English Department


The English Department is the hub of critical thinking, cultural conversations, and creative writing at Cheshire Academy. From poetry to prose, from timeless classics to contemporary works, our students find meaning and create connections through the power of ideas and words. Challenging all assumptions, norms and biases, we read diversely, converse deeply, and write passionately.

Engaging students is about creating a classroom environment in which they speak more words than I do; I know students are “getting it” when they tell me something I haven’t thought of before—That’s a lot of fun! Marc Aronson

English Department Chair

Course Offerings
AMERICAN LITERATURE
The American Literature course focuses on the fundamentals of literature—reading closely and actively, writing analytically, thinking deeply beyond the simple or obvious, and discussing the texts of study in class conversations. The course curriculum takes the major texts of American Literature to practice these skills, reading novels, short fiction, poetry, drama, and non-fiction from America’s literary history. Assessments in the American Literature course will focus on the traditional writing of literary analysis. Students will have the opportunity to master the basics of strong analytical writing, from crafting and defending a strong central claim in writing to the basic mechanics of grammar. All of these tools will be mastered with an eye toward more effective and efficient written communication. Students will also practice more creative writing assignments as well as oral presentations in response to the literary works they study. Overlapping the reading and writing skills are the essential questions defining American Literature: What makes a literary voice uniquely American? How have generations of American writers influenced each other? How does American literature reflect American culture? How is the American dream reflected in American literature? Freshman course
AMERICAN LITERATURE (HONORS)
World Literature introduces sophomores to a range of literary genres from various time periods and regions of the world. Students explore the universality of themes such as war, national identity, and coming-of-age journeys that have fascinated writers of poetry, novels, short fiction, and drama for centuries. While giving time and attention to many classic writers from Shakespeare to Sartre, students in World Literature will recognize the value of more contemporary writers and texts as well. Students will use these texts as vehicles for the important work of close readings, identifying and understanding literary devices and their effect on a written work. Students will develop their skills for analytical reading and writing, always searching for and creating deeper symbolic meaning and contextualizing that meaning within their own worlds. In concert with their active reading skills, students will work toward clear and e effective communication of their ideas —including those of their literary analyses —in their own writing, preparing them for their futures as upperclassmen at Cheshire Academy and beyond. Sophomore course
World Literature
World Literature introduces sophomores to a range of literary genres from various time periods and regions of the world. Students explore the universality of themes such as war, national identity, and coming-of-age journeys that have fascinated writers of poetry, novels, short fiction, and drama for centuries. While giving time and attention to many classic writers from Shakespeare to Sartre, students in World Literature will recognize the value of more contemporary writers and texts as well. Students will use these texts as vehicles for the important work of close readings, identifying and understanding literary devices and their effect on a written work. Students will develop their skills for analytical reading and writing, always searching for and creating deeper symbolic meaning and contextualizing that meaning within their own worlds. In concert with their active reading skills, students will work toward clear and e effective communication of their ideas —including those of their literary analyses —in their own writing, preparing them for their futures as upperclassmen at Cheshire Academy and beyond. Sophomore course
World Literature (Honors)
Honors World Literature is a challenging course for the motivated student of literature. is course focuses on texts written by international authors on subjects of international significance. Students learn about writing and the world around them by examining the texts read for their mechanics of storytelling as well as for their cultural-historical contexts. Active discussion leadership is required of students in this class. Students complete critical expository essays and creative narratives, both fiction and non- fiction, including their own historical- fiction narrative based on independent research completed at Yale University. Sophomore course
English i (IS)
English I for International Students is designed to bridge the gap between a student who has studied the English language and literature to a student who uses English fluently in the process of critically examining literature at the ninth grade level. Students acquire new vocabulary, discuss key points of literature in class, write essays and creative pieces, and create interactive projects to promote a deeper understanding of the subject matter. Students examine the theme of “survival” throughout the year. They begin with selected short stories, move on to a short novel, explore poetry forms in a novel format, and finish the year with two more novels. The genre varies from non-fiction to sci-fi/fantasy, but ‘survival’ features prominently in all of the works. Students take weekly quizzes on vocabulary and the text, and students perform on tests associated with each unit. Students create and perform their own poetry, and they learn the basic format of the essay. After students finish the short stories, they write one of their own. As students read “My Side of the Mountain,” they choose a skill which they will study, research, perform, and report. Freshman course
English II (Is)
