English – Bildungsroman Salon



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Harvest Collegiate High School Course Catalogue - Spring 2014


English – Bildungsroman Salon

Scott Storm

A “bildungsroman” is a coming-of-age novel and a “salon” can refer to a place where scholars, artists, and activists discuss critical topics of culture and the human condition.  This class will create a salon to inquire into the nature of identity, belonging, and the novel itself.  We will begin by reading one of the most canonical coming-of-age stories—Great Expectations by Charles Dickens which tells the tale of an orphaned boy named Pip, his love for the beautiful but cold Estella, and his confrontations with the creepy Miss Havisham.  Then, we will read Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao which narrates the story of an overweight Dominican American teen who desperately wants to fall in love. In addition, we will read lots of literary theory and criticism to help us unpack the novels.  In addition to reading, students will write literary analyses and their own fiction.  Each student will write their own coming-of-age novel or novella (50 page minimum).  All students will revise their work multiple times to polish and hone their craft. Students will share their work at salon events throughout the semester. The course will be demanding, but the potential rewards are numerous.  Together, we will interrogate what it means to be an outsider, to grow up, and to explore the great questions of our existence.  


English – Playing with Gender

Beth Krone & Frankee Grove

Glance around you. As you are reading this course selection sheet, observe the people in your room. What clothes are they wearing? How are they sitting in their chairs? How long is their hair? While everything might seem “normal,” each person around you is both a product of, and a resistor to, stereotypes of masculinity and femininity. This class will expose the ways in which individuals constantly perform and contest our identities.  Together, we will read three plays, Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, Lorraine Hansberry’s Raisin in the Sun, and William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, in which characters bend gender across racial, economic and biological boundaries. Participants should be ready to take the stage and fully embody these characters in order to address questions like, “How has our society constructed what it means to be a man or woman? “ and  “How do we perform gender in verbal and non-verbal ways?” We will not only be writing multiple literary analyses of these dramas, but you will become authors of your own plays in which you examine identities and relationships. So if you want to be “playing” with gender, enter stage right.


English – Perspectives: Other People’s Shoes

Steve Lazar & Frankee

Some people say you cannot really understand anyone, or anything, until “you consider things from his point of view - until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”  Through this class, you will focus on developing your Habit of Perspective by walking, reading, and writing, in others’ shoes.  Our reading will focus on novels that ask you to take on other perspectives, including David Levithan’s brand new Every Day, Erich Maria Remarque’s classic All Quiet on the Western Front, and Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein.  Our writing will focus on personal narratives, from your perspective and others’, as well as other forms of creative non-fiction.  By taking this class, you should not only improve your skills, but gain far greater understanding into other people in your life and your relationships with them.  

English - Tricksters, Fools, & Scoundrels: Comedy as a Window on the World

Gina Moss

Jokes. Satire. Wit. Mirth. Hilarity. What makes something funny? Is there a socially acceptable limit to humor? Laughter is a universal human response to stimulus, but how are the stimuli different in different societies? What does the American habit of laughing at other people’s misfortunes say about us? Many cultures around the world turn to tricksters, fools, and other types of comics to reveal aspects of the world that might be too uncomfortable to look at directly. In this course, we will examine irony, satire, farce, slapstick, and wordplay in canonical texts such as Voltaire’s Candide and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream as well as in film, contemporary comedy, and political satire. We will use literary theories to examine and write about what these texts say, and what they say about the cultures that produced them. We will also explore traditional comic/truth-teller characters from other cultures, including the Chinese Monkey King and spider tricksters from both West African and Native American traditions. Be prepared to laugh.


English - Versus Verses

Jessica Jean-Marie & Scott Storm

The poet, Rita Dove claims that “poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.”  Poetry helps us get to deep emotions and to probe our inner-most thoughts. This class is an inquiry into the analysis and production of “verse” or language written in lines.  We will look closely at canonical poetry including the work of John Donne, Elizabeth Bishop, Langston Hughes, and Edgar Allan Poe.  We will also look at contemporary and spoken-word poets ranging from Audre Lorde and Billy Collins, to Patricia Smith, and Taylor Mali. On a weekly basis, students will write both their own poetry and literary analyses.  Students will work hard to revise their manuscripts through multiple drafts.  Writing will culminate in public readings and poetic performances.  Our class will host poetry slams and academic literary conferences where students will present their work to live audiences.  Finally, “Versus Verses” will pit the canon versus the contemporary.  It will put the works of professional poets versus our own poems.  We will discuss and perform these verses in epic showdowns of style and form.  Who will win these battles of rhythm and rhyme?  Which poems will be deemed banal and which sublime?


