English Department

The English department engages students in the work of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. It is important for all of our graduates to be well-versed in a variety of means of communication, to be critical consumers of information, and to be empathetic and thoughtful citizens. From fundamental studies of the mechanics of language to complex multimodal presentations, our recursive curriculum leads students to mastery of English language, appreciation for well-crafted literature, a propensity for thinking deeply and critically, a desire to engage empathetically and civilly with others, and the ability to communicate well-thought-out, evidence-based arguments. 

Transfer Goals; Students will:
  • Develop a mindset of inquiry and curiosity to become informed, empathetic citizens who are skilled in their field and advocate and take action on behalf of others.
  • Engage with text in a variety of forms, voices, and genres to understand others’ perspectives and effectively participate in informed civil discourse.
  • Gather and evaluate credible sources and apply critical thinking skills to effectively construct a clear and focused evidence-based argument.
  • Express ideas in a variety of forms that employ a logical, organized structure and aesthetic sensibility.
The Write House – Student-Led Upper School Writing Center
TMI Episcopal hosts a writing center that is staffed by juniors and seniors who are selected by their English teacher based upon their writing skill, their desire to help others, and their ability to mentor other students. The students are trained at the beginning of the school year and the writing center is open twice a week to assist upper school students with all aspects of their writing, in all courses.

Senior Chapel Talk
Every senior at TMI Episcopal delivers a 7-9 minute speech in chapel during the school year. This speech is written over the summer before the senior year and then revised during the first few weeks in the senior English class. The topics for these speeches range from anxiety to zip-lining–all focusing on aspects of student leadership with a message that is important to the student and relevant to the entire student body, faculty, and staff.

English

  • AP English Language and Composition

    This course is taken by juniors in lieu of English III. Aligned to an introductory college level rhetoric and writing curriculum, the AP Language and Composition course cultivates the reading and writing skills that students need for college success and intellectually responsible civic engagement. The course guides students in becoming curious, critical, and responsive readers of primarily non-fiction diverse texts, and becoming flexible, reflective writers of texts addressed to diverse audiences for diverse purposes.  The reading and writing students do in the course deepen and expand their understanding of how written language functions rhetorically.  The course culminates in the nationally administered AP Exam in May. Students who perform well on this exam may receive college credit and/or placement into advanced courses in college. Students in the AP section should be passionate readers and writers who have a strong foundational grammar and vocabulary base.  Placement is based on departmental approval.
  • AP English Literature and Composition

    Taken in lieu of English IV by seniors who have demonstrated the ability and commitment to study literature at the college level, the curriculum and standards of this course reflect recommendations of the College Board. The course focuses on deep analysis of select works of (mostly) British literature from the 16th to the 21st century. Along with the class work, students will each complete an independent project with a deep look at literature through a lens of the student’s choice. The course culminates in the nationally-administered AP Exam in May. Students who perform well on this exam may receive college credit and/or placement into advanced courses in college. Students in the AP section should be passionate readers and writers who have a strong foundational grammar and vocabulary base.  Placement is based on departmental approval.
  • Contemporary Fiction and Film

    (fall semester, spring semester, or full year course, English elective open to 11th and 12th graders)
    This is a reading and discussion intensive class. Students are expected to do quite a bit of outside reading and expected to participate robustly in classroom discussion. Grading will consist of three or four major essays per semester. Texts may include works by renowned contemporary writers such as Truman Capote, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Cormac McCarthy. Films are shown to augment the readings.
     
  • Creative Writing - Fall

    In this class students will examine and practice a variety of forms of creative writing, including but not limited to short fiction, drama (both playwriting and screenwriting), poetry, and creative nonfiction (memoir and essay). Using exemplary literary models, students will discuss
    elements including: characterization, point-of-view, plot, tone, narrative, dialogue, voice, setting, mood, figurative language, rhythm and theme. Students will exploit those literary models in the service of their own writing, engaging in all aspects of the writing process from brainstorming and composition to work-shopping and revision. Students will work to become better writers by working and reworking their own pieces, evaluating the writing of their peers, collaborating with classmates in co-authored pieces, and discussing the writing process and technique with visiting published authors. All students will maintain portfolios that should include drafts as well as finished pieces. Polished pieces of writing will be submitted to local and national writing contests, including TMI’s literary magazine, The Muse. This class is open to Upper School students in grades 10-12 and is a one semester class taught in the fall.
     
