Course Offerings for Grades 9-12
The Freshman English course builds upon the writing process with a continuation of study in various essay formats within both personal and academic styles. Students assess their work throughout the year by building and maintaining a writing portfolio that encourages them to reflect on and refine their work. Elements of grammar and new vocabulary words are introduced through daily lessons and writing projects. This course is a one hour course that complements the one hour literature course.
Literature I explores the role of literature in expressing and reflecting multiple aspects of the human experience. Along with various short stories, essays, and poems from the textbook, students read several novels, with emphasis placed on word building, context clues, inferences, identification of central ideas, and improving comprehension skills through critical analysis. Each unit of study is designed to prepare students for upper level high school courses and the SAT and ACT exams.
The English II curriculum is designed to prepare students for the types of analytical writing they will complete in upper level high school courses. Students compose essays that expand and polish their ability to express a unique inner voice through lessons in grammar, vocabulary, diction, structure, and style. They also complete comprehensive research papers, developing the research skills necessary for writing papers in formal academic settings. This course is a one hour course that complements the one hour literature course.
Literature II – World Literature
Literature II devotes study to the exploration, interpretation, and response to literary works from around the world, identifying universal themes prevalent in the literature of different cultures. By means of developing greater multicultural awareness through reading and reflecting, students gain further understanding of themselves and the world around them. Emphasis is placed on reading comprehension skills, along with recognizing and understanding the techniques of characterization, tone, mood, point of view, and imagery in multiple genres.
Honors English/Literature I-II
The Honors English/literature class is a combined class of freshmen and sophomores with a rotating reading schedule to accommodate incoming students each year. Reading assignments include an assortment of genres from different cultures and periods in history, encouraging reflection on relevant social issues and literature’s impact on society. Students apply their knowledge of literary concepts and connect the texts studied through class discussion, writing portfolios, and creative projects.
English III/American Literature
This is a combined, one hour course that progresses in a chronological sequence, focusing on important historical figures and events that molded the literature of America. Readings address American culture in the 16th-18th Centuries, the American Renaissance, American Romanticism, the Civil War/Post War Era, and the Modern and Contemporary Periods. Students complete both analytical and creative responses to the literature, examining and practicing the various writing techniques required after high school. Additionally, juniors complete grammar assignments, weekly vocabulary units, and a comprehensive research paper.
English IV – British Literature
This one hour course focuses on British literature, starting in the Anglo-Saxon Era and moving through the Medieval Period, the Renaissance and Shakespeare Era, the Restoration, the Romantic Period, the Victorian Period, and the 20th and 21st Centuries. In studying the history of each period, students learn to recognize the relationship between writing and the development of political, socio-economic, gender, religious, and historic ideologies. In addition to the literature, students expand their writing skills, deepening their analyses and improving their form through both academic and creative pieces designed to prepare them for college level writing.
Honors English/Literature III-IV
Honors English/literature at the junior and senior levels focuses heavily on independent reading, discourse, and the styles of writing that will prepare students for college level work. Each unit follows a thematic structure, connecting readings, discussions, and writing assignments that generate higher critical analysis skills. In addition to comprehension quizzes, several analytical essays, and a great deal of reading, lessons require students to write a personal response journal for each week’s assignments and participate in Socratic discussions with their peers.
The speech curriculum emphasizes the correct diction and use of gesture in expressive speech. Students practice different styles of speech delivery, such as informative, persuasive, and impromptu, and they present their work on a weekly basis. Additional study focuses on famous speeches from recorded history and the Right of Free Speech as presented in the US Constitution, while memorization of the Gettysburg Address aides as a tool to perfect diction and projection. This is a one-semester course.
Spanish I introduces students to the sound system and fundamental grammatical structure of the Spanish language. Students develop skills in the areas of comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing while building a strong vocabulary base. By the end of the course, students will have a basic understanding of Spanish grammar, including word formation, verb conjugation in the present tense, idiomatic expressions, and cognates.
This novice level course builds upon the grammatical structure of the Spanish language learned in Spanish I. Focus is on developing and increasing skill levels in the areas of comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. Students learn to describe situations in the present, past, and future tenses and gain an intermediate understanding of grammar, including word formation, verb conjugations, and idiomatic expressions. The course also discusses various cultural aspects of the Spanish-speaking world, its history, and its culture.
