English is integrated into the Block Class every morning for 9th and 10th graders. The vocabulary, the grammar, the essays—it all stems from the material of the current block class. It is treated as the vehicle of learning rather than a separate subject.
By infusing the English curriculum into the Block Classes, standards are made consistent across subjects and disciplines. This approach, unique to High Mowing, is aimed at building skills and developing instincts. Juniors and seniors experience more traditional English track classes, as well as English Block classes.
The required track classes turn the focus of the upperclassmen from learning the language to using it: in English 11 they dissect classic literature, and in English 12 they write their Senior Thesis. The elective track classes offer opportunities to explore a variety of great novels by American authors, to explore the imaginary in Science Fiction and to communicate the imagination in Creative Writing.
The English block classes take the students to times and perspectives that only literature can provide. The sophomores search for home with Odysseus. The juniors follow Dante on his journey through the Inferno and search for the Holy Grail with Parzival. The seniors make difficult choices with Faust and discover themselves—and their relationship to the world—with the Transcendentalists.
Each grade performs a play every year, and each drama block brings to life the language that the students study and use every day. Through these theatrical productions the students live Tragedy and Comedy, works of World Theater, and the timeless stories of Shakespeare. Each spring students are also able to take part in a musical production. In recent years, High Mowing students have performed Les Miserables, Finian’s Rainbow, Bye Bye Birdie, the Pirates of Penzance, and more.