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syllabus English 11
ENGLISH 11 at YCHS
SYLLABUS AND POLICIES
Welcome to English 11! Like English 9 and 10, this course is organized conceptually, focusing on the main points of inquiry below
You will use all types of literature, writing, speaking opportunities, and group activities to construct meaning about the questions you are asking and to improve your literacy and communication skills. There is an emphasis junior year on reading non-fiction texts and performing high-quality, academic research. Here are some examples of the questions we explore this year:
1st Semester: What are we afraid of?
What is a monster?
How do people create their own monsters?
Why do people invite evil and corruption into their lives?
How do people overcome their personal demons in order to achieve their dreams?
What do monster stories teach us?
What rules are appropriate in dealing with monsters?
How can our fears affect the lives of others and ourselves?
2nd Semester: What are our hopes?
What drives the formation of hopes?
What is our
hope of a role in America's future
What methods produce effective hope achievement?
What is success?
How do we wisely choose and pursue
our dreams and goals?
Can money buy happiness?
What responsibilities does one have for making one's dreams real?
What am I going to do with my life?
What is it going to take to get there?
How do I know this is a healthy goal for my life?
Make sure you have purchased the following texts from the bookstore:
Frankenstein, Dr. Jekkyl and Mr. Hyde, Dracula
, forward by Stephen King
by Arthur Miller
The Color Purple
, by Alice Walker
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
by Ken Kesey
Catcher in the Rye
by J. D. Salinger
In addition to the list above, students will be required to choose two independent reading texts from a specific list that approach the idea of America from different perspectives. One will be non-fiction, one will be fiction. It is the expectation that students will annotate these books, so notes in library books should be made on sticky notes or a separate sheet of paper.
Additional required texts, including articles, speeches, poems, and short stories, will be provided by the instructor.
Every day, you need to bring with you:
the book we are studying,
(or binder), and
. No excuses!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESIONS
WHAT KINDS OF COURSEWORK CAN I EXPECT?
Each unit is constructed to be unique, focusing on a specific focus question (see above) as well as specific literacy skills. However, each unit typically begins with a pre-reading activity such as a survey or a set of scenarios that allows us to articulate our initial thoughts. Then as students read the assigned text on their own, classroom activities are designed to help students draw insight from the reading and practice the specified reading/writing skills. They express their ideas in a literary analysis. There are typically two reading assessment grades, two graded discussions, and two essays in each unit.
WHAT IS THE WORKLOAD LIKE?
English 11 students should plan to have approximately 20-25 minutes of homework each night. The reading schedules require students to read roughly 15 pages every night. If there is no reading homework assigned, students are expected to be planning for an upcoming discussion or working on an essay.
DO I REALLY HAVE TO READ THE BOOKS?
Yes. And you should read them closely, utilizing reading strategies including annotating, questioning, and making connections to class material. A solid understanding of the texts is crucial to our class discussions, and your ability to succeed on the final unit essay. There will be quizzes and annotation checks to assess how closely and completely students are reading the text and practicing the skills taught in class.
TWO ESSAYS WITH EACH UNIT? REALLY?
Throughout the course of each semester, students will write 4-5 In-Class Essays AND 2-3 out-of-class Process Papers. The In-Class Essays will be written in 1 or 2 class periods and are considered exams. These essays will often be timed essays that mimic the ACT style of writing and will NOT always elicit literary analysis. The Process Papers will be taken through the writing process—drafting, writing, revising, editing, publishing—and will be subject to peer evaluation and in-class workshopping. These essays will require a mandatory rough draft that the students will be expected to revise after receiving comments from the instructor. These rough drafts are an imperative part of the Process Paper and will be counted in the gradebook as a separate assignment.
WHY DO WE WRITE SO MANY PAPERS?
At York, we believe in following Best Practices for instruction. The research suggests that writing is best mastered through recursive practice—in other words, you learn to write by, well, writing! Writing a lot produces a higher level of improvement that journaling assignments, or grammar drills, or even lots of teacher comments. Also, the research suggests that students improve as writers when they are able to effectively evaluate their own work. To this end, the course includes several peer review and self-reflection activities.
WHY ARE THE DISCUSSIONS GRADED?
Active participation in class discussions is necessary to help you better understand the reading and clarify your thoughts before writing them up in an essay. Some people are naturally more comfortable speaking in a class discussion and some people are naturally more reserved. Still, public speaking is a vital skill for
students to practice and master. Presentations, meetings, and discussions are an integral part of many high school and college classes as well as many occupations. English class is where we will evaluate examples of good and bad public speaking and practice these valuable skills.