Honors Spanish III
Upon successful completion of Spanish I and II, a student may choose to enroll in this advanced class that is designed to solidify the basic structural and grammatical components of the language, while adding more complex verb structures and sophisticated communication skills. The course offers continued exploration of the Spanish-speaking world, with more exposure to authentic language use through the media and other outlets, while placing greater emphasis on the study of its geography, history, and the arts.
Honors Spanish IV
Honors Spanish IV continues to broaden students’ cultural knowledge of Spanish speaking countries, while also allowing them to study the language in greater detail. Students read for comprehension from a variety of authentic sources and apply higher level skills in order to discuss the readings. Lessons concentrate on expanding the vocabulary with expressions that make speech more natural. Students study and report on the culture, history, and current events of the Spanish-speaking world, using the language skills gained throughout their Spanish courses, and prepare themselves for continued study of the language in college.
Algebra I students use functions to represent and model problem situations, set up equations, and use a variety of methods to solve these equations. Modules focus on solving linear equations and quadratic equations using models, tables, graphs, and algebraic methods. Goals of the course include helping students reach a comfort level in using the language of algebra and familiarizing students with problem solving strategies and techniques.
Algebra IA, IB
Students may choose to divide the Algebra I curriculum over a period of two years by taking Algebra IA and Algebra IB. These courses use the same curriculum as the Algebra I course, while allowing for a more concentrated study of the mathematical concepts involved.
Algebra II is an extension of Algebra I and further augments students’ comprehension of the concept of functions. After reviewing the basic equations learned in Algebra I, students develop advanced algebraic skills by studying inequalities and proof, product and factors of polynomials, rational expressions, irrational and complex numbers, and quadratic equations and functions.
Geometry consists of the study of geometric figures of zero, one, two, and three dimensions and the relationships among them. Students study properties and associations related to size, shape, location, direction, and orientation of these figures. In addition to familiarizing students with the language of geometry, lessons provide insight to the role of shapes and figures in representing mathematical situations and expressing generalizations about space and spatial relationships.
In pre-calculus, students use symbolic reasoning and analytical methods to represent mathematical situations, express generalizations, and further their study of mathematical concepts. Concrete, pictorial, numerical, symbolic, graphical, and verbal representations help students model functions and equations and solve real-life problems. Students learn characteristics of functions, how to use matrices, and a streamlined technique for solving systems of linear equations, preparing them for higher level mathematics courses.
Through the interplay between geometric and analytic information, calculus is taught to both predict and explain the observed local and global behavior of functions. Derivatives are presented graphically, numerically, and analytically, with an understanding of the relationship between differentiability and continuity. This is a one-year, honors-level course designed for the accelerated 12th grade mathematics student who is considering advanced placement in college or wishes to have maximum preparation for college calculus.
In math applications, students use algebraic, graphical, and geometric reasoning to recognize patterns, model information, and solve problems from a wide variety of advanced applications in both mathematical and nonmathematical situations. Studying budgets, savings, credit cards, loans, and the Stock Market, students gain experience in applying their skills to real-life circumstances, while expanding their understanding of mathematical foundations.
Biology is a laboratory science course that covers the study of living things. The scientific process is emphasized along with biology’s connections to other scientific disciplines. Units in the biology class include the classification of organisms, the history of life on Earth, speciation, plant life, vertebrates and invertebrates, and the human body. Students explore these concepts through textbook readings, online and written assignments, projects, and hands-on laboratory activities.
Environmental science challenges students to think about their roles in our environment. Students explore how beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors affect the environment, as well as learn how scientists are working to solve the numerous environmental problems we face today. Topics include ecology and ecosystems, endangered species, our national wetlands, global energy needs and historic energy disasters, and consumption and recycling. Coursework includes textbook readings, online and written assignments, projects, and hands-on laboratory activities.
Chemistry is an introduction to the study of the physical world. Through lecture, group discussion, online and written assignments, and laboratory work, students engage in topics such as matter and energy, atomic structure, bonding, the periodic table, the mathematics of chemistry, kinetics and equilibrium, acid-base theories, redox and organic chemistry. Emphasis is placed on the development of critical thinking by using the scientific method.