English II for International Students is designed to bridge the gap between a student who has studied the English language and literature, to a student who uses English fluently in the process of critically examining literature at the tenth grade level. Students acquire new vocabulary, discuss key points of literature in class, write essays and creative pieces, and create interactive projects to promote a deeper understanding of the subject matter. Students examine the theme of “belonging” throughout the year. They begin with selected short stories, move on to a short novel, explore poetry forms in “Poetry 180,” and finish the year with two more novels. The genre varies from non-fiction to fantasy, but ‘belonging’ features prominently in all of the works. Students take weekly quizzes on vocabulary and the text, and students perform on tests associated with each unit. Students create and perform their own poetry, and they learn the basic format of the essay. After students finish the short stories, they 8 write one of their own. As students read, “The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-Time,” they formulate their own mysteries and tempt others to solve them. Sophomore course
IB Lit & Performance SL1/SL2
This course is a two-year interdisciplinary course that incorporates essential elements of literature and performance and aims to explore the relationship between the two. Students approach literary and dramatic texts as reader, actors, and directors in order to develop their intellect, imagination, and creativity. At the heart of the course is this interaction between (i) a conventional literary emphasis on close reading, critical writing and discussion, and (ii) the practical theatrical elements of performance. In this dynamic process, literary texts are viewed from different angles in a way that goes beyond what is characteristic of either literary or theater studies as single disciplines. Students complete four assessments over the span of two years: 1 a performance of a portion of a play accompanied by a written analysis and reflection of a transformation of literary work, ii) an original performance iii) a written examination of poetry, and iv) a written explanation exploring a literary work and its potential for adaptation into a theatrical performance. Junior/Senior course
IB English Language & Literature HL1/2 & SL1/2
The IB English Language and Literature course aims to draw students’ focus to a critical study of language in all of its many forms and the cultural contexts that produce and consume it. In the first year of the two-year course, students study non- fiction texts—including essays, speeches, journalism, and advertising—and examine the impact that evolving cultures have on the uses of language as a means of communication within and among those cultures. In their senior year, students incorporate fiction literary works into their curriculum, studying novels, short stories, poetry, and drama from a wide array of regions and time periods, allowing them to closely examine the relationship between a literary text and its cultural context. Students complete assessments required by the IB programme, including written tasks, oral presentations, and two course-culminating exams; the preparation for these assessments begins in the fall of their junior year and continues throughout the rest of the course, in the practice of close reading analyses, reading responses, formal literary criticism, oral presentations, and other creative projects. The rigor and discipline of the IB English  course challenges and serves the students who take it, preparing them with the content and the skills they will need and use in the future. Junior/Senior course
IB English Literature HL1/2 & SL1/2
The IB English Literature course encourages students to appreciate the artistry of literature and develop an ability to reflect critically on their reading. Works are studied in their literary and cultural contexts, through close study of individual texts and passages, and by considering a range of critical approaches. In consideration of IB’s international focus and its commitment to intercultural understanding, this course does not limit the study of works to the products of one culture or cultures covered by any one language; studying works in translation introduces students to varied cultural perspectives. IB English Literature SL/HL is built on the assumption that literature is concerned with our perceptions, interpretations, and experiences. The study of literature enables an exploration of one of the more enduring fields of human creativity, and provides opportunities for encouraging independent, original, critical and clear thinking. It also promotes respect for the imagination and a perceptive approach to the understanding and interpretation of literary works. Junior/Senior course
AP Literature & Composition
AP Literature and Composition is a reading and writing intensive course for seniors with the expectation that enrolled students will take the AP Literature and Composition exam in May. The course focuses on reading deeply and broadly, ensuring that all students have a wide exposure to literature from the 16th-21st centuries. The readings cover multiple genres, from poetry to short stories, novels to nonfiction. In addition to this intense reading program, AP Literature and Composition requires writing in multiple modes. Students will write reflections, analytic essays, as well as substantive evaluations. In addition, students compose their own poetry and short fiction, as well as their own nonfiction essay and journalistic pieces. Senior course
College English
College English is designed for postgraduate students who seek to increase and refine their communication skills. Over the course of the term, students will plan, draft, and complete written compositions in response to readings and oral discourse. They will edit their papers for clarity, engaging language, and the correct use of the conventions and the mechanics of written English, with the goal of producing engaging, error-free final drafts. The students are expected to read critically, think analytically, and communicate clearly in both writing and speech. They will respond to the readings with the appropriate lexicon as they interpret the possible influences of historical and social context on literary works. PG course
Language & Literature A & B
The Language & Literature A & B course sequence aims to draw students’ focus to a critical study of language and literature in each of their many forms, and the cultural contexts that produce and consume them. Students study non- fiction texts—including essays, speeches, journalism, and advertising—and examine the impact evolving cultures have on language as a means of communication within and among those cultures. Students also incorporate fictional literary works into their curriculum, studying novels, short stories, poetry, and drama from a wide array of regions and time periods, allowing them to closely examine the relationship between a literary text and its cultural context. Junior/Senior course
Creative Writing I & II

