Humanity is a complicated thing.
At Pomfret, we study literature because stories give shape to the chaos of our lives. By examining words, sentences, characters, and plots, we learn what it means to be human. Incoming third formers must take four years of English, through all three terms of English IV. Seniors must pass all yearlong courses and all courses in the spring term of the senior year in order to be considered for graduation.
- Humanities: English I
- English II
- English III
- Advanced English III
- Advanced English IV
- Eng IV: Satire and Humor as Literary Strategy
- Eng IV: About Poetry
- Eng IV: Contemporary Lit & Pop Culture
- ENG IV: Creative Writing
- Eng IV: Great Books
- Eng IV: Journalism
- Eng IV: Literature to Film
- Eng IV: Playwriting
- Eng IV: Voices from the Margins
- English IV: Intensive Writing
Students in the third form acquire fundamental writing, close-reading, and oral skills in this yearlong course. The focus of written work this year is the development of exposition, observation, and description skills. Students discover and develop their respective voices through continuous narrative and expository writing assignments. Critical-reading skills are stressed daily. The concrete elements of writing, from word to phrase to clause to sentence to paragraph to completed work—whether taking the form of a three-part critical essay, a descriptive passage, an emulation, a journal entry, a story, or a poem—receive consistent attention. Grammar and vocabulary are also staples of the third-form curriculum. Students mainly read informational texts (nonfiction) in the major disciplines: English, History, and Science. They also read from novels, novellas, and plays as conducive and analyze visual texts as well. By the end of the year, students present present an informed oral presentation on the topic of their choice.
The fourth form year offers more of the foundation upon which Pomfret students build the reading, writing, and oral skills that will continue to carry them through their Pomfret academic experiences and beyond. The fall term focuses on expository writing, allowing students to enhance skills stressed the year before, while enabling those students who matriculate into Pomfret to be equally prepared for fifth- and sixth-form English curricula. The writing process, paying close attention to individual improvement and fluidity, are key components of the year; form and content are modeled via fictional and non-fictional texts. Class time is split between brief grammar lessons, crafted discussions via analysis of reading models, in-class writing assignments, and one-on-one student-teacher conferences, as students work toward their end-of-year portfolios. Assignments vary depending upon the instructor. During the winter and spring terms, the writing focus shifts to analysis and then persuasion. The entire year is a concentration on writing and oral practice and the study of the American experience. By the end of the spring term, students are to demonstrate the ability to select the format that best suits their rhetorical needs both for their final written and oral presentations.
Fifth-form writers build upon skills developed in the Writing Workshop and throughout the fourth-form year. Grammar, structure and exposition are reviewed, but the focus turns to the critical essay in this American literature survey. Students are required to write three revised essays each term and several timed in-class essays to help them prepare for standardized tests as well as fall and spring exams. Fifth formers are expected to be well versed in literary terminology and to use it when speaking and writing. Assignments may differ depending on the instructor but stress literary analysis, exposition, persuasion, and synthesis. Typically, the fall will be spent reading stories as students craft thesis-driven analytical essays. During the winter, students can expect to read novels and poetry, to write additional analytical essays, and to write several SAT-style persuasive essays. The spring will feature a non-fiction unit tied to a longer culminating personal essay. Each form has a fluid and dynamic list of titles (our “bucket list”) from which individual teachers select texts that best meet their instructional needs.
More demanding than English III, this course offers an intense study in literary analysis, exploring particular perspectives, such as psychological, historical, ecological, and environmental. This rigorous course is designed to meet the demands of the School’s literature, writing, and oral curricula. Through a variety of challenging texts and writing prompts, students study rhetoric and its uses and forms, from challenging American novels to TV commercials.
Selection is based on proven aptitude and effort, as determined by the English department.
The challenging curriculum in Advanced English IV is intended to simulate freshmen college English. As students encounter several literary texts, analytic emphasis is placed on perceiving how style reflects theme in the craft of several pieces of literature. Students also master the art of integrating multiple sources when they write and learn to speak with eloquence and knowledge when they present.
Advanced English III is not a required prerequisite.