Conceptual Physics is a conceptual based introductory physics course. Students are introduced to basic physics concepts, including mechanics, properties of matter, heat, sound, light, electricity, magnetism, and atomic physics. Concepts are introduced via lecture and reinforced through the use of demonstration, video, class discussion, and lab activities. Selected projects allow students to creatively demonstrate their understanding of specific concepts.
Honors Physics is a project based course allowing students to gain hands on experience of physics concepts through construction and implementation of projects. Students are introduced to basic physics concepts, including motion, accelerated motion, one and two dimensional forces, gravitation, rotational motion, momentum, energy, work, simple machines, thermal energy, and states of matter. Through a combination of class work, lecture, demonstration, video, and hands on projects, students experience physics concepts. Critical thinking skills are practiced through project construction.
American History II
This course provides a basic overview of American history from reconstruction to the present with emphasis on the democratic process, economics, geography, the impact of technological innovations, social events, and other issues related to each time period. Critical thinking and map skills are stressed, and historical insights are related to current events through the use of periodicals.
World history covers many topics, including the transformations of civilizations, political systems, the expansion of world nations, the first empires, the development of religions, and the world at war. Periodicals serve as a catalyst for discussions and debates, inviting students to immerse themselves in the events taking place around the world. Additionally, students keep a notebook of weekly assignments concerning current events, and note taking skills are emphasized on a daily basis.
The government curriculum consists of studies of various forms of foreign governments, the fundamentals of the United States government, the establishment of political parties, the roles of key figures, taxes, the powers of Congress, the constitution, and amendments. Local and national periodicals provide topics for class discussion and debate, while weekly current event assignments encourage independent research of the topics affecting and influencing our government today. This is a one-semester course.
Economics is a one-semester course that covers information in the areas of economic systems, business organizations, supply and demand, the Stock Market, competition, market failures, bankruptcies, microeconomics, and macroeconomics. Periodicals provide topics for class discussion and debate, and students keep a notebook of current event news stories as a weekly assignment. Additionally, the Junior Achievement program allows local business leaders to visit classes and share with students their experiences as a source of reference for students to learn about the business world.
World geography extends social science studies to more closely look at the cultures and customs of various regions around the world, such as the United States, Canada, Latin America, Russia, Eurasia, Africa, Australia, the Middle East, the Polar Regions, and Oceania. Topics covered include map making and map studying, weather, climate, vegetation, religions, cultures and their traditions, and governments. Students use periodicals as a basis for discussion, debate, and weekly research about current events in different societies.
Psychology is an elective course in which students explore the development and personality of individuals, as well as the social behaviors of groups and cultures. Throughout the year, the course investigates the history of psychology, psychological methods, biology, and abnormal behavior. Students also learn about the development of human beings, theories of personality, and the diagnosis and treatment of various psychological disorders. To stimulate comprehension and understanding, the class participates in labs and video assignments, as well as group activities and projects.
Art I is designed for those interested in developing their skills and knowledge in art. Technique, composition, and craftsmanship are key components of every project, with the elements and principles of design being the basis for all teaching. During the first semester, the primary emphasis is to develop drawing and design skills, while the focus of the second semester is based on three specific and unrelated art forms: ceramics, linoleum printing, and painting. Throughout the year, students are also exposed to art history, art criticism, and photography. Photography is an integral part of the curriculum, is produced as an independent art form, and is used as a source of inspiration for other art projects.
Art II – IV
Advanced art is offered to students in grades 10-12 and is designed for those interested in becoming independent in their thinking through the development of their skills and knowledge in art. Students develop skills in art production through experimentation in a variety of new processes, techniques, and media. They are given the opportunity to work two and three dimensionally, with two dimension work focusing on developing technique and design skills, while three dimensional studies emphasize design and construction skills. Students also continue to work in the areas of photography, art history, and art criticism.
3D art is offered as a one-semester class that is designed for those interested in creating conceptual ideas in a three dimensional format. Concepts are assigned and created through student-driven ideas, with emphasis on the art elements and principles of design, construction techniques and skills, and aesthetics. Possible studio work could include hand building with clay, throwing on the potter’s wheel, working with three dimensional forms, or building sculptural assemblages with various materials. Prerequisite for the course is Art I.
