Vice and Virtue

Vice and Virtue Class

Learning Objectives and Syllabus, 2018–2019

Reading, Vocabulary and Literary Studies

In addition to their independent reading, students will be assigned smaller reading passages every week with vocabulary and literary terms to study and memorize as well as vocabulary exercises and reading comprehension questions to complete. Students will take notes on and study the biographies of the authors and if appropriate, the period and genre of the written works. The reading selections, arranged thematically, will acquaint students with classic authors. Authors include the following (list not all-inclusive).

  1. Aesop

  2. William Bradford

  3. John Bunyan

  4. George Gordon Byron

  5. Russell Conwell

  6. William Cowper

  7. Guy de Maupassant

  8. Charles Dickens

  9. Benjamin Franklin

  10. Sarah Orne Jewett

  11. Jean Lang

  12. Rudyard Kipling

  13. Christina Rossetti

  14. William Shakespeare (adapted for children)

  15. Robert Southey

  16. Hudson Taylor

  17. Leo Tolstoy

  18. Anthony Trollope

  19. Booker T. Washington

  20. William Wordsworth

  21. Xenophon

Students will learn vocabulary found in the passages and complete the exercises that follow.  The study guide instruction includes introductory passages that discuss the etymology of certain words on the word list. The exercises, designed to help students understand the nuances of words, help enable students to to use them in context. Students will complete the following exercise types:

  1. analogies

  2. synonyms and antonyms

  3. context suggestions

  4. fill-in-the-blank

Students will study literary terms and apply them not only to the story read but also to other works of literature. Students will be tested on the literary terms at the end of the year. Literary terms include

  1. literal and figurative language; figures of speech; metaphors

  2. apostrophe (rhetorical device not the punctuation)

  3. climax and anticlimax

  4. tragedy

  5. hubris

  6. Romanticism and the Lake District Poets

  7. epistolary novels

  8. eponyms

  9. journals, memoirs and travelogs

  10. allegory

  11. propaganda

  12. morality play

  13. local color

  14. idioms and expressions

  15. apologetics

  16. exhortative speech

  17. puns

  18. allusions

  19. imagery

  20. symbol and type;

  21. satire

  22. Neoclassical Period

  23. onomatopoeia

  24. lyric

  25. ballad

  26. plot and theme

  27. anecdote

  28. protagonist, antagonist, and conflict

  29. situational and dramatic irony

  30. dialogue

  31. foil character

Book Reports

Students will be assigned three books to read during the year, which are as follows:

Hans Christian Andersen, Fairy Tales.

Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House on the Prairie.

Oscar Wilde, The Happy Prince and Other Tales.

For two of the assigned books, the reports will be written, not oral. The book report format sheet is found online and can be downloaded. For the third assigned book, students will present an oral report; the directions of this report will be given in class. If students have read the above books, or they prove too challenging, any of the following books may be substituted:

Jules Verne, Around the World in Eighty Days.

Arthur Ransome, Swallows and Amazons.

C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Elizabeth George Speare, Sign of the Beaver.

E. B. White, Charlotte’s Webb.

Eleanor Estes, The Hundred Dresses.

J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit.

E. B. White, Stuart Little.

Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House in the Big Woods.

Diane Stanley, The Man Who Had Great Expectations: A Biography of Charles Dickens.

Writing Assignments

In addition to the three book reports, students will complete seven essays of different length for the year. The essays and their due dates will be listed on the syllabus.

