Junior Language Arts, Alaska Studies

Homeroom: Room D13
Phone: (907) 742-7089


Room D13 houses two subject areas: Alaska Studies and language arts.

Alaska Studies

Alaska Studies is one of four mandated graduation requirements for Alaska high schools. As such, it is an opportunity to investigate what makes our state so unique, to address our complex history from multiple perspectives, and to study controversial issue and policies that excite discussion and inquiry.

To motivate learning in this course, we use a mixture of Socratic Seminar, debate, student-led presentations, field trips, guest speakers, documentaries, and provocative texts. Students are encouraged to pay regular visits to the Anchorage Daily News website ( and other media outlets for statewide current events.

We glean the richest lesson plans from both the Anchorage School Districts curriculum as well as that of the Alaska Humanities Forum.

We are constantly seeking ways to make this course more enticing for teenagers and we welcome your suggestions. If you are a parent/guardian and able to chaperone field trips, please contact the instructor.

Language Arts

This is a student-centered course designed principally for juniors. Understanding that the language arts involve the four domains of reading/listening/writing/talking, we employ a diverse assortment of teaching strategies to make this course mentally stimulated. This course utilizes two essential programs: Writers Workshop and Readers Workshop. Through these vehicles, students both expore and create literature.

This course follows a belief in research that "contexts rich in talk, what we term dialogic classroom discourse (open discussion, use of authentic questions, and uptake), promote more learning, particularly more learning in greater depth, than the usual monologic patterns of recitation, lecture, and seatwork" (Nystrand 1999, quoted in Burke, Jim, 2003 The English Teacher's Companion).

All courses foster a goal of a beloved classroom community in which students feel safe to speak and take intellectual risks.