our primary task in the
first semester will be to write essays on the major texts. These papers will
feature original theses informed by class discussions, homework assignments,
and revision. At the beginning of the semester the student will write an
essay which describes his particular writing goals for the semester (such as
improved thesis statements, better organization of arguments, and clearer
expression of ideas). The students will collect documents from drafts
of their papers into an electronic portfolio to demonstrate the progress that
they have made toward the achievement of their writing goals. We will also be
using new software, Writewell, to help students track their improvement in
writing through the semester.
We hope to produce
well-organized essays that persuasively prove their thesis statements by
referring to specific characters, moments, and quotations from the texts. The
final drafts of these essays will be free of grammatical, spelling, and
punctuation errors. The essays will be written in elegant and rhetorically
effective prose. To accomplish these writing goals, the class will make
extensive use of Gilman’s resources for writing: the Fenimore
Library, the Writing Center, and our high tech classroom which features
a computer for each student!
Classes will be driven
by student ideas. Students will generate their own thesis statements for
major papers. Emphasis will be placed on the variety of legitimate responses
that can be made to a text rather than any one correct path to understanding.
Students will lead
class discussions and participate in a variety of group activities. They will
deliver presentations together and give speeches. The students will also
stage their own interpretations of scenes from Twelfth Night during a
Shakespeare Festival in early December.
There will be regular
quizzes and tests on reading comprehension, vocabulary, and grammar. Students
will also be evaluated for their class participation, preparation and general
enthusiasm for the course.
Late Paper Policy:
Extensions will be granted for legitimate reasons, i.e. sickness, academic
crunches, and the like. However, no
extensions will be granted on the day that a paper is due. Papers are docked in grade five
points for each day that they are late (including weekends.)
Civil Behavior in the Classroom
Vital to the success of our class this year will be basic civility. To
the very best of our ability, we must keep the tone of the class up-beat and
enthusiastic. We must be tolerant of differences and patient with each other.
Without trust, people will be less willing to take chances, to participate in
discussions, and to work cooperatively on group projects. It will be my
responsibility to set the tone and to model appropriate behavior.
No verbal abuse will be tolerated. Just as important is avoiding non-verbal
comments about each other and the class, such as slouching in chairs,
appearing to be deathly bored, staring out the window, sleeping, rolling
one’s eyes at people’s comments, snickering, snorting, etc. etc. etc. Just be
Businesslike decorum is required in dress. Our classroom is a place of
business, not a social center. Appropriate dress reflects an appropriate
So, tuck your shirts in before you come to class!
Repeated lateness to class will not be tolerated! If it happens more than
once, you will need to get a late pass from Ms. Turner or Mr. Schmick to
return to class.
I will be running a study hall in our classroom during 5th period every day.
Students are welcome to sign out and meet with me. It is easiest to reach me
by email. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
My office phone number is (410) 323-3800 ext 252. Students and parents can
also call me at home before 10:00 p.m. at (443) 337-9060..