Classes 2016-2017

Interpreting Western Literature – Grades 8/9

In this year-long study devoted to literary analysis, we will spend six weeks each diving deeply into five literary classics, including one play. Students may choose to enroll in fall and/or spring semesters.

We will:

  • Read and discuss background on the author and novel, using instructor resources in conjunction with study guides from the Glencoe Literature Library.
  • Start and maintain a vocabulary glossary with new terms for each selection.
  • Engage in “active reading” — making notes and answering questions about characters and plot as we read.
  • Write at least two essays related to each reading assignment (prerequisite: Through the Lens of Literature or submitted essay sample). Essays typically have a requirement of 500 words or more.
  • “Recall/interpret and evaluate/connect” — write responses to short answer questions on the weekly reading. Answers will be discussed in class.
  • Creative writing opportunities will be available for some selections!
  • Analyze and discuss related readings, if they are assigned (includes poetry, short stories, speeches, etc.).

*Grade Interest Levels of each selection can be found on Scholastic, however, they range from grade 3 to grade 12! Some novels do have more mature themes; you know your children best, so plan accordingly. 

Fall 2016 (12 weeks with live meetings on Thursdays at 11 am ET, Sept. 15 – Dec. 8)
No class Thanksgiving, 11/24

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley + *related reading
(The 1818 edition is often preferred in academia, however, we’ll be using the revised 1831 edition for purposes of this class.)
*Related reading for this novel will be poems by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Percy Shelley, and Edgar Allan Poe. Bonus for Mosaic students: a possible Halloween-time field trip to enjoy Poe’s work at Poe Evermore!

Animal Farm by George Orwell + related reading (poetry by Matthew Arnold and selected fables from Aesop)

Spring 2017 (18 weeks with live meetings on Thursdays at 11 am ET, Jan. 5 – May 18)
No class Winter Break, 2/16; Spring Break, 4/6

The Call of the Wild by Jack London + related reading

Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand, translated by Anthony Burgess + related reading

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

*Selections represent a carefully selected, eclectic sampling of classic Western literature. Expected Weekly Homework/Technology Requirements:
Students should have a good internet connection and a headset with mic. A web camera for this class is optional for the student. It will not be necessary to download any software, however, you will need to establish a free account with the online classroom provider. Classes will be recorded if students miss a session. Students are required to submit their writing via Google Docs. Thorough commentary will be provided with the goal of making measurable progress. Evaluation/Grades will not be issued unless requested. The weekly reading plus writing should take between three-four hours, depending on novel/play length. Because of the focus on writing in this class, all selections are roughly 300 pages or significantly less. The core reading selection will take four-five weeks, leaving us with additional time for any related reading and to submit essays with revisions. This is a writing class with literature as the catalyst.

Instructor Feedback:
All student writing is guided by an experienced and formally trained writing instructor. Instructor provides private tutoring throughout the week for all students.

A Note About Grammar: While instructor will address any glaring grammar issues, this is not a grammar class. To understand how we approach grammar, please read this blog post. Instructor aligns with this approach without exception. Junior high students that need additional help with grammar can consider one of the grammar programs listed in the blog post (scroll down to “Grammar programs”).

Students are responsible for securing each novel and any related reading material. The instructor will provide links to the related reading, if available. It is recommended that students have a dedicated binder for this class and a composition notebook.


Weekly One Hour Live Meetings (includes one-on-one instructor feedback throughout the week and access to recorded sessions)

Fall 2016: $190 (payable in two payments spaced 60 days apart)

Spring 2017: $285 (payable in two payments spaced 60 days apart)

*Grading and Evaluation Option: Add $50 per semester
Billed at the end of each semester

*Grade is based on class participation (15%), Periodic Quizzes (25%) and Writing (60%) Grading scale will be indicated when you sign up for this option.