Skip to main content




available in

Room 303
come browse and take a few home!


Every time you READ something,
          think about how it affects you.
Every time you WRITE something,
          think about how it will affect others.

Good Writers...

plan before writing
create a first draft
revise and edit

Narrative Plot Line

     introduce characters & setting
Rising Action
     plot points that develop the conflict
   point of highest physical/emotional drama
Falling Action
     events after the climax, things slow down
     answers to the climax, the ending

Keys To Understanding Literature

WHO (characters)
WHAT (conflict)
WHEN (setting: place)
WHERE (setting: time)
WHY (motivation)


The English and Language Arts Department


Paterson Public School District has created a curriculum calendar for the Language Arts Department (better known as “English”). While the school year is broken up into 4 Marking Period quarters, instruction is divided into 4 Units. Some of these Units are based on instructional models from IFL (Institute For Learning, Pennsylvania).


9th & 10th Grade

Students read short stories and full-length novels while learning the basic elements of narration such as plot, character, setting, motivation, irony, point of view, and theme.  Their final product is a story of their own creation.  

They will read informative non-fiction articles and stories that bring perspective to the world around us and will learn how to make connections between the texts and their lives and to history, science, politics and current events. They will then write an Observational Essay in which they will highlight their ability to make those connections.

Rather than connecting to or explaining an informational text, students will learn to decipher the persuasive arguments and supporting claims made by the authors. The unit is based on the research into the Ebola virus and the global affects and repercussions the virus continues to perpetuate. Finally, students will summarize the facts by writing their own argumentative essay delineating what they believe are the most valid and supported arguments and claims.

Analysis of Theme is another IFL supplied unit that is based on encouraging students to enrich their reading comprehension, and enjoyment, of reading materials. By developing a deeper understanding of the meaning of text and the author’s message, students are able to expand their connections to the text and to take-away a more meaningful lesson. They will use advanced skills such as inference, determining main idea and supporting details, and using evidence from the text to support their responses to the text. In this unit students will focus their writing efforts on properly answering open-ended questions using the R.A.C.E. (Restate, Answer, Cite, Expand) method of writing.

Finally there is a review and remediation unit where students can focus on sharpening the skills they have learned throughout the year and become skilled at applying their knowledge of how to read and understand texts with the various types of writing skills they have mastered to create a knowledge base to be used outside of the English classroom. Their ability to decipher whatever type of text they are reading, recognize the meaning of the text, and then formulate a clear concise response to the text will help them succeed in all of their other classes as well.

11th & 12th Grade

Eleventh/Twelfth grade English consists of reading, writing, speaking, listening and media literacy skills. During the block of literacy instruction students will learn to use reading strategies that help them become effective readers. Some of these strategies include questioning the author, inferring, visualizing, synthesizing and learning multiple strategies to help students learn to monitor their reading comprehension.

The curriculum is designed around universal themes and essential questions to promote literary analysis of reading, incorporation of textual evidence when writing and to encourage students to engage in deep meaningful discussions to socialize intelligence. The students are exposed to multiple genres of reading and writing such as fiction, non-fiction, short stories, essays, novels, drama and poetry. Students will compose narrative, informational, expository, persuasive, argumentative, and other pieces of writing required by the teacher.

The workshop model is employed so that all students can improve their skills and voice as writers. Teachers will instruct students using the workshop model philosophy with the use of the "I DO, WE DO, YOU DO" method of instruction. Other skills such as grammar, vocabulary, listening and speaking are infused in the exploration of effective reading and writing. The 11th grade English Language Arts course and instruction will lay the foundation for successful achievement in English.

The Common Core State Standards are designed to provide a clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young learners need for success in college and careers.

It is our goal to establish a community of learners to become productive citizens in society striving towards pursuing their life-long goals. Through an enriching and rigorous education and with on-going support our students will be fully prepared for the future and to compete successfully in the global economy.


About the Teachers

Ms. DeBell:  Ms. DeBell is a graduate of William Paterson University (Wayne, NJ) with a Certification in English K-12. After graduating from Ramapo College of NJ (Mahwah, NJ) with a double major in Communications and Literature, Ms. DeBell spent the next 20 years as an Advertising and Marketing specialist in various companies in northern New Jersey. Searching for a more fulfilling career, Ms. DeBell returned to school and in 2010 received her Teaching Certification in English K-12 from William Paterson University (Wayne, NJ). Her student teaching experiences were in Paterson at the Alexander Hamilton Elementary School (teaching grade 8) and in Midland Park at the Midland Park High School (teaching grade 10). She joined Great Falls Academy in 2010 and continues to concentrate on teaching 9th and 10th grade Language Arts classes with a Special Education inclusion teacher, Ms. Iannelli and in-class support from an Instructional Assistant. Ms. DeBell also teaches summer school credit recovery in English, school-year credit recovery, has taught HSPA/ASHA prep classes for the academies. She plans to begin work on her Masters and Principal’s License next year. In her personal life, Ms. DeBell enjoys reading, visiting the Jersey Shore and spending time with her two teenage daughters. 



Ms. Iannelli:  Ms. Iannelli is dually certified as a Teacher of Students with Disabilities and English. She is a graduate of New York University (B.A. Journalism) and William Paterson University (M.Ed Special Education).  Before becoming a teacher, Ms. Iannelli had a varied career in business.  She was a writer and editor for several northern New Jersey newspapers, national trade publications, and a student division of Esquire magazine.  Combining her writing talent and logistical skills with her love of travel lead Ms. Iannelli to a project manager position for a medical meetings company.  Ms. Iannelli travelled to four continents planning international meetings and events for major pharmaceutical companies.  In 1987, Ms. Iannelli started her own  meeting and event planning company which she operated for 17 years until making a mid-life career change to teaching.  As part of the transition, Ms. Iannelli pursued her certification in Special Education during an 18-month endorsement program at William Paterson University.    She completed her practicum experience at Eastside High School and taught in a private school for one year before working in the Paterson Public School District.  She began at Great Falls Academy in 2011.  Ms. Iannelli frequently writes curriculum and unit tests for the district. In the past she has taught HSAP Prep courses after-school and on Saturdays, and she has taught Credit Recovery.  In her spare time, Ms. Iannelli enjoys spending time with family and friends; reading; watching movies; and travelling.


Books We Read

House on Mango Street
Freak the Mighty
Excerpts from Black Boy
Bluford High Series