The students who undertake this Creative Writing elective prepare to immerse themselves in the written and spoken word, to develop their skills as writers, and produce a cohesive body of written work. The stories that students produce are highly original—they are grounded in imagination or based upon personal experience. Self-examination, reflection and observation are essential to the craft of writing. Through journaling (even seemingly mundane events) students will remain in touch with their own thoughts and feelings. While the self is essential for writing, it is the sharing of the self that allows stories to impact others. Workshopping stories facilitate feedback on work as students improve and enjoy the words of others. Finally, we seek to move beyond ourselves, our workshop—even our classroom—and engage with the community. We hold open readings and open classes, visit coffee shops, and enjoy working in public spaces that are rich with observable interactions. Creative Writing students publish 9 a literary magazine and invite members of the community to contribute. They travel to hear authors read their work, hear publishers speak about their trade, and engage in a constant flow of listening and sharing. Junior/Senior elective

ELL: Writing, Composition & Expression
Cheshire Academy’s Writing, Composition and Expression courses over an intensive, context-based, genre-focused sequence of study in writing for academic purposes. The courses are for international students whose primary language is not English.

Intermediate Level: Students will enhance grammatical, mechanical and lexical control. Topics include articles, passive voice, modals, sentence variety, gerunds and infinitives, participial form, clauses, passive voice, and conditionals. Further, students will explore how academic writing presents problems, poses questions, gives feedback, and supports discussion in all disciplines. Rhetorical modes include analysis, description, chronology, process, argument, cause and effect, classification, comparison and contrast, and opinion.

Proficient Level: Students will focus upon models of academic genres in all disciplines and develop an understanding of the purpose of each genre, how each genre is organized, argumentative patterns, and specific language features of each genre. They will develop tools to critique academic texts, understand conventions, link audience and purpose, and revise papers with structural accuracy, lexical and syntactic mastery, clarity and coherence. Freshman-Senior course

English Department Faculty

Marc Aronson

Marc Aronson

English Department Chair; Head Coach, Golf

Allison Bass-Riccio

Allison Bass-Riccio

English Teacher

Nicole Beaudwin

Nicole Beaudwin

English Teacher

Jennifer Guarino

Jennifer Guarino

Director of the Theater Program; English Teacher; Fine & Performing Arts Teacher

Jaclyn Lionetti

Jaclyn Lionetti

English Teacher

Jaimeson Lynch

Jaimeson Lynch

English Teacher and IB Coordinator

Wesley Simon

Wesley Simon

English Teacher and Lower Class Dean

Wendy Swift

Wendy Swift

English Teacher and Director, Center for Writing

Theresa West

Theresa West

English Teacher

Owen Winslow

Owen Winslow

English Teacher

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