OFFERED: spring term
This course focuses on the use of comedy in literature, beginning with the classical comedy of the Ancient Greeks and progressing to modern day satire in mass communications. Students are required to explore different forms of comedy as they exist in classical texts and identify how those forms are manifested in contemporary media. Along with regular written analyses of literary works, students may also have the opportunity to produce creative projects such as writing political satire, poems, written and produced films, and possibly, stand-up/performance pieces, all to be shared either with the class or with the school communit
OFFERED: winter term
This course will look at the points of intersection between contemporary literature and popular culture. While we will read the novels in order to understand how they function as distinguished literary works, we will spend an equal amount of time viewing how the works are constructed in the media. In order to get a good sense of that, we will look at resources from popular culture, such as podcasts, film, television, music, art, and periodicals that provide a context for understanding the works. Our first concern, as in any English course, is to engage with and respond to the texts. The engagement requires close, careful, annotated reading, focused discussion, and writing that will inspire thinking. Essays, in turn, will be both analytical—looking closely and thoughtfully at aspects of the stories, from style to narrative trajectory to key event to character—and personal—delving the depths of one’s own intellectual and emotional responses. The result will be a heightened awareness of the role of the individual in society, a greater awareness of particular moments in history and in other parts of the world, and a richer feeling for the possibilities of storytelling.
OFFERED: spring term
This Creative Writing course explores, with playful seriousness, various strategies for developing new, original works. Each student will read, respond to, and experiment with nonfiction, fiction, drama, and poetry. No prior experience is necessary. This course may count toward the fulfillment of either a student's English or fine art graduation requirement.
OFFERED: winter term
Have you ever wished you could choose what to read in an English class? When was the last time you read a book you chose on your own? Have you ever wished you had the time to go to the library, browse a little, pick something out, and read it simply to satisfy your curiosity? The time has come! This new elective course will offer you the chance to design your own curriculum and decipher which novel is important to read based on student-produced and teacher-guided criteria. Geared to the long-term goal of creating lifelong readers, rather than the acquisition of short-term knowledge, we will flip the classroom, reading in class by day and using online venues for discussion at night. Within a term, we will read plays, novels, poetry, magazine articles, short stories, and more. We will write each day, compile a theme-based portfolio that maps our own individual curiosities, compose creative and analytical essays, and present to the class on what we have discovered within the freedom of our own intellectual quests.
OFFERED: spring term
This Journalism course introduces students to the cultural importance of media and mass communication systems in America. Beginning with ethics in journalism, students will study the social role of the media through reading, writing, and classroom discussion. Articles by George Eliot, Frederick Douglass, John Steinbeck, and more, will introduce students to the long journalistic tradition of reportage. As a result, course topics may include: race, ethnicity, gender, and community, state, and worldwide affairs. Students will engage in a range of communication systems, such as the blog, the vlog, or the alternative weekly. Students will also be required to write their own blogs, editorials, features, lifestyle features, reviews, and more. At the term's end, each student will submit a portfolio of their written work, requiring them to apply the principles of ethics and editing studied throughout the term.
OFFERED: spring term
We generally think of books as texts, but postmodern critics convincingly make the argument that everything is a text. In this class, students will read novellas, short stories, and short non-fiction pieces and compare them to the films that are adapted from them. In addition to exploring the literary strategies the writers use in the novels, we will “read” the films through the lens of Aristotle’s rhetorical triangle. For example, students will determine for whom the films are made and what kinds of emotions the director is trying to evoke. Students will investigate why the director uses creative license in the film (Are parts of what we read omitted from the film? If so, why? Did the director embellish the story? etc.). They will learn important film techniques to help them to compare the two “texts.” Students will help to choose what they read and what they watch.
OFFERED: fall and spring terms
Playwriting is designed to identify and investigate the tools needed to specifically craft a stage worthy play. Through a series of reading and writing assignments based on Aristotle’s six elements of drama, each student will explore action, character, idea, language, music, and spectacle. Reading assignments will include plays from a variety of successful playwrights. Each student will be responsible for writing a one-act play by the end of the term. This course may count toward the fulfillment of either a student's English or fine art graduation requirement.
OFFERED: winter term
The study of world literature is not only fascinating, it has never been more important. To fully understand and embrace what it means to be human in the twenty-first century, one must understand other cultures and ways of life. In this course, we will investigate writers who have been marginalized due to their ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, physical limitations or socioeconomic status. Students will explore collectively voices that are generally silenced, unheard, or barely heard. They can choose voices that exist within the U.S. or in other places around the globe; there is no limit to their choices. Writing assignments will include prompts designed to challenge students to read closely, think critically, and discover their place in the world by contrasting their cultures with those they study. Students will write each day, compile a portfolio, compose creative and analytical essays, and present to the class their discoveries.
OFFERED: fall term
The sixth form year offers students a common fall-term experience. Assignments and model readings vary depending on the class, but one commonality remains: all students work on the process of writing to create informational, creative, and reflective texts.
The sixth form year offers students a wide range of dynamic courses to choose from in the winter and spring terms. The year as a whole presents exciting experiences in the English maturation of Pomfret students.