English – Sphinx: Exploring the Stages of Life

Andy Snyder

Kids grow into teens who become adults, Did they exchange all their dreams and thoughts? Everyone gets old and some get cancer, The Sphinx asked a question, do we have to answer?

What if we could map out some of the big questions and transformations in life? How should kids be raised? What rights and responsibilities should be allowed to teenagers? What does it mean to be an adult? How do elderly people feel about their situation? What can we learn from comparing how different cultures manage these transitions? We're going to use film, books, interviews, photos, and songs to gather wisdom about the flow of human life. Each day we will practice skills of understanding, interpreting, and questioning. At the end of the semester we'll host a symposium to share what we've learned.  




English – Elements of Style: Writing with Flair

Kiran Chaudhuri

This writing workshop aims to show you how good writers write, and how to find your

own unique voice. Want to know how to describe a small thing so exquisitely that it

becomes a symbol of the biggest question in life? Read Annie Dillard. Want to know

how to give an example that makes so much sense that people will never see the issue

the same way again? Read E.B. White. You see, reading and writing are connected.

Deepen your mastery of one, and you deepen your mastery of the other. Through

reading literature that offers profound insight into the human condition and serves

as a model for your own thinking and writing, and through blogging and participating

in Socratic Seminar, you will discover that writers craft words – that literature is

constructed, and that you can acquire the academic language with which to describe

it. Through group feedback and peer review, you will learn how to take audience into

careful consideration and make choices for meaning and style. Through training in the

use of rhetoric, the discipline of critical literary analysis, and the art of personal essay,

you will learn that language is not only a matter of rules, but of craft. Texts include

poems by Sylvia Plath and Emily Dickinson; essays by Seneca, Gandhi, James Baldwin,

Phillip Lopate, and Anne Lamott; short stories by Toni Cade Bambara and Earnest


Hemingway; speeches by Chief Seattle and Barack Obama.

History - Genocide and Justice

David Sherrin

Is genocide the ultimately evil crime? Is patriotism and loyalty to our nation a virtue or a weakness? Is there a best way to achieve justice after genocide? These are some of the questions that we tackle as we engage in the study of two of the events that defined the 20th century and changed international politics forever: the Holocaust and the Rwandan Genocide. We will focus on the complex causes of these events, eyewitness testimonies, and, most importantly, the groundbreaking attempts to bring the perpetrators to justice. This class will include research on other genocides, role-playing, and recreations of real historical trials.


History - Sports, Fashion, and Politics: Conflict and the Search for Power and Identity

David Sherrin

In the 1960s, colorful tie-dyed shirts were popular in San Francisco, while gray worker's garb was common in China.  In 1980, the United States chose to boycott the Summer Olympics for the first time due to conflict with the USSR.  Soccer is a beloved sport across the world, yet national teams in Spain and Cameroon receive vastly different funding.  Although sports and fashion seem to be about fun and style, they have often reflected and influenced key political, cultural and economic trends throughout the world.  Within this global history course, Sports, Fashion and Politics, we will examine colonialism, the Cold War, and globalization through the lens of sports and fashion, two fascinating but often overlooked areas of social history.  






History – Looking for an Argument

Andy Snyder & Myles Brawer

Should parents ban their kids from Facebook?  Is it okay for deaf parents to refuse surgery to give their deaf child the ability to hear?  Should the NYPD continue its stop and frisk policy? We’ll be looking for an argument about these controversial questions and many more.  In this class, you’ll watch two teachers argue, and then join in yourself. You will analyze the thought-provoking topics from different points of view, taking whatever side of the argument you find most convincing. You will also be encouraged to propose debate topics. You will take notes during every debate, and read and highlight related articles. Every week you will finally make your own argument from evidence in the form of an in-class essay, which will give you the kind of time-limited, pressured writing experiences you can expect to encounter in high school and college. This is a required core class for developing the Habits of Mind of a Harvest Collegiate student and for cultivating the thinking and debate skills to become an active and informed citizen in our society.


History – Violence and Peace

Fayette Colon & Myles Brawer

Conflict is a part of life, yet we can respond to conflicts with violence or with peace. What difference does that choice make? Throughout human history, what has driven people to violence--the conditions of society or something in human nature? What are the ingredients that promote peace?  In this class, we will be looking at these questions as they relate to our lives and in historical case studies. After exploring the origins of violence, we will study various tactics to “wage peace” against colonial empires including the tactics of Mahatma Gandhi in India and Nelson Mandela in South Africa under apartheid. We will specifically evaluate the effectiveness of non-violence in solving conflict. Finally you will conduct your own research on a person or historical event and evaluate whether or not the strategy employed to solve conflict was effective.


