• Core English


    English 1-2 is a foundational course in the study of English Language and Literature that is required for graduation from Tamalpais High.  This course is part of a freshman-sophomore “CORE" program, a cross-disciplinary "small learning community" taught in conjunction with Social Studies.  This year I am happy to welcome to Tam High Jeff Snow, who will be teaching in our CORE.  The freshman focal issue is:  the development of character and identity in life and literature.


    K-D’s Philosophy of Teaching: In English 1-2 you will focus on developing your skills in reading, writing and speaking so that you will have a resource of language tools to articulate yourself fully in our complex, multi-cultural, technologically savvy society.  I believe that for each of us, in order to achieve our full potentials—to fully articulate and delineate who we are as persons--we must express ourselves through a complex combination of language (verbal communication) and action (non-verbal communication). 

    As an English teacher this means I’m committed to making my classroom a place where you are encouraged to explore and express your unique personalities while learning to communicate in ways that are appropriate to different kinds of social situations and academic purposes. I would like for you to be able to move freely from the slang, “street talk” and informal language that most of us are comfortable with, through the use of the “Standard English” that is expected of us in order to be successful in high school academics and the adult world, and further, to begin to become more comfortable with the sometimes awkward and uptight-sounding “formal English" of higher-education  and the professional world.  In the end, I hope my students will have a more full and flexible range of commnication tools available as a resource in your quest to build "character" and personal "identity".


    Literacy Across the Curriculum:  Because we share common students CORE, Mr. Snow and I will work with you to develop your skills in reading, writing and speaking. You will be expected to apply the reading techniques and note taking skills as well as language and writing skills that you learn in English class to the good work you do in your Social Studies classes and vice versa.  The group dynamics skills that you learn and practice in social studies you will apply to our small group work and whole class discussions in English.  And of course, you will work together in small groups on interdisciplinary projects in which you will apply the best of your skills for grades in both classes. In addition you will learn to develop good academic habits, such as using the revision, editing, and full draft process for all your written work, no matter what course the paper is for. The year will culminate in the creation of a “Freshman Preliminary Portfolio”, a collection of your best work in reading writing and speaking from all of your classes at Drake.


    English 1 / Fall Semester:

    1.      Who am I?: Course Orientation, Interviews, and Personal Introductions

    2.      Sharing Short Stories: Narrative Structures and Strategies (various short stories)

    3.      Memory and Musing: First Person Narration (Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night)

    4.      Myth-making: "His-story" of the Hero (The Alchemist and mythology research)