- Explores the relevance of ancient texts and cultures of the Mediterranean, India, and China to emphasize connections to today’s world;
- Allows students to apply the Humanities lens to the contemporary world through a student-centered, inquiry-driven format.
- Connect the essential questions of Humanities 9 to Cleveland
- Focuses on the development of essential reading, writing, presentation, collaboration, critical thinking, and research skills
Sample 9th grade Humanities Intensives:
Many Stories - Race, Gender, and Class in America
Sports and Culture
We, The People (Immigration)
Sample 10th grade humanities intensives:
Haunted Cleveland: Living with Ghosts
Young Rebels: Youth Identity through Storytelling and Performance
Latino Immigration: Cleveland and Beyond
Encountering “The Other”: Understanding Cultural Difference in the Modern World
Money Makes the World Go Round: How the Economy Shapes the Modern World
English Course offerings for Grades 11 & 12
English Honors 11
Offers a rigorous course of study in American literature, from early American to twenty-first century authors, with a particular emphasis on the twentieth century
Delves deeply into literary texts of all genres (including novels, short fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and drama) and thinking about a text in its historical, social, and/or structural contexts
Requires a love of reading literature due to the high level and fast pace of the course
AP English Literature & Composition
Examines literature from the 16th century to the present at the college level
Develops and hones skills in close reading, critical thinking and analytical writing
Emphasizes the careful explication and close analysis of short fiction, the novel, poetry, drama and nonfiction from a variety of time periods written by authors from a diversity of backgrounds
Studies the application of rhetorical and literary devices of the English language includingbut not limited to diction, figurative language, tone, mood, syntax, structure and allusion.
AP English Language & Composition
Focuses on the critical reading of fiction and nonfiction, and the writing of substantial analytical essays in response to these texts
Studies a wide range of expository patterns including description, narration, argumentation, and persuasion in texts from many different time periods and cultures
Hones students' skills as writers through the careful study of rhetorical devices and strategies
Explore the expressive potential of the English language while studying such components as diction, syntax, tone, structure, and meaning
Develops extended writing projects that meet a 30-page requirement
Involves weekly small group and individual progress meetings along with frequent workshops while project is in process
Includes a defense of that project to a reading panel and public presentation to the school
A Century of Film
Establishes a critical vocabulary and apparatus to watch and evaluate films and to examine and reflect on some of the richest films of the last hundred years
Represents the most of the important movements, countries, and artists
Addresses the conventions and techniques unique to film as a narrative form: editing, camera angles and movement, transitions, length of takes and framing
Requires students to write critical interpretations of films as well as script, film and edit three short films
Introduces the genre of creative non-fiction, familiarizing students with “literary” essays, memoir and journalism, both classic and contemporary
Focuses on writers whose work argues that art need not imitate life nor vice versa; they can be one and the same
Explores how writers use their experiences and observations to make artful commentary on the world
Provides, through written assignments, an experiential basis for that same exploration
Requires considerable effort with regard to weekly writing assignments, workshops, and the creation of a creative nonfiction project
Finding Oneself in Ohio: Literature of the Buckeye State
Future Now: Technology, Utopia, Dystopia
Examines the dynamic historical moment of the day, where intersections of exponentially changing technology have the potential to radically alter our lives in powerful, positive and terrible ways.
Explores competing visions of the way technology can change society for better or worse by examining non-fiction and speculative fiction
Involves researching current developments in AI, genetic editing, fission, biofuel, and the erasure of the man/machine barrierin order to understand the future we find ourselves in, and how best to prepare ourselves.
Jewish-American Literature and Culture
Grapples with questions including: How does America provide a unique experience of living in the Jewish Diaspora? What benefits and obstacles do American Jews face? How does American Jewry balance the American pressure to assimilate with the Jewish pressure to be different? What, precisely, is the Jewish-American experience?
Examine cornerstones of the Jewish-American experience from 1880 to present; examples of areas of focus include the Holocaust in American memory and Jewish humor and pop culture
Immerses students in Jewish-American culture from food to film
Introduces philosophers who have pondered questions like: How do I make sense of a world that seems uncertain? Is there more to life than meets the eye? What should I do with my life?
Encourages students to emulate these philosophers to become “lovers of wisdom”
Teaches students not only to evaluate a philosopher’s views, but also to examine their own through application of philosophical views, interpretation of historical texts, and personal engagement with the big questions
Examines works of contemporary fiction through the lens of postmodern literary theory.
Explores such postmodern themes/concepts as the fallibility of language (words themselves are merely symbols), metafiction (writing about writing), and the complexities of “truth” vs. “fiction” (can fiction tell the truth and are multiple truths possible?)