  • Creative Writing and Publishing-Spring

    In this class, students will participate in the production of the school’s literary magazine, The Muse. Students will learn how to be editors—how to solicit, select, and edit pieces for publication. They will learn how to use software such as InDesign and Photoshop to design print publications. They will also play a role in the printing, marketing, and distribution of the magazine, thereby participating in all stages of production. In the process of learning how to run a literary magazine, students will complete related projects to practice their editorial, creative writing, and graphic design skills. Students will also learn about literary magazines published at the professional level. This class is a one semester class taught in the spring. It is open to Upper School students (10-12) and may be repeated for credit.
     
  • English I

    This required ninth grade course focuses on a genre approach to literature in which students read and interpret literary forms through discussion and writing. Students learn and practice multi-paragraph essay writing techniques. Emphasis is placed on modes of discourse, research, documentation, correct use of oral and written language, the basics of literary analysis, and attention to substance, organization, and correctness in student writing.
  • English I Honors

    This required ninth grade course focuses on a genre approach to literature in which students read and interpret literary forms through discussion and writing. Students learn and practice multi-paragraph essay writing techniques. Emphasis is placed on modes of discourse, research, documentation, correct use of oral and written language, the basics of literary analysis, and attention to substance, organization, and correctness in student writing. Additionally, students in the Honors section should be passionate readers and writers who have a strong foundational grammar and vocabulary base. Placement is based on departmental approval.
  • English Mastery 1

    The required sixth grade English Mastery 1 course introduces students to the Reading and Writing Workshop model based on the Lucy Calkins Units of Study and includes units on personal narrative, nonfiction reading, research-based information writing, historical fiction, and the literary essay. Students learn and practice the stages of the writing process from generating ideas to revising. They learn grammar and conventions in the context of their writing work. Students read both shared and student-selected texts in a variety of genres.  Lessons, discussions, and collaborative activities help students develop their comprehension and analytical skills as readers and thinkers.
  • English Mastery 2

    The required seventh grade English Mastery 2 course continues the workshop model based on the Lucy Calkins Units of Study with students building on skills introduced in sixth grade through units on reading and writing realistic fiction, argument writing, the literary essay, the fantasy genre, and poetry. Students become adept at moving through the writing process from generating ideas to revising and expand their knowledge of grammar and conventions in the context of their writing work. They become more independent in their reading and analysis of literature through lessons, class discussions, and collaborative book club work.
  • English Mastery 3

    This course reinforces all Mastery Level 2 competencies by applying knowledge of sentence grammar and grammatical structures to a variety of writing tasks, including other modes of discourse (besides expository, descriptive, and persuasive). Mastery 3 discussions and assignments help students work to mastery with images, themes, structure, elements of plot, conflict, point of view, characterization, and style. Students use their reading skills to lead and participate in literary discussions facilitated by the teacher; these discussions help students uncover a deeper and more personal understanding of the texts. A Mastery 3 student reads with purpose, looking for various plot elements, characterization, and themes. Students respond in writing multiple times throughout the year, and assignments emphasize literary analysis with the use of quotations from the text, creativity, organization and support of ideas, clarity of style, use of accurate and appropriate vocabulary, and the importance of proofreading and editing.
  • English Mastery 3 Advanced

    This course covers much of the same content and competencies as Mastery Level 3. The difference between this course and Mastery 3 is pacing. While the curriculums are similar, Mastery 3 Advanced students will be challenged to read additional texts including outside reading books, to complete additional writing assignments, and to master advanced grammar concepts. Placement in Mastery 3 Advanced is based strictly upon teacher recommendation.
    English Mastery 2
    The required seventh-grade English Mastery 2 course continues the Writing Workshop model based on the Lucy Calkins Units of Study in Argument, Information and Narrative Writing with units on writing realistic fiction, writing about reading, and research-based essays. Students continue to practice the stages of the writing process, and they learn grammar and conventions in the context of their writing work.  In the literature portion of the course, students study the elements of fiction, poetry, and drama. Through shared class texts and independent reading, students consider questions such as, “What makes a compelling story?” and “How can literature make a difference in the world?”

Departments

Department Faculty

MISSION: TMI provides an exceptional education with values based on the teachings of Jesus Christ that challenge motivated students to develop their full potential in service and leadership.

NOTICE OF NONDISCRIMINATORY POLICY AS TO STUDENTS
Texas Military Institute (dba TMI Episcopal) admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.
TMI Episcopal
20955 W. Tejas Trail
San Antonio TX 78257
phone (210) 698-7171
fax (210) 698-0715