INSTRUCTOR AND CURRICULUM DEVELOPER FOR THE LAWSON ACADEMY (2008-2009)
Courses Designed, Instructed and Directed:
Algebra 1: The purpose of this course is to explore fundamental concepts and skills in algebra, such as solving equations and inequalities, understanding order of operations, slopes, and graphing. Awareness of the questions and problems which motivated developers of mathematics, such as Rene Descartes, is also encouraged as a way of promoting an appreciation of mathematics and mathematicians. Skills to be developed in Algebra 1 include critical thinking in general and, more specifically, deductive reasoning.
The primary textbook for this course is Algebra 1 (McDougal Littell, 2004). The accompanying workbook is also required. Each chapter will begin with a discussion of concepts and skills. The student will then work out all relevant problems in the workbook. At the end of each chapter a textbook test is administered. Grades are determined by workbook problems (50%) and end of chapter tests (50%).
Literature (Honors): This course will be an advanced exploration of several areas of literature: short stories, poetry, and non-fiction, epic, science fiction and fantasy. The student will gain proficiency at reading and analyzing pieces of literature. This course is set up to develop critical thinking skills, creativity, linguistic mastery and appreciation of literary arts. The primary textbook for this course is Literature (McGraw-Hill, 2002). A supplementary book, Poetry Speaks (Ed. Paschen & Mosby, 2001), is also required.
For short stories, non-fiction, epic, science fiction and fantasy, the student will read select pieces from the textbook, discuss the pieces and answer questions in the textbook at the end of each piece. The student will also practice writing in each of these genres, creating at least one short story in fiction, non-fiction and science fiction/fantasy. For poetry, the book Poetry Speaks will be used. The student will read a short biography of 19 different poets, including Robert Frost and William Carlos Williams, from Poetry Speaks and listen to each poet read his or her poetry via the accompanying CD while reading along with the poet. The student will also practice writing poems using various poetic forms and styles. Grading is determined by: Questions in textbook (50%), quality short story and poetry writing graded on parameters of grammar, creative plot, characters, word usage, rhythm, rhyme, form, symbolism (50%).
American Government (Honors): This course is an advanced study of American Government. The student will gain understanding of the structure of the American government, the framework of and provisions in the American constitution, the Bill of Rights, the three branches of government, the relationship between federal and state government, political parties, interest groups, political participation and political movements. The student will also study philosophical theories underpinning aspects of American Government, such as conceptions of representative democracy and direct democracy, division of powers, human rights, religious freedom and accommodation, the equality of persons, and when the state is justified in limiting freedom of citizens.
The primary textbook for this course is American Government (Pearson Longman, 2008). The student will read assigned readings from the textbook and current news articles as well as watch political news programs. Since 2008 is an election year, the student will also watch every debate, presidential and vice presidential, will go to a polling place on Election Day and will watch the inauguration. Each chapter will end with an independent research project relating to the chapter. The student may choose to (1) Create an in-depth PowerPoint presentation on an assigned topic and present this project in speech format, or (2) Write a three page research paper (single spaced, 12 point font) on an assigned topic. Research projects must evidence independent research skills and deep understanding of material. Research projects are 100% of the grade for this course. Each research project will be graded based on grammar, clarity of writing or proficiency in speaking on the topic, accuracy, quality of research and evidence that the student has thought deeply about the topic. Investigation for the research projects may be conducted over the internet, but must use reliable primary and secondary sources.
Physical Science: This course is designed to provide the student with an understanding of the basic concepts and theories in physical science such as matter, force, motion, work, simple machines, heat and light. The student will read assigned readings in the primary textbook, Conceptual Physical Science (Pearson, 2008), and gain an understanding of the history of physical science as well as contemporary theories and hypotheses. Special discussions may include current physical science events, such as the Large Hadron Collider and shuttle launches, as well as the physical science of everyday life (vibrations and music, light and photography, centrifugal force and theme park rides). The student will conduct experiments related to each textbook chapter and create a PowerPoint project evidencing student research abilities. Grading for this course is based on chapter tests developed from questions in the textbook (50%), student made PowerPoint presentations on physical science concepts, theories and thinkers (25%) and physical science experiments (25%).