WHAT ABOUT LATE WORK?
All work is due at the time it is
You are responsible for turning in all assignments complete and on time. No excuses! If you have printing difficulties, email the assignment BEFORE the work is collected as a “time stamp” AND bring a printed copy to be graded as soon as possible. If you are absent on a day that a Process Paper is due, it is still due! You may email it, or have it delivered by a friend or family member. Late work penalties are as follows:
Late work loses 1 letter grade every day it is late. After 5 days, an assignment can only earn 50%.
Rough drafts of Process Papers may still be turned in to receive feedback, but will receive half credit.
BUT WHAT IF I’M ABSENT?
You will be given reading calendars and advance notice of assignment deadlines. You are responsible to keep up with the work and to find out what you missed. Assignments will also be published on the website, including links to documents, planners, and rubrics. The York policy will be enforced, allowing students one day to make up work for each day they were absent. In-Class Essays and quizzes must be made up within one week on the students’ own time (during study hall, lunch, or in the test make-up center).
DO YOU FOLLOW ALL OF THE YORK POLICIES?
Yes. Students will be marked tardy if they are not in the room, on the way to their seat when the bell rings. Students should not eat in class, or leave the room except in the case of an emergency.
ARE THERE ANY CLASSROOM RULES?
As in all classes, you are expected to treat yourselves and others with respect. You have the right and responsibility to make our class and our school safe, clean, and productive. Our classroom rules fall under the golden one:
treat others as you would want to be treated
. We all learn from each other and must be open to listening to other perspectives in order to learn and grow.
WHAT IS THE GRADING POLICY?
Grades are based on
how well you meet the set of criteria laid out for each assignment in relation to your own ability and level of improvement
. Grades are
given as punishment or reward, but rather are meant to be a learning tool to help you gauge your own progress and to encourage you to give each assignment your best effort. Therefore, you’ll receive letter grades on assignments so that the focus is not on accumulating points, but rather on the learning the assignment promotes.
The semester grade is generally comprised of the following category weights:
WHAT ABOUT PAGIARISM AND CHEATING?
Plagiarism will not be tolerated. This includes taking work—or sections of work—from the internet or from another student and passing it off as your own work or your own ideas. Plagiarism can occur on homework assignments as well as essays. It is important that all students do their own work in order to effectively learn the material, in order for the instructor to identify areas where additional instruction is required, and in order for students to become people of character and integrity. Plagiarism is a serious offense and will not be taken lightly.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST…
We all (including me!) have to remember that we are all
My goal is for
of you to become better writers, listeners, speakers, readers, and above all, better THINKERS. Please talk to me about any concerns you may have. I am here to help you succeed! I’m looking forward to a memorable and exciting year. Enjoy it—and good luck!
So…how can I improve my English grade?
Improving your WRITING grades:
Plan your essays thoroughly before beginning to write!
Bring your planning to class one day and ask your instructor to go through it with you and check for structural issues or ask specific questions. It’s easier to fix problems in the planning stage than after you have written an entire paper based on faulty evidence or logic!
Before you write an essay, review your instructor’s notes on your previous essays and our class notes on specific skills. Don’t repeat old mistakes! If you have questions, see Your instructor.
Always review the assignment rubric before and during your preparation.
Set up conferences with your instructor to receive one-on-one instruction tailored to your concerns.
You always have the option to revise Process Papers after they have been returned under the following conditions: 1) you have one week to revise your essay, and 2) you must meet with Your instructor to review your essay first. The goal of this class is to
as writers! Still, the maximum revision grade you can earn is a “B”—this is to encourage you to seek help in advance of submitting an essay and avoid doing poor work in the beginning and planning to revise later.
Improving your READING grades:
READ! Every page, every night.
Annotate key details, especially those related to the plot, characters, and focus questions. With the course textbooks, you should be annotating something on every page, or every other page.
When you don’t understand the reading, bring your specific questions to class the next day and present them for class discussion.
Ask Your instructor for a study guide to help you comprehend the reading and guide you toward the important details.
Utilize online study guides and criticism to help you understand a specific passage that confused you. Remember that sources like Sparknotes are NOT an acceptable substitute for reading, but can be useful aids when used as a supplement to the reading.
Review your annotations the night before a quiz.
Improving your grades in DISCUSSION:
Make sure you plan for the discussion. Usually a planner is offered—complete it! This helps you think of ideas in advance so that you can contribute more easily.
