English Literature is a window into new ideas, cultures, and the experience of others, as well as an opportunity to see our own experiences reflected on the printed page. Students read literary works from an array of authors and genres, including nonfiction. We teach reading as an active process that includes annotations, written responses, and class discussions. Writing is employed as a thinking tool as well as a means of self-expression. Students continually revise their writing to improve their content, organization, word choice, sentence fluency, voice, and mechanics, with the support of one-on-one student-teacher writing conferences, written feedback from the teacher, and peer reaction. Outside of class, students participate in an independent reading program that includes visits to our Library Media Center, reading challenges, Literature Circles tailored to themes explored in class, the opportunity to read at school on a daily basis, and our annual book fair. Our visiting author program gives students the chance to meet and hear from authors whose works they have read.
Sixth-grade English begins with an in-depth study of writing mechanics, preparing students to write confidently and clearly throughout the year. We explore literature through diverse novels, poems, and short stories. Class texts include All the Broken Pieces by Ann E. Burg, Refugee by Alan Gratz, Almost American Girl by Robin Ha, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, The Giver by Lois Lowry, A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare, Other Words for Home—a novel written by our 2021 visiting author, Jasmine Warga—and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. Literature-based vocabulary units enhance reading comprehension and individual voice development in student work. Writing projects complement each text and expose students to various forms of writing: analytical, argumentative, editorial, expository, and poetry. Through regular Student Reading Challenges, students are encouraged to read books of their choice.
The theme of 7th-grade English is emerging adulthood. Students read, discuss, and write about a variety of texts that explore the formation of identity and agency in the transition from child to adult. Readings include Summerlost by Ally Condie, New Kid by Jerry Craft, Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes, Everything Sad is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri, Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead, The Length of a String 21 by Elissa Brent Weissman, along with additional essays, short stories, and poetry. This year, we are also reading High Five for Glenn Burke by Phil Bildner, our visiting author for the 2021–2022 school year. Through a combination of narrative and analytical writing, students explore the concept of individual voice, while also refining written and oral expression. They continue to develop vocabulary and grammar skills through regular mini-lessons and writing practice. Through the Independent Reading program, as well as Student Reading Challenges, students are encouraged to read books of their choice.
In 8th grade, students explore a timeless question: Are human beings fundamentally good or evil? Through a study of canonical and contemporary texts, students will consider how access to power influences human behavior, and how people respond in the face of unjust leadership and oppression. A common theme of revolution runs through all of the texts. Students will examine these patterns in history and in literature and contemplate their power to make change for a better world. English texts include: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Animal Farm by George Orwell, All American Boys by Jason Reynolds, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare, and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, among others. This year, we are also reading High Five for Glenn Burke by Phil Bildner and Internment by Samira Ahmed, since both writers will be our visiting authors during the 2021–2022 school year. English classes will be a mix of discussion and debates, group activities, writing activities, and mini-lessons. Writing assignments demand abstract thinking, inferential reasoning, and the incorporation of textual evidence. Vocabulary work derives from the study of Greek and Latin roots. They continue to hone grammar and punctuation skills through exercises and frequent writing activities.
Jamie earned his BA in English Literature from Washington University in St. Louis. Jamie comes to Trevor from Horace Mann School, where he was a Middle Division English Teacher and Advisor. He was also the Associate Director of Education at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey and at Trinity Repertory Company. Jamie likes how “compassion, collaboration, courage, and creativity” go hand-in-hand at Trevor for faculty and students alike.
Sarah earned her BA from Princeton University and her MFA from Harvard University. Previously, Sarah taught middle school drama at The Pingry School and worked as a tutor and mentor with Arete Educational Consulting. Sarah joined the Trevor team last April, just at the beginning of distance learning, as a maternity leave replacement in the performing arts department; she soon joined the English department as support for the 7th-grade English classes. Last spring, Sarah was impressed with the faculty’s dedication to Trevor’s students and families. She feels incredibly lucky to be in a school that prioritizes building strong connections between students and faculty. She is looking forward to meeting all of the 6th grade soon!
Anna holds a BA from Cornell University, an MS in Educational Policy from Columbia University, and an Ed.M. in Supervision and Leadership from Bank Street College of Education. Anna came to Trevor from the American School in Japan, where she taught 8th-grade humanities. She and her family just returned to New York after 14 years living and working in Paris, Zurich, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. This is Anna's 23rd year as an educator; she has taught all subjects and grades 3 through 12 in New York public and independent schools and in international schools. She has also worked as an educational consultant for PBS and WNET, and has written teaching guides for children’s books. She is currently an educational consultant through The Author Village, a collective of authors and educators. This will be Anna's second tenure at Trevor--this time her 11th grader will join us as a student. Prior to moving overseas, Anna taught Upper School English at Trevor for six years. "For me, coming back to New York and coming back to Trevor is like coming home."