History – It’s Complicated

Steve Lazar

This is not your traditional global history course.  In this course, we start with today.  The class will pick a significant event or situation currently going on in the world.  We'll ask lots of questions about it, the most important of which will be, "How Did We Get Here?" The answer is usually, "well, it's complicated..." We'll see how we can use the tools of historian - with likely guest appearances by the economist, sociologist, and geographer - to make sense of the situation.  We'll then begin gathering evidence and evaluating sources to help us answer our questions.  Finally, we'll communicate and critique our conclusions, before deciding on some informed action to take in response to the situation.  We'll complete this cycle a couple time as a class, then you'll have the chance to dive into the process on your own or in a small group.  This is a great class for students interested in understanding how history affects the world we live in, for those wanting to get better at research, and for those students who might still need to do some more work on the History Gateway.  

Math – Geometry TODAY

Laura Mourino

This course is designed to develop geometric skills by carefully observing various current art forms including computer animation designs, and making real-world geometry connections. Students will appreciate how geometry influences their daily lives through advertisement and the use of multi-media products, including PhotoShop and "apps". Students will also observe how geometry has influenced the historical relevance of various global architectural designs and understand how that relationship extends into the future. 


Math - Re-membering Geometry – A Journey Through the History of Geometric Thought and Geometric Thinkers

John McCrann & Cynthia Douglas

Students in this course will explore not only the “what” of geometric concepts (definitions, skills, understandings) but “why” and “who” lies behind them.  Too often we are asked to think about mathematics as abstract and separate from the rest of our lives, and a goal of this course is to re-member mathematics - to place back into the discipline those members of our global society who have contributed to its development.  While analyzing the big questions that lead humans to engage in quantitative and logical reasoning, we will engage with the perspective of fellow mathematicians from early Mesopotamia to our own class.  Throughout this journey, we will each clarify and critique our own intuition and the problem solving process that comes most naturally to us.  


Math – Algebraic Analysis

Laura Mourino

Students will employ Algebra II to analyze various socio-economic issues, including life expectancy, trends in incarceration rates, poverty, and educational attainment while highlighting gender, racial and inter-generational disparities. This class culminates with an extensive quantitative and qualitative analysis on a topic chosen by the student.


Math – Integrated Algebra

Monifa Kelsey & Cynthia Douglas

Algebra is essentially the study of numbers and patterns. Our class will provide a visually stimulating and pragmatic approach to mathematics. We will investigate both concrete and abstract concepts as students look to develop mastery through class work, home-work, projects, and presentations. They will be able to use algebraic skills in a variety of problem-solving situations. The appropriate use of technology will be incorporated throughout the course.


Science – Biology: Evolution & Diversity

Pamela Hallsson & Julissa Llosa / Angelo Garcia

It may come as a surprise, but the genetic ingredients that assemble you are strikingly similar to those that assemble a fly. So why do you and a fly look so different as adults? The answer lies in where, how, and for how long those ingredients "turn on" during your development.  The intricacies of this early stage of life are now being revealed thanks to the new field of evolutionary development. We will be studying what makes you one of a kind and how those unique characteristics protect us all. We will look at how the diversity and history of life has evolved and examine our place in it. We will consider the influence of human societies on biodiversity. Is there a biodiversity crisis? What are the major threats to biodiversity? We will also ask what value humanity draws from biodiversity, or, in other words, why should we care about biodiversity?


Science - Engineering

Paul-Michael Huseman & Julissa Llosa / Pamela Hallsson

A river needs to be crossed. A building needs to withstand the devastating impact of an earthquake. A village is crippled by poverty and waste. In each situation, engineers work to address these problems by designing solutions. Using the design process, engineers first establish the criteria that their solution must meet and the constraints that will impose restrictions on the design. After brainstorming possible solutions, an approach or idea is chosen and the engineer works to prototype, test, and revise. In this course, you will use the engineering design process to study real-world problems, develop solutions, and demonstrate your understandings using physical models, virtual models, and presentations.


Music – Choir

Marc Beja

All members of this class will form a choir that collaborates as an ensemble to produce a beautiful, healthy sound while singing a range of vocal texts – including folk, classical and pop repertoire. Choir members will learn to interpret Western musical notation to sing familiar and unfamiliar melodies and harmonies, and to analyze a song’s message and form. The choir and its individual members will be invited and encouraged to perform on several occasions throughout the semester during our rehearsal process and in concert at the conclusion of the semester.


Music – Piano

Marc Beja

In this class, each student will learn to play a wide range of popular music from the last century on the keyboard. Through this repertoire, students will learn about building and playing major and minor chords and widely-used chord progressions and gain an introduction to reading notes on the musical staff. Student musicians will also research the songs they are playing and the composers and performers who made them popular.