Before the discussion, review your textual annotations to refresh yourself on the evidence that can be brought to the discussion and jot down notes to yourself, or use post-its to mark passages that relate to the main discussion question. This will allow you to be better equipped to contribute on the spot to the discussion, offering evidence even if your prepared ideas have already been contributed. The planned ideas should be an aid, but you are expected to come in with a solid understanding of the text so that you can add information even if you had not prepared it in advance.
If you have trouble asserting yourself in a conversation, talk to your instructor about developing a better system for you. For instance, when you have something to say, you can raise your hand and your instructor will make sure you get a chance to speak.
Prepare ways to contribute to the discussion without planned evidence—think of some questions you could pose to the class, for instance, and ask those to help further the conversation.
Listen closely and be willing to challenge the ideas your peers present. This is a great way to add to the discussion! As someone presents evidence, locate the passage in your book and recall your personal interpretations in order to challenge the ideas you are hearing.
You may want to review your notes with a parent or friend in order to help you talk out her ideas in advance. Your instructor is always happy to meet with you as well. Just ask!
DON’T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT!
Here are some words of wisdom from former English 11 students to encourage you and ensure that you have a successful year:
Talk in discussions. Even if you’re nervous, it’s really not that bad. You’ll get support.
Actually READ all the books in depth and annotate deeply.
Don’t skim the books! Sparknotes won’t prepare you for the reading quizzes.
Be prepared for class every day. Do the homework.
Don’t take the work too lightly. Put effort into each assignment. There aren’t that many!
I have read and understand the English 11 Course Syllabus.
Please sign and return.
A digital copy of this syllabus in its entirety can be accessed on the class SchooLoop webpage.
Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205
Student Blog / Wiki Contract
Class: English 11
Students are expected to treat blogs and wikis as classroom spaces. Speech that is inappropriate for class is not appropriate for blogs and/or wikis.
To participate in a classroom blog or wiki, students must agree to the following.
I will not post any identifiable or personal information about myself or others.
I am responsible for anything posted under my login.
I will use my best writing and correct spelling since my work is being published and shared with others.
I will stay on topic as directed by my teacher.
I will be respectful to all using constructive criticism when appropriate.
I will not copy the work of other authors and claim it as my own.
I will use only images, video, and audio that are not copyrighted or that I have obtained permission to use by the rightful copyright owner.
I will thoroughly check any site I link to in order to ensure the site’s content is accurate and appropriate (no foul language, adult content, inappropriate violence or humor, etc.).
I recognize that breaking any of these rules could lead to any of the following
consequences depending on the severity and repetition: warning, deletion of post, temporary loss of online privileges, permanent loss of online privileges, or other disciplinary action in accordance with District Policy.
I further recognize that online activities are considered a virtual extension of our classroom, and therefore, all Rules and Regulations of my classroom, school, Technology Use Guidelines, District Policy, and local, state, and federal laws apply. I am aware that violation of any of these rules may be referred to District 205 Administration.
Student Signature: _ Date:
Information and Permission Form:
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Film Adaptation
As teachers of juniors and seniors, we recognize our responsibility to our students to provide elements of transition between their high school and college experiences. We need to prepare our students to deal with college level expectations and with more adult learning materials.
Increasingly, colleges are integrating film as a significant element of class curriculum. Please find below the description of one film rated “R” by the MPAA. We will use clips of this film as we read the novel of the same name this year. Although this film was selected thoughtfully, it is virtually impossible for us as instructors to anticipate a student’s sensitivity to certain topics or visuals. Thus we are requesting your input as we have already requested your student’s input. We anticipate that this film will contribute effectively to curricular themes. But we also understand that there are those situations where student sensitivity might be an issue. Please review the film’s description and related information. If you should have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me and we can discuss alternatives.
Thank you for taking the time to review this information,
Mr. Andrew Bendelow (firstname.lastname@example.org)
After reviewing this information,
I give permission
for my student’s participation in classroom viewing and study.
After reviewing this information, I would request that
view the film
with the rest of the class.
One Flew over the Cukoo’s Nest
(1975) Director: Milos Forman
Randle Patrick McMurphy (Nicholson), a criminal who has been sentenced to a fairly short prison term, decides to have himself declared insane so he'll be transferred to a mental institution, where he expects to serve the rest of his term in (comparative) comfort and luxury. During his time in the ward, McMurphy become more and more at odds with Nurse Rachet who has bullied the other patients into fearful submission. After McMurphy sees what the ward has done to his new friends, he explodes into a violent rage, strangling Nurse Ratched until she is near death. She survives, but McMurphy is taken away for punishment—a lobotomy operation…
Rated “R” for
language, violence, sexual content, and brief nudity.
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