Focuses on the ways in which postmodernism (and/or poststructuralism) pushes and challenges the boundaries of traditional literary structure and why
Considers what it really means to "make America great again"
Explores the origins, significance and evolution of America, the idea, so that we can be literate in America’s greatness, its failings, and its possibilities
Develops, through exposure to and discussion of American Literature, each student's sense of America - its triumphs and failings - as well as a personal vision for how we might, in the words of our Constitution, “form a more perfect union”
Examines, through reading Russian poetry, themes from short stories, novels, and plays,
Explores, by understanding their historical context, how writers have both defined and wrestled with their Russian culture
Vision and Revision
Exposes students to pairs of texts – a canonical or established/classic text paired with its 20th or 21st century re-envisioning of that text
Examinea how one author creates and represents society in literature and how another author, decades later, recreates that society or its concerns from a contemporary perspective
Challenges students to understand how the multiple interpretations of literary texts are possible and how differing interpretations reflect particular cultural and historical conditions that change over time
Voices from the Fringe
Examines, through novels, poems, and short stories, our society and our own places within it, considering questions like:What does it mean to be simultaneously “within” and “without”? How does it feel to be on the outside looking in? How do those on the margins, those outside of the power dynamic, see the world?
Addresses those outside of power while also examining our tendencies to exclude, considering questions like: Whom do we exclude? Whom do we never speak of and why? What is it that makes us so afraid?
Conformity and the Art of Rebellion
Explores questions including: When faced with moments that make us angry or uncomfortable, why do we sometimes conform and at other times rebel? And when we do rebel, what is the difference between a protester and a rioter, a freedom fighter or a terrorist? Can art effect true and lasting change in the world?
Investigates - using philosophy, religion, psychology, history, literature, and theatre - the visual arts and music as possible grounds for inquiry
Explores how we use the arts to rebel and how we devise the most effective ways of doing so
Considers the disciplines that traditional education has nearly drawn for us and how the world conforms, configures, and sometimes reconfigures itself when the old ways and the old rules simply won’t get it done
The Civil War’s Legacy of Race: Skin Color as America’s Mania
Explores, by reading authors of various racial backgrounds, genders, and centuries, questions including: Why is race still such a divisive issue, 150 years AFTER the Civil War? Why does skin color matter?
Includes an independent project that asks students to investigate a topic that perplexes them and that will inspire class conversations that incorporate literature, film, scholarship, and media
Do You Feel at Home?
Explores questions including: What constitutes a home? Is home a place you want to be or to escape from? Is a home a tangible thing like a building or a geographic locale? Is home a state of mind? A feeling? A memory? An attitude? Is home individual or communal? How does our experience of “home” shape who we are – particularly in the mobile 21st Century?
Expands our thinking about the word “home,” and all that it connotes, through our reading and analysis of both fiction and non-fiction
Examines the concept of home as something that may be both internal and external to us as human beings
Introduction to Poetry and Poetry Writing
Explores the process of reading and writing poetry
Studies craft elements and the choices that poets make, the importance of imagery, word choice, sound, and structure
Examines various poetry movements, styles, and forms (including pantoums, sestinas, and prose poems), learning from the greats and the controversial, old and new
Includes poetry writing exercises as we craft and work-shop our own pieces
Requires analytical writing about poets and poems and a final project about a particular poet/collection
Introduction to Screenwriting
Provides a foundation in the principles and techniques of writing for film and television
Focuses on story structure, character development, tone, genre, and attention to audience
Considers both the technical and creative aspects of the medium
Requires students to develop and produce finished works at a level that is both effective and reflective of individual voice
Matriarchs: The Stories of Powerful Women
Examines what it means to be a matriarch through reading novels, poems, short stories, and fairytales
Addresses what it means to be a woman, a mother, and the head of a family as well asbhow power is gained and at what cost
Studies powerful women in these works who have struggled and sacrificed for their family or their community
Asks students to reflect on the stories were told as children about what it means to be a woman how that identity intersects with race, religion, class, and sexuality
Encourages students tol write their own stories about power and privilege and marginalization
Unpacks, through critical thinking skills, the implicit messages about consumerism, gender, race and activism conveyed through television, movies, music, social media, and other pop culture
Studies scholarship, documentaries, blogs and more
Includes analysis as well as media creation
Provides students a chance to apply their creativity, self-expression, and activism to deepen their understanding of their media-saturated world.
Philosophy and Justice: Evaluating the Criminal Justice System
When can the government tell me not to do something? Who should be in jail and for how long? Does philosophy have anything to do with the real world?
Opens with an in-depth study of a Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure in order to dramatize some of the issues and challenges of the law
Studies Mills’ On Liberty and other texts to understand the philosophical foundations of classical liberalism
Examines theories of punishment
Includes a visit the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas to sit in on real legal cases and discuss justice with a sitting judge
In teams, students examine a problem or controversy of their choosing in our criminal justice system and propose a solution or resolution to that problem.