Theatre is creativity expressed in action. The beginning drama course focuses on the basic knowledge of theatre, historical and practical, while giving limited opportunities to express and act out that knowledge. Emphasis is placed on working as an ensemble and the importance of the work as a whole; however, the individuality of each ensemble member is equally important.
Advanced Drama II, III, IV
Advanced drama focuses on acting technique. Students are expected to participate in a one-act play, a full-length play, and an evening of monologues and duets. Continued work on the philosophy of the ensemble as a major acting component is stressed. Lessons include acting techniques, diction, projection, script use, character analysis, plot analysis, and memorization. Students in this course are eligible to become members of the Fairhill Chapter of the International Thespian Society and to participate in the Texas Thespian Festival. Prerequisite for the course is Drama I.
Study in the film analysis course is divided into two semesters. The first semester is a study of some of the most popular film genres, including comedy, drama, musicals, westerns, and suspense/thrillers. Work within each genre includes viewing films produced pre-1970 and post-1970, emphasizing the changes in societal ideologies, film technology, and film tropes. The second semester takes a closer look at some of the basics of film elements, such as lighting, sound, camera angles and depth of field, mise en scene, color and texture, and editing. Students are required to independently view and report on current films throughout the year, using vocabulary terms and knowledge of elements addressed in class.
The journalism curriculum introduces journalistic concepts designed to produce a variety of skills necessary for newspaper reporting and publishing. Students learn journalism history, theory, ethics, and photo journalism, applying their knowledge and honing interviewing skills through a variety of written news stories. Lessons highlight the mechanics, design, and structure for producing and publishing a student-run publication, where students take the roles of Editor-in-Chief, Photo Editor, and Section Editors, culminating in the publication of The Fairhill Talon Times.
Photo Journalism (Yearbook)
Activities in band highlight and build the recognition and comprehension of instrument technique, tone production, tuning, fundamentals of music theory, music reading, and listening skills. While learning how to improve personal skills on individual instruments, students also develop through ensemble playing by participating at various events, including concerts, festivals, and a number of school sporting events.
Students work closely and personally with creativity and innovation as they learn how to use state of the art software to plan, implement, manage, and evaluate projects. Image editing and manipulation, correction, and enhancement are some of the techniques covered. Students learn to navigate and use Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator to achieve their goals as they learn to tap into their creative potential. They learn how to create visual communications, make aesthetic judgments, and learn a variety of tools and techniques used to produce professional work in fields of graphic design, advertising, and illustration. Mastery of tools is accomplished with fun and entertaining projects.
Graphics and Animation
This course provides students with additional, more advanced practice using Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator software to plan, create, enhance, and manipulate graphic designs. Lessons also provide access to Adobe InDesign software in order for students to learn techniques that prepare their work for publication. Additionally, students learn the basics of graphic animation using Maya, a 3D animation software program that offers a virtual workspace and introduces users to design elements such as cloth, fur, fluid effects, and camera sequencing.
Athletics I, II, III, IV
The basic purpose of this course is to motivate students to strive for lifetime personal fitness with an emphasis on the health-related components of physical fitness. The concept of wellness, or striving to reach optimal levels of health, is the cornerstone of this course and is exemplified by one of the course objectives in which students design their own personal fitness program.
Football; Volleyball; Basketball; Tennis; Golf; Cross Country; Track; Bowling
Students enrolled in individual and team sports are expected to develop health-related fitness and an appreciation for setting personal goals, teamwork, and fair play. These activities reinforce the concept of incorporating physical activity into a lifestyle beyond high school.
The health course provides students with accurate information which they can use to develop healthy attitudes and behavior patterns. Students are encouraged to recognize their role in choosing healthy behaviors in order to reduce risks. Topics covered include mental health, family and social health, human growth and development, nutrition, fitness, substance abuse, diseases and disorders, consumer and personal health, safety, and environmental health.
College and Career Readiness
This 11th grade, college preparatory course is designed to prepare students for their senior year and academic life after high school. Students are exposed to lessons and activities that will encourage them to explore their strengths and interests, set realistic goals for the future, and investigate careers and college majors. They will learn how to prepare and send applications, write college entrance essays and resumes, apply for various forms of financial aid, prepare for SAT and ACT exams, and enhance their test-taking strategies. While the course focuses mostly on college preparation, it also takes into consideration alternate career and educational opportunities, such as trade and vocational schools and military options.