Music – Intermediate Piano

Marc Beja

Pianists with previous experience will learn to read and perform music from Beethoven to Alicia Keys as soloists and as a group. The selection of repertoire will be based on prior musical experiences and motivation to rehearse both familiar and unfamiliar songs. Musicians will learn to read notes on the musical staff as well as chord symbols, and to analyze a song’s form.

All pianists will be invited and encouraged to perform on several occasions throughout the semester as they rehearse and in performances at the conclusion of the semester.










Music – Concert Band

Amy Yamashiro

All members of this class will work together to create an ensemble that will produce a cohesive, healthy sound—from flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, trumpet, or trombone—while performing musical works from a variety of genres. Band members are expected to learn to interpret Western musical notation on their individual instruments and will use their individual musical voices to contribute to the community's (ensemble) sound. The Concert Band will be invited to perform a concert at the end of the semester.


Music – Beginning Guitar

Amy Yamashiro

Members of this class will learn the basics of guitar playing - strumming, picking, and reading tabs - to play a wide range of popular music, from classic rock to video game music. Students will use their basic musical knowledge to create a song of their very own, to be performed and recorded in class at the end of the semester.


Music – Intermediate Guitar

Amy Yamashiro

Guitarists with previous experience will learn to read classical musical notation, as well as more complicated tabs, to perform as soloists and small ensembles. The repertoire will be chosen based on individual musical ability. All students will be invited to perform in a concert at the end of the semester, and will be encouraged to take part in the 2014 NYSSMA festival.


Music – World Percussion

Ibrahima Camara, 3rd Street

You got the beat? You got the beat! Learn to play the powerful West African djembe drum and feel—actually—all the rhythms you can make with it, and other instruments in the percussion family: toms, snare drum and bass. Percussion becomes one of the most powerful forces in the school as you learn to incarnate the cultures of the world through rhythm.


Phys Ed – Fundamentals of Dance

Shirlene Blake

This course will engage students in the fundamentals of dance and an appreciation of dance as a physical activity, art form, and lifetime activity. Students will participate in a daily dance warm-up and utilize a combination of movements that will build cardiovascular and muscle endurance, muscle strength and overall flexibility. We will explore a range of dance styles from Ballet, Modern Dance, Social Dance, Jazz, Theatre Dance and Improvisation.


Phys Ed – Fitness: Time to get FITT!

Randy Tejada

The FITT formula was developed to help students determine how often, how hard, how long, and what kinds of activities they should perform to build health and fitness. FITT is an acronym: Frequency: How many times per week; Intensity: How hard you exercise (heart rate max); Time: How long you perform the activity; Type: What kind of activity is performed. By means of exercise packets, group work, and fitness challenges, students will learn the steps of FITT and use it to combat today’s media, which emphasizes the need for outward appearance over health and wellness.

Urban Ecology - Beyond Mannahatta




Have you ever wondered what New York was like before it was a city? Find out in this section of Urban Ecology, where we will be navigating through our modern day metropolis with a map of the city in 1609. Manahatta was the Lenape name for the island before it had any buildings or concrete on it. You can find your block, explore the native landscape of today’s famous landmarks, research the plants and animals block by block, and help our team continue to rediscover 1609.


Urban Ecology - Hip Hop: 5 Elements from the 5 Boroughs




In the span of just a few decades hip hop (the music, art, fashion, and attitude) has gone from a tiny movement in New York’s outer boroughs to a worldwide phenomenon.  In this Urban Ecology course we will explore hip hop as a means of both understanding the history and culture of our city and as an avenue through which we can answer the questions: Who am I? and Who can I become?  Students in this course will write and produce their own hip hop songs using garage band


Urban Ecology - Tag it NYC: Public Art in the City




Is it a crime or art? Banksy, a British artist caused a controversy when he stenciled an image of a little boy grabbing a can of spray paint from a sign that read “Graffiti is a Crime” on a building wall in New York City. Graffiti is often seen as a form of vandalism, however, artists like Bansky have an underlying political and social message and use art as a way to create discourse with the community about these issues. In this course we will be exploring different forms of public art to explore how art is used as a medium for social change. On each visit we will be creating our own works of art that we will use to create a mural for the school community.


Urban Ecology - New York Stories




Learn about New York through the stories of people past and present who were born here, came here, thrived here, and died here. Through these people we will explore the immigrant experience, issues of inequality and poverty, urban politics and finance. We will learn about people who helped to shape the city as we know it and powerful urban tales told by famous urban writers in order to explore multiple urban and human issues. We will visit some of the places these stories take place in and visit various museums to learn more about the stories that shaped New York. In the second half of the course you will get to tell a New York Story, film parts of it on location, and finally produce a short film and short written piece that will give us insight into the multifaceted urban issues of New York City.



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