English and Social Studies


Communication and creativity in writing are emphasized in the entire K-12 environment. Students learn to write and publish books in early elementary. Many go on to enter their work in various language arts competitions throughout their years at Greenwood, winning awards on the local and state level.

The mission of the English program at Greenwood Laboratory School is to provide the students with the necessary English skills (i.e. grammar, punctuation sentence structure, etc.), as well as providing them with the writing skills necessary to voice their ideas in a creative manner.

The Curriculum consists of 9 different classes, one at each grade level (7-12) and 4 electives.

English 7 (1 unit)

English 7 is a reading/writing course focused on developing students’ knowledge and skills in the language arts: composition; grammar, usage and mechanics; reading comprehension; literature study based on genre; information literacy; and listening/speaking. This course includes a study of Greek mythology. The course is designed to build on work begun in the elementary grade levels, advancing students’ critical thinking skills through reading and writing tasks of increased complexity and depth

English 8 (1 unit)

This workshop course continues the development of individual reading and writing skills. Literature is presented by genre with readings from novels, stories, poems, and essays. As an optional study, students may begin an introduction to Shakespeare with Romeo and Juliet. Vocabulary, spelling and mechanics will be integrated into student reading and writing.

Communications (1 Unit)

Communications students will develop skill, poise, and confidence in oral communication situations. They will learn the process of assembling information, organizing ideas, developing a variety of speeches and presenting them in a formal speech situation. Listening skills, outlining, and knowledge about propaganda techniques will also be emphasized. In addition, during the last quarter of the year, students will be introduced to oral interpretation techniques and dramatics for presentation in class.

English I (1 unit, grade 9)

Ninth grade literature includes the study of all genres with an in-depth analysis of the novels and plays, To Kill a Mockingbird, A Raisin in the Sun, and Twelve Angry Men. Students study organization in writing and speaking, emphasizing the thesis statement and subsequent development of a composition. The course, Vocabulary for the College Bound will be introduced. Grammar and mechanics will be re-emphasized as needed.

English II (1 unit, grade 10)

English II emphasizes the development of communication skills needed by college-bound students. Students will learn to avoid communication breakdowns, learn language processes, and further develop skills in structuring and organizing a paper, culminating in a research paper. Exercises in oral communication emphasize preparation, structure, and presentation of speeches. At this level, students review mechanics and grammar, and continue the vocabulary program. A survey of types of literature includes drama and the novels, Lord of the Flies and Of Mice and Men.

English III (1 unit, grade 11)

Students in English III study the chronological development of American literature and complete in-depth studies of the works of Mark Twain and Ernest Hemingway. Further work in writing includes paragraph development and compositions related to literature studies. Students present informative speeches, continue their vocabulary studies, and prepare a Junior Exhibition. Grammar and mechanics will also be reviewed as needed.

English IV (1 unit, grade 12)

English IV addresses the development of British and European literature from the Classical period through the 20th century. Students will study a variety of literary genres including poetry, drama, satire, novels and non-fiction. Composition emphasizes argument and analysis, informative/explanatory texts, and research writing, culminating in the written component of the Greenwood Graduation Exhibition

Service-Learning Capstone (1/2 Unit, Grade 12)

This one-semester, required course will provide seniors with the opportunity to complete community-based research and service. Students will explore the skills of a civically engaged person, conduct research and write a formal research paper, complete a 25-hour service-learning project in the local community related to their research, and interpret the results of their research and service-learning experiences as part of the Graduation Exhibition. This class includes the service-learning component which is part of the Public Affairs Diploma.

Speech (1 unit, grades 7-12)

Speech students will develop skill, poise, and confidence in oral communication situations. Students learn the process of assembling information, organizing ideas, developing a speech, and presentation in a formal situation. Students will also become acquainted with oral interpretation techniques and apply them to a variety of materials for presentations in class and to selected audiences.

Debate (1 unit, grades 9-12)

Debate is a competitive course that is beneficial to any student interested in a career in business, law, or politics. It will also benefit any student desiring to improve speaking skills and gain poise and confidence in front of a group. The class will work on developing skills in cross-examination debate, Lincoln-Douglas debate, extemporaneous speaking, original oratory, and interpretation. Participation in tournaments is a requirement of the course. It is research intensive and will involve writing cases and speeches, competing performances and receiving critiques by peers, judges and the instructor. This course may be taken for credit more than once.

Social Studies

Foundations of Public Affairs (1 unit, grade 7)

The major emphasis of the course will be to develop a heightened awareness of civic responsibility and to provide an opportunity for our students to actively become engaged in citizenship roles. The student will study the origins of political philosophy that influenced and shaped the creation of the government of the United States. We will explore present day application of the core values of democracy and the problems and promises that result. The students will also participate in active school/community involvement that reflects these values in action.

American History I (1 unit, grade 8)

American History I begins a two-year study of United States history. The course includes the chronological study of United States history from the colonial period through the Civil War. For each period, major political, economic and social issues are studied through a thematic approach with emphasis on critical thinking.

American History II (1 unit, grade 9)

American History II continues the two-year study of the United States history. The course continues the chronological study of United States History from the Civil War through the post-Cold War era. For each period, major political, economic and social issues are addressed.

World Civilizations (1 unit, grade 10)

This course is a survey of major world civilizations from the early river valley societies through the 19th century. The course will emphasize Western Civilizations as the background to modern American history and culture. Non-Western civilizations are also addressed. For each period, major political economic and social issues are addressed.

American Government (1 unit, grade 11)

This course is a study of the structure and functions of American government institutions at the federal, state and local levels. Individual liberties and the responsibilities of citizens in a democratic society are emphasized. A major course component is the completion of a portfolio that documents citizen participation activities.

Public Affairs Seminar (1/2 unit, grades 10-12)

This variable content course will focus on providing the student with opportunities to enhance their understanding of the GLS Public Affairs Mission. Volunteer service and service-learning activities (student proposed and instructor proposed), with a focus on the three major themes of the Public Affairs mission, will be emphasized. These three themes are:

  1. Ethical Leadership
    Students will articulate their value systems, act ethically within the context of a democratic society, and demonstrate engaged and principled leadership.
  2. Cultural Competence
    Students will recognize and respect multiple perspectives and cultures.
  3. Community Engagement
    Students will recognize the importance of contributing their knowledge and experiences to their own community and the broader society.

Psychology (1/2 unit, grades 9-12)

This is a survey course designed to introduce students to the systematic and scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of human beings. Students will be exposed to psychological facts, principles, and phenomena associated with each of the major subfields within psychology and learn about the ethics and methods psychologists use in the science and practice. This is an online course.

Sociology (1/2 unit, grades 9-12)

This survey course is designed to provide students with a basic understanding of how societies are formed and how they function. Sociology is a study of people in group relationships and integrates all the disciplines of social movement. This course addresses values, norms, culture, socialization, social stratification and social institutions. It may also include consideration of social problems such as crime, poverty, prejudice and discrimination, collective behavior and social movements. This is a online course.

World Geography (1/2 unit, grades 9-12)

This course is a study of people, places and environment from a physical and cultural perspective. Through a variety of classroom activities, students will gain an appreciation and understanding of the interdependent world in which they live. Students will analyze and evaluate the connection between their local and global communities. The course will emphasize the practical and responsible application of geography to life situations. This is an online course.