Students take fiction during the fall and switch to screenwriting in the spring. They work on the OSA Telegraph year round.
In this year-long course we will explore fiction and screenwriting. Through lecture, discussion, film clips, and writing activities, we will explore what these forms of writing have in common, and the specific elements and approaches that make each so unique.
Journalism: The OSA Telegraph (syllabus)
In addition, students work on the publication of The Telegraph,
and learn the tenets of a variety of journalistic forms—from traditional AP Style news reporting, to opinion, advice, and review writing; to feature writing and everything in between—through the reading of contemporary texts and examples. They will learn the basics of interviewing and write articles every month.
Writing from Mythology (elective) (syllabus)
People have been telling stories to make sense of their surroundings, communities, fears, and boundaries for as long as we have occupied this planet. And while science has shed light on certain mysteries of old myths, humans are still hungry for narratives to explain, or defend, their experience in this world. In this class, we will be reading and discussing myths from a variety of origins and cultures, examining their roots and overlap, and retelling them in a variety of forms: poetry, personal essay, fiction, and oral storytelling—and more. You will write on a weekly basis, resulting in your own collection of mythology-inspired works by the end of the semester. You will also be responsible for presenting a mythology to the class at some point in the semester. More info on that soon! This class is intended to be fun, so please show up reading to learn and create!
High School Classes
Workshops are taught in rotation every semester. In the fall, students choose between Poetry or Fiction. In the spring, between Creative Nonfiction and Screenwriting. Otherwise, Telegraph and Senior Books are offered throughout the year. In addition, students may choose from an elective on Wednesdays. These are subject to change from semester to semester
This class is intended to prepare you to confidently read, write, and discuss poetry. Quarter 1 will focus on the basics, from form and language, to sound, and the line (and everyone’s favorite, enjambment!). Quarter 2 we will take the foundations you learned in Q1 and get a little weird with them! Aside from you all taking the reins of our daily poetry warm-up, we will broaden our scope of poets, and try a lot of new things. The best kind of poetry takes risks with strangeness and trusts its reader to make those jumps, too. The semester will include two rounds of workshops, and conclude with students compiling the best of their work into a chapbook, as well as a presentation of a poet of interest at some point during the semester.
Writers are always telling each other to show, don’t tell. More than show in our writing, the aim of this class is to do with our writing. We’ll learn to do unto readers what happens in the hearts and minds of our characters. We will study techniques that authors like Jane Austen, James Joyce, Jhumpa Lahiri, Toni Morrison, and Alice Munro have used to make readers feel surprise/suddenness, confusion, and recognition that mirrors that of their protagonists. Students will generate their own techniques to enact sensations and meanings and will write a fully-developed story that receives a full class period of workshop time.
Creative non-fiction can be described as “true stories well told.” In this class, we will be exploring the many facets of creative nonfiction through the study of contemporary essays, memoirs, podcasts, and interviews. Together, we will explore all this “genre” can do, personally, formally, and narratively. We will be using many of the same writing techniques that make our fiction, poetry, and journalism strong, but wielding them with the restraint of truth of experience. We will read a lot, and often, looking to a diverse variety of contemporary essayists and writers for examples of style, story structure, and voice.
In this course, we will be exploring the craft and profession of screenwriting. Through film clips, readings, discussions, research, and thematic exercises and projects, we will study and practice the particularities of cinematic structure, genre, the process of adapting work to film, and avenues for experimenting with the medium itself. Together, we will explore all the possibilities of this unique method of storytelling, and develop ways for working within and outside of its confines.
Senior Books is a yearlong course for Literary Arts Seniors that is the culminating experience of their time in Lit Arts. Each student will create and publish a book and will work independently (with faculty support) to make this happen. Students choose their project (full-length novel, novella, poetry chapbook, essay collection, screenplay, mixed genre collection, etc.) as well as the design, front and back cover, book size, etc.
Journalism: The OSA Telegraph (syllabus)
Students will be exposed to basic journalistic concepts, and will become familiar with online publishing methods and tools. Along from the publication of The Telegraph,
students will learn the tenets of a variety of journalistic forms—from traditional AP Style news reporting, to opinion, advice, and review writing; to feature writing and everything in between—through the reading of contemporary texts and examples.
All good writing involves sensory details. It’s what makes your work feel real and believable, and it’s what connects it to the lived experiences of your readers. In this course we will be using the five senses as our guides. Through discussions, writing exercises, sensory investigations, and a diverse array of readings, we’ll explore the specifics of sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch/feel, and how each can inspire and enliven our writing.
This class is a place to study queer writers, and learn from their work, experience, and perspective as we continue to grow as writers with our own unique, diverse experience. Some of the authors that we will study in class will be familiar to you. Some will be new. Some will write directly about their sexuality, about coming out, about what it means for them to be queer. Some will queer the very form of their genre. Some won’t. Some will write about their identity as a daughter or an immigrant, or about characters in worlds unknown. The point here is that queer writers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and this class is merely here to create space for a sample of those forms, as well for our collective class digestion, discussion, and creative response.