Language Arts:




English I:

The goal of English I is to introduce freshman English students to a variety of literary genres. By the end of the school year students should able to define several literary terms and to present examples of these terms from the assigned literature.In addition to developing their literary skills, students will also work on developing an effective and grammatically correct writing style by studying grammar and writing several paragraphs and essays.Finally, an attempt will be made to improve the students' vocabulary through weekly testing and workbook exercises. (Two semesters each; 5 cr.hrs./sem.)


English II:

Sophomore English is meant to build on the skills mastered in English I, allowing students to develop in their writing and to expand on their understanding of literature and research. Grammar and usage will be studied in the interest of improving students’ writing. Assigned reading will come from the textbook as well as three additional novels. Students will also receive several assignments asking them to analyze books that they read outside of class. The improvement of vocabulary will be targeted through quizzes over words from in-class reading as well as a study of root words. Students will demonstrate their progress through tests, essays, presentations, journal writing, and a research project. (Two semesters each; 5 cr.hrs./sem.)


English III

The purpose of English III is to expose students to a variety of United States literature, to help students enhance their writing by completing writing and grammar assignments, and to improve students' vocabulary through weekly testing.During the first semester students will survey United States literature from its nebulous beginnings up to the 1920s. The purpose of this first semester survey is to examine themes present in our earliest literature that have carried over into our modern literature and culture. It will also help students understand what it means to be "American." During the second semester students will read novels and plays written by post 1920s United States authors so the students can examine these authors' views of concepts such as the "American Dream," individualism, religion, democracy, capitalism, and industrialism. It is expected that students will begin to develop their own opinions about these concepts.Besides studying United States literature, students will also complete a paragraph assignment and two expository essays during the first semester. These writing assignments are designed to enhance the students' writing style as well as sentence structure and variety. During the second semester, students will complete a 6 to 8 page research paper and one other essay on a topic to be named later. The purpose of completing a research paper is to help students understand the time involved in completing a research paper and to help students learn the proper format, style, and tone of a research paper. In addition to studying literature and writing, students will also prepare for the ACT English test by taking practice ACT English tests and by studying grammar usage rules, punctuation rules, and sentence structure errors. (One practice ACT English test will be averaged into each student's grammar test grade.) While preparing for the ACT English test, students will hopefully strengthen their knowledge of formal grammar so they may apply it to their writing.Finally, students will have an opportunity to expand their vocabulary through weekly vocabulary tests. (Two semesters each; 5 cr.hrs./sem.) 


Advanced Placement English Language (A.P. English) (Junior Year)

Students in AP English Language and Composition will write a variety of essays, prompted by reading a variety of American literature.  Since AP English Language emphasizes writing, the course is organized by different types of composition, including personal, persuasive, comparison/contrast, synthesis, cause/effect, analysis and descriptive. Students will keep an observation journal for three of the major novels they will read.

 A major argumentative research paper is also included.  As a final paper, students will write a process paper entitled “How I write a paper”, with the objective of self analysis and a guide for future writing.  As an introduction to the course, students will study the vocabulary and applications of rhetoric.  Students will also have periodic AP practice reading and writing tests. (2 Semesters; 5 credits/semester).



English IV:

The goals for English IV involve writing, reading, and developing critical thinking skills. In regards to the writing goals, students study sentence construction to identify strategies to improve their complexity and variety of sentences. An effort is also made to improve essay writing by breaking away from the five-paragraph essay in order to practice writing essays that will be more commonly required in college. In the course of their writing adventures, students will also review the use of library databases, review the evaluation of internet sources, review resources available in the school library, continue to practice the use of MLA style, apply the use of research skills to writing in literary analysis, and practice the use of effective quotations to strengthen the arguments in their essays. In regards to the study of literature, students study novels and short stories significant to the development of British literature. Students also study the schools of thought relevant to the development of British literature, including but not limited to the Enlightenment, Romanticism, Victorian Age, and Modernism. Students will further continue to study the basic elements of literature, including a review of literary criticism and its use in writing. Finally, students will continue to study poetry by reviewing poetic vocabulary and studying poetic forms as they apply to British poetry. Finally, in regards to the development of critical thinking skills, students are asked to participate in group discussions about the assigned literature. In doing so, students are asked to evaluate, analyze, critique, and just plain think about their assumptions, their classmates’ assumptions, and the assumptions presented in the literature. (Two semesters; 5 cr.hrs./sem.)


Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition (A.P. English) (Senior Year)

The primary goal of this course is to prepare students for the AP English Literature and Composition exam, as well as to prepare them for college level reading and writing. Students will analyze a wide variety of literature in the course of the year, including novels, drama, and poetry, with a focus on British literature.Along with weekly writing assignments, students will be asked to critique each others’ work in the interest of improving quality of both writing style and literary analysis. All reading should be approached with an active mind, meaning deep engagement with the text that elicits questions and responses. Considerations of structure, theme, style, tone, figurative language, symbolism, and imagery will be incorporated into the discussion of each course text. (Two semesters; 5 cr.hrs./sem.)


Writing Elective for International Students

The purpose of Writing Elective is to help students with writing skills they will need at Mount Michael and College.  There are four major areas of study in the class.   They include:  Journal Writing, Writing Paragraphs and Essays, Grammar and Usage Skill Sheets and Help With Outside Writing Assignments.  Grades are based on effort and improvement in writing.




All freshmen at Mount Michael are required to take an introductory speech course. The basics of public speaking are taught including projection, diction, physical expression, thesis writing, speech structure, nerve control, and speech writing. The types of speeches performed in this class include Demonstrative, Informative, Persuasive, Dinner Speeches and debate. (Two semesters; 1 cr. hr./sem.)


Advanced Speech:

This course is designed for students who have an interest in developing their speaking skills and writing abilities.  The class meets once a week in the evening but also requires participation in weekend speech tournaments and practice outside of class.  Some students will also have the opportunity to perform alongside the school band and choir at concerts that are open to parents and other visitors.  All students will practice impromptu speaking, dramatic presentation, speech writing, and research skills, although they will have to select one or two official speech events for their tournament participation. 


Journalism Courses:

The journalism courses are offered as electives starting at the sophomore level. The primary focus of these courses is to develop students in the areas of journalistic writing, photography, newspaper design and layout, and yearbook design and layout. The students also have an opportunity to compete against students from other schools in several journalism competitions sponsored by Creighton University and the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. 


Journalism I:

Students will develop a facility for writing in the A.P. style. Selected assignments will be submitted to the school newspaper for publication. The students will have the opportunity to experiment with writing for the different genres of print journalism, i.e. sports reporting, criticism, feature reporting, lifestyle features, investigative journalism, photographic journalism, documentary film, and broadcasting etc. (Sophomore Year)


Journalism II

This course is offered to juniors and seniors. Its primary purpose is publication of the school newspaper, The Mount, and the school yearbook, The Seeker. Students are trained in journalistic writing, photography, newspaper design and layout, and yearbook design and layout. Students also do some writing for the school’s website. (2 semesters, 5 cr. hrs./sem)