  1. Narrative Essay

  2. Descriptive essay

  3. Short Story writing

  4. Comparison Essay

  5. Persuasive Essay

In preparation for these written assignments, students will do the following:

  1. read models for imitation

  2. learn the format of the particular essay and its practical importance for readers

  3. learn how to develop a paragraph with a main idea and supporting detail

  4. learn the importance of detail, dialog and description, especially in narrative writing

  5. learn the importance of creating a natural style that comes from close observation and imitation of great past writers

  6. begin to develop their “voice”

  7. learn to omit needless detail and words

  8. learn the importance of neatness, carefulness, proofreading, and following grammar and usage conventions

Poetry, Poetry Memorization and Poetics

Students will write at least one poem during the school year with meter, stress and rhyme. Students will be memorizing a stanza of poetry and a quotation every week, and recite a poem at the end of the school year in front of an audience.  In addition to selected poetry chosen by the teacher for the particular year, students will memorize the following:

  1. Christina Rossetti, “Consider”

  2. William Cowper, “The Lord My Banner”

  3. Isaac Watts, “Praise to Our Creator”

  4. Robert Frost, “The Pasture”

  5. Alfred Tennyson, “The Eagle”

  6. John Greenleaf Whittier, “The Barefoot Boy”

  7. William Wordsworth, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”

Students will also complete a chapter in poetics (found in the grammar and poetics textbook) every week. Students will learn the following terms, concepts and skills:

  1. what constitutes a poem: its language and form

  2. figurative and literal language

  3. rhetorical and poetic devices, such as irony and oxymoron

  4. the music in poetry, including its rhythm (meter) stress pattern. Students will learn the names of the various metrical patterns, including monometer, dimeter, tetrameter, pentameter, etc. as well as the stress patterns, including iambic, trochaic, spondaic, anapestic and dactylic.

  5. scansion

  6. catalectic and acatalectic

  7. stanza forms, such as ballad stanzas, sonnets, quatrains, tercets, octaves, etc.

  8. the various kinds of perfect and imperfect rhyme, such as end rhyme, internal rhyme, caesura rhyme leonine rhyme, masculine and feminine rhyme, eye rhyme, assonance, consonance, and identity

  9. setting poetry to music

  10. kinds of poetry, such as epic poetry, lyric, odes, ballads, etc.

  11. enjambment and end stop

  12. the various themes and topics of poetry

  13. the periods of poetry, such as Romanticism, Neoclassical , Victorian, etc.


A lesson in grammar will be assigned every week. The grammar lessons are found in the grammar and poetics textbook. Students will learn the following terms and concepts:

  1. definition of a sentence

  2. subjects and predicates; simple subjects and verbs

  3. the parts of speech

  4. verbs: helping verbs and main verbs; regular and irregular verbs; voice; mood

  5. usage and punctuation: subject-verb agreement, noun agreement, pronoun agreement, punctuation with quotations, commas, apostrophes, capitals, titles, end marks, semicolons, colons.


A lesson in spelling (found on the web site) will be assigned every week. Students will be quizzed on the spelling words every week in a quiz, spelling bee or dictation. Students will review the phonics lessons of previous years, including

  1. the short and long vowels

  2. the sounds of letter combinations: er, ow (as in cow), ea (as in bead), ou, ew, oi, ai, ee, y, ar, or, aw, oa, igh, ir, ay, oo (as in book), ow (as in snow), al, oy, ind, soft c, old, ea (as in bread), ough, oo (as in root), le, mb, kn, wr, tion, wh, ies, ss, age, cious, tch, tr, dr, dge, or, ph, qu, silent t, ture, ur, soft g (as in giant), oar, ey, silent h, ous, ue

  3. commonly misspelled words

  4. homophones

  5. contractions

Note-taking, Outlining, Organization and Neatness

Students will have weekly lessons on note-taking. The lessons will involve taking down notes on lectures about grammar, literature and literary devices, poets, poetry and poetics. The practice of note-taking will instruct the students on

  1. taking responsibility for their belongings

  2. organizing their thoughts

  3. carefulness and neatness

  4. quick and legible handwriting.

The students will be graded on each of the above areas mentioned.


Students will continue to develop their cursive italic handwriting through workbook activity as well as through dictation, note-taking, and essay writing. Students will focus on

  1. posture and handling their pencil when writing

  2. the form of the letters and the letter “families”

  3. speed, neatness and legibility

  4. spacing

  5. parallel lines

  6. size of letters