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Liberal Arts Level 5: American Classics

This liberal arts class is designed to increase student’s communications skills through reading, writing, speaking and listening, and the study of the English language. Students will read the American classics alongside a timeline of our national history as it plays a fundamental role in shaping literature. Additionally, we will focus on nature studies, and composition of personal letters, narratives, and short speeches.

This year students can expect to read a variety of novels, short stories, plays, poetry, essays, and non-fiction. These literary pieces will model the different writing styles we will be working on in class. Writing assignments will include timed responses, journal writing, essays, critiques, and creative pieces. Vocabulary, spelling, and grammar will be an important part of this class and will be reinforced holistically through each composition piece. Because we are a community of learners, we will work together as a class and each student will present information to their peers in groups or individually.

Each student should have two composition books or notebooks to use for the year. One will be for their own Interactive Literature Student Notebook that will be used in class for practice and growth in the areas like mastery of writing styles, grammar, vocabulary, comprehension, and analysis of literary pieces through journaling, and the other for a Reading Journal. Both will prepare students for discussions, retelling narratives, and answering questions  leading to definitions, examples, and comparisons of literature. See documents on class Interactive Student Notebooks and Reading Journals.

Our major units of study will include but are not limited to:
● Poetry, Short Stories, and Novels
● Narrative, Expository, Technical and Persuasive Writing
● Speech Writing and Delivery

During our writing units, we will also utilize the multi-step writing process to develop, revise, evaluate, and improve each written piece of work. In our course of study in all the units, we will address various elements of specific genres including but not limited to organization, purpose, audience, narration, conflict, tone, and theme.

View Liberal Arts Curriculum Map

Required Materials:
Books and supplies are not included in the purchase of the course.

2024–2025: Rotation B (American Classics)

  • Irving Stories (978-0141330921)
  • Sand County Almanac (978-0345345059)
  • Tom Sawyer (978-1973844730)
  • Fredrick Douglass: Narrative of Life (978-0486284996)
  • Across Five Aprils (978-0425182789)
  • O Pioneers! (978-0486277851)
  • Our Town (978-0060512637)
  • Old Man and the Sea (978-0684801223)
  • War of the Worlds (978-0486295060)
  • Saint Innocent (0-913836-60-5)
  • The Elements of Style (978-0205309023)
  • A Little History of the United States (978-0300181418)
  • Brave Companions: Portraits in History (978-0671792763)

Additional Required Materials

  • Composition book or notebook for Interactive Student Literature Notebook
  • Additional composition book or notebook for Reading Journal

For Future Reference
2025-2026: Rotation B (British Classics)

  • Watership Down, Adams
  • Beowulf
  • The Song of Roland
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
  • An Island Story: A History of England for Boys and Girls
  • Our Island Saints, Steedman and Spooner Symposium
  • “The Sword and the Stone” The Once and Future King, White
  • Don Quixote, Cervantes
  • Hamlet, Shakespeare
  • A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens

Additional Required Materials

  • Composition book or notebook for Interactive Student Literature Notebook
  • Additional composition book or notebook for Reading Journal

Sarah Fothergill has been teaching for 13 years. She holds a BA in 7-12 English and History Education and an MA in Secondary Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Throughout her career, Sarah has taught writing, literature, and speaking to both middle and high school students. Sarah offers her students a passion for studying literature, history, poetry, and nature, and looks forward to helping them learn, grow, and reflect on “the good, the true, and the beautiful” in everything. In addition to teaching, Sarah is blessed to serve as Youth Ministry Coordinator and chanter at St. George Orthodox Church in Kearney, Nebraska. She also loves spoiling her two young nieces, reading, writing, gardening, coffee and conversation with friends, and spending time with her husband and two cats.​

Red checkmarkComputer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.

Red checkmarkHigh-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.

Red checkmarkWebcam: You may use an external webcam or one that is built in to the computer. Webcam Recommendations: Good (PC only) | Best (Mac and PC)

Red checkmarkHeadset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class. Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm

Red checkmarkZoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use. unnamed-e1455142229376 To download Zoom:

  1. Visit
  2. Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
  3. Open and run the installer on your computer.
  4. In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.

Red checkmarkScanner: In this class, students frequently submit homework assignments by scanning pages from their workbooks. Students and/or their parents should have easy access to a scanner and the ability to use it.


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