Earth Science: This course is an advanced study of earth science. The primary textbook for this course is Earth Science (Pearson, 2006). The student will read assigned chapters and complete chapter tests derived from end of chapter questions in the textbook. The student will develop an in depth understanding of topics in the earth science, such as the composition of the earth, paleontology, stratigraphy, theories of evidence gathering and evidence evaluation, historical developments in theories of earth science and carbon dating. The student will embark on field trips to features of the natural world (for example, lakes, rivers and springs) and engage in field work (for example, measuring air quality by gathering data on resurrection ferns in various proximities to high traffic streets). Grading for this course is based on chapter tests (50%) and field studies (50%).
Health: This course deals with two types of health: physical and psychological. These aspects of health will be studied together using the textbook Adjustment and Growth (Harcourt Brace, 1995) and supplementary materials from medical websites. Topics to be covered include nutrition, lifestyles and practices that promote physical and psychological well being, physical fitness and mental health, diseases, food choices, psychological theories of mental health, popular misconceptions, as well as research in the physical and social sciences in correlation, causation and contributing factors of disease and health. Grading for this course will be measured by textbook-based tests at the end of each chapter (100%).
Human Sexuality: This course will deal with various aspects of human sexuality including internal and external male and female anatomy, psychological, sociological and physiological theories of sexuality, historical studies of human sexuality, theories of gender, sexuality and culture, relationships, pregnancy and parenthood, sexually transmitted diseases, reproduction and contraception. The primary textbook for this course is Human Sexuality (McGraw Hill, 2008). The student will understand scientific conceptions of human sexuality, the history of human sexuality studies, medical disorders and treatments and more. The student will read assigned material in the textbook, discuss material, watch relevant educational videos and take chapter tests. Tests are taken from the website accompanying the textbook and account for 100% of the grading for this course.
Physical Education (PE): This course is centered on student fitness and physical activities that promote fitness. The student will attend the YMCA to do stair climbing, use tread mills, and other equipment, learn how to use exercise equipment, how to exercise for muscle tone, cardiovascular health and general well being. The student will also go to a driving range to learn golf swings, will take walks on the beach, nature hikes and other physical activities in the outdoors. Grading for this course is based on student participation (100%).
World Geography: This course is intended to provide the student with knowledge and skills for understanding the globe, both the physical features of the globe (continents and oceans) and the political features of the contemporary world (political borders). The primary textbook for this course is Ready-to-Use World Geography Activities (Center for Applied Research in Education, 1992). Supplementary materials include Google Maps, Jacksonville maps and United States maps. The student will understand concepts of cartography, and political jurisdiction, become familiar with present day borders around the world and learn how to use the internet to understand borders, political conflicts, countries and states. Grading for this course is based on the completion of activities and worksheets in Ready-to-Use Geography Activities (100%).
Grammar and Composition: This course provides the student with the concepts for understanding English grammar and composition. Topics to be explored include: words, sentences, phrases, clauses, punctuation, commonly confused and misspelled words, subject-verb agreement, spelling. The primary textbook for this course is Grammar and Composition Handbook (Glencoe McGraw-Hill, 2002). The workbook Grammar and Language Workbook (Glencoe McGraw-Hill) is also required. The student will read assigned portions of the Grammar and Composition Handbook and complete exercises in the Grammar and Language Workbook. Grading for this course is based on workbook activities (100%).
Art: This intensive course will cover a variety of topics in art. Subjects to be studied include: a survey of art history, the color wheel, the golden mean, color studies, still life drawing, printmaking, perspective, glass and paint, positive and negative space, study of the camera, black and white photo developing and printing, taking color photos, taking color negative photos, framing, light and color studies, depth of field, analysis of art pieces, art criticism, biographical studies of artists, and theories of aesthetics (including philosophical answers to questions such as “What is art?”, “What is beauty?”). The primary textbook for this course is Art History (Prentice Hall, 2005). Supplementary materials include current art magazines. The student will meet with private tutors weekly for lectures and discussions of art topics and instruction in artistic skills. Twice weekly, the student will study areas of aesthetics with Ms. Lawson. The student is required to read assigned reading in Art History, to keep a sketch book and complete a photographic portfolio. Grading for this course is based on the completion of assigned activities (100%).