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 research opportunities.
First Semester Topics and Texts:
Ancient History in Twenty Minutes: The Age of Mythology
September: Homer: Essay on Odysseus
October: The Greek Ideal Project
October: Roman World 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;
Midyear Exam (20% of Semester Grade)
Second Semester Topics and Texts:
The French Revolution
Romantic Poetry: Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge and Keats
The Industrial Revolution
Russian Short Stories
Josef Conrad, Heart of Darkness
Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis
World War One Poetry
Modernism: Art, Poetry and Music
The Origins of World War II
May: Lorca, La Casa de Bernarda Alba
Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz
Final Exam (20% of Semester Grade)
Goals for the First Semester
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
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.
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 notebook computer for each student!
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.
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 The
Tempest during a Shakespeare Festival in early December.
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.
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
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 polite!
Businesslike decorum is required in dress. Our classroom is a place of
business, not a social center. Appropriate dress reflects an
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.
office phone number is (410) 323-3800 ext 252. Students and parents can
also call me at home before 10:00 p.m. at (410) 828-5212.