Story: The Art of Fiction
Explores the craft of writing fiction through both reading and writing short stories
Exposes students to a wide range of 20th century authors as well as several single author collections, including Jerry Gabriel, ZZ Packer, Dan Chaon, and Flannery O’Connor
Requires students, over the course of the semester, to complete several short stories
Features a weekly student workshop that provides peer review for developing students work
Requires an independent research project that asks students to dive deep into the work of a single contemporary author and a class reading project that will ask students to present their best story to a wider audience
From Wonderland to Hogwarts to Hawken: An Exploration of Children’s Literature and Experiential Learning
Considers questions including: What makes the experience of returning to Wonderland, Hogwarts and so many other literary wonderlands so special? Why does Children’s Literature endure and continue to captivate young and old readers alike?
Explore's Lewis Carroll’s seminal 1865 novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and J.K. Rowling’s spellbinding 1997 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s
Addresses and puta to use John Dewey’s and, by extension, James Hawken’s ideas about experiential education to uncover the unique educational opportunities afforded by children’s literature
Enables students to recreate the magical worlds of our protagonists and learn, just like our protagonists, by doing
Includes analytical writing and group presentations
Requires students to assume the role of teachers in partnering with elementary school children in the Cleveland area
Explores homelessness—the condition itself, its causes and complications, noteworthy individual and community responses—with a focus on Cleveland
Includes problem-based learning, research, service learning, reading, creative nonfiction writing, discussion and presentation
Requires students to work on-site in teams at a service agency (in or near downtown Cleveland) each afternoon throughout the three week period
Addresses a brief history of American journalism
Explores the foundational principles of the field, expose students to several important exemplars of journalism including Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood
Guides students to create their own pieces of incisive journalism
Requires students to compose stories as well as make documentaries and podcasts as well as write thesis-based essays that focus on their readings and the journalistic concepts that we explore
Dogs: (Hu)man’s Best Friend
Explores questions like: How do dogs make life better? How can dogs be viewed as role models? How do dogs help the world work? Why have (hu)man(s) and dogs always been connected? What can we learn from (hu)man’s best friend and our relationships with them?
Covers everything from the domestication of dogs, to the psychology of dogs, to dogs performing service in the world to breeding issues, to kennel adoption statistics, to some elements of veterinary science
Involves partnership with various local organizations
Discusses excerpts from books such as How Dogs Love Us, A Dog's Purpose, The Art of Racing in the Rain, Dog Songs (poems by Mary Oliver), and Inside a Dog, as well as other literary texts
Touches upon the presence of dogs in literature, going all the way back to The Odyssey and Greek mythology - as well as significant dogs in history such as Balto and Pavlov's dog
In the Footsteps of Seneca Falls: Political Rights and Artistic Voices
Considers questions like: What happened in the past two centuries to produce one of the most revolutionary changes in human history? How did women gain political power and their artistic voice in the United States? What insights and expressions have women brought to literature? What is their legacy today? Is the job finished or is there still work to be done?
Explores woman’s lives in the hundred years between the First Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848 and the Ratification of the 19th Amendment (granting woman the right to vote) in 1920
Focuses on the lives of four women: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Harriet Tubman for their political activities and Emily Dickinson and Edith Wharton for their literary works
Includes visits to the former homes of these women, now dedicated as museums, in upstate New York and western Massachusetts during the first week of the course
Examines theses women's writings and lives to gain insight into their ideas, their ideals and goals, their strategies and their compromises
Brings together literature of the wilderness, leadership training, personal reflection, backcountry experience and significant non-fiction writing
Includes readings from a wide selection of authors who have wrestled with mankind’s relationship to the natural world, documenting students' journeys in the Allegheny National Forest and down the Allegheny River, and pursuing a nationally certified Wilderness First Responder training curriculum.
Provides students with the skills and training to safely explore some truly wild spaces, literary models for making meaning of that exploration, experiences of primitive camping in a challenging environment, and guidance to write about those experiences effectively
Includes Hard skills training including shelter and fire building, basics of climbing safety, orienteering, and Wilderness First Responder Certification through an 80 hour course taught by SOLO instructor
Demands significant afternoon and evening time during WFR certification and full-time investment during the trip component
Requires students to pass a series of skills tests on campus, the WFR written exam, the WFR practical exam, and a two-day solo experience
Advocacy: GOA Learning Studio (Global Online Academy)
Explores the creativity, effort, and diversity of techniques required to change people’s minds and motivate them to act
Culminates in a multimedia presentation delivered and recorded before a live audience