International Baccalaureate English A1 Parent Letter
Ms. Meghan Hoff 2009-2010
Hyde Park Academy High School
Dear Parent or Guardian,
The major focus of Part I and IV English A1 this year will be to improve writing and analytical skills. As
the texts become more sophisticated, student writing also becomes more difficult. The more
sophisticated the idea the more difficult the articulation. I will provide each student with a clear
understanding of their individual writing strengths and weaknesses by the end of the first marking
period. At that point, students will decide upon a strategy for improvement. I will continue to monitor
the student’s progress through their journals and in-class writings. It is essential for students to find
their own “voice” for writing, and that they become aware of their own writing style. Only through such
awareness can true progress be made.
Reading quizzes on the literary texts will occur randomly in class; “quote quizzes” test a student’s ability
to remember abundant detail regarding characterization and plot. The authors’ writing styles will be
explored in journal assignments. The timeliness of these assignments is crucial because we discuss in
class each of the journal assignments. Late work will not be accepted. Students’ work should be their
own responses to the texts. Plagiarism will not be tolerated.
During the first semester we will be working on orally presenting analyses of literature. Students will be
reading The Alchemist, The Dubliners, Love in the Time of Cholera, and Orlando. Students will give an
oral presentation at the end of the semester on one or more of these texts. This grade will impact heir
final grade for semester one and 15% of the English portion of the IB Diploma grade. Second semester,
we will be learning to write about translated texts, specifically dramas. Students will study the following
dramas: Blood Wedding, Medea, and Doll’s House. At the end of second semester students will turn in IB
World Literature Assignments 1 and 2 in which they will show their ability to analyze authors’ styles in a
written project to be assessed by IB examiners from around the world. These Assignments are worth
20% of the English portion of the IB Diploma grade. All of the texts are required and approved by the
International Baccalaureate curriculum for Hyde Park and must be studied to earn credit for the course.
Finally, the juniors will write the rough drafts for their Extended Essay research papers for the IB
diploma in the second semester. This project is intended to assess their ability to find a suitable topic
and perform college level research independently. We will begin the project in October and work
continually on it throughout the year. The Extended Essay is a requirement for my class as well as the IB
diploma. Students will revise and finish their essays senior year.
This is a very important year for the IB program and students can expect approximately three hours of
homework (total of all subjects) per evening. Please feel free to call or email me about any questions
you have during the year. Your student’s grades are available for you to view on the Parent Portal at
anytime, and I personally update grades weekly. If your child needs extra time, I am available before and
after school. The best way for us to move your child forward is through frequent communication. Listed
on the following syllabus is my contact information. I look forward to working together this school year.
Ms. Meghan Hoff
IB English A1 Teacher
Please return only the bottom portion of this letter to me, signifying you have read and agree with the
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Contact Information: Phone_____________________________ Best time to Call _______
Student’s Name:________________________________Class________ Period________
IB English A1 Syllabus 2008-2009
Hyde Park Academy High School
Instructors: Ms. Hoff
Phone: (773) 535-0931 (English office direct line)
(773) 535-0880 (Main office)
Ms. Hoff: firstname.lastname@example.org
Prequisites: Completion of Middle Years Programme with recommendations from IB coordinators
From the IB Subject Guide for English A1
The Language A1 program is primarily a pre-university course in literature. It is aimed at
students who intend to pursue literature, or related studies, at university, as well as at students
whose formal study of literature will not continue beyond this level.
Literature is concerned with our conceptions, interpretations and experiences of the world. The
study of literature, therefore, can be seen as a study of all the complex pursuits, anxieties, joys
and fears that human beings are exposed to in the daily business of living. It enables an
exploration of one of the more enduring fields of human creativity and artistic ingenuity, and
provides immense opportunities for encouraging independent, original, critical and clear
thinking. It also promotes a healthy respect for the imagination and a perceptive approach to the
understanding and interpretation of literary works. The discussion of literature is itself an art
which requires the clear expression of ideas both orally and in writing.
The Language A1 program encourages students to see literary works as products of art and
their authors as craftsmen whose methods of production can be analyzed in a variety of ways
and on a number of levels. This is achieved through the emphasis placed on exploring the
means used by different authors to convey their subjects in the works studied. It is further
reinforced by the comparative framework emphasized for the study of these works in all parts of
the program. (2001 edition)
At Hyde Park Academy, English A1 is a two-year Higher Level IB course. It is required to be
taken by all IB Diploma Program candidates. Fifteen significant works or units of study will be
considered over the two years.
Encourage a personal appreciation of literature and develop an understanding of the techniques
involved in literary criticism
Develop the students’ powers of expression, both in oral and written communication, and
provide the opportunity of practicing and developing the skills involved in writing and speaking
in a variety of styles and situations
Introduce students to a range of literary works of different periods, genres, styles, and contexts
Broaden the students’ perspective through the study of works from other cultures and
Introduce students to ways of approaching and studying literature, leading to the development
of an understanding and appreciation of the relationships between different works
Develop the ability to engage in close, detailed analysis of written text
Promote in students an enjoyment of, and lifelong interest in, literature
** Taken from the IB English A1 subject Guide AIMS
The following will be included in the determination of the students grade:
Class participation and attendance (25%)
Homework and journals (40%)
Exams and Presentations (20%)
External Assessments (15%)
Percentage Grade IB Mark*
94-100 A 17-20
88-93 B 13-16
82-87 C 9-12
76-81 D 5-8
75 & Below FAIL 0-4
*IB Rubrics for written work grade 0-5 in four categories: Knowledge, Interpretation, Presentation,
and Use of Language. Rubrics will be provided with the essays and presentation assignments.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (Brazil 1993)
The Dubliners by James Joyce (Ireland 1914)
Orlando by Virginia Woolf (England 1928)
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Columbia 1988)
Blood Wedding by Federico Garcia Lorca (Spain 1933)
Medea by Euripedes (Greece 431 BC)
Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen (Norway 1879)
Materials/Supplies o Notebook Paper
o Colored Pencils
o 2” pocket binder with dividers
o Loose-leaf paper
o Ink pens: black/ blue (for assignments); red/green (for editing);
highlighters; pencil is only to be used for Scantron tests or if indicated by
o Flash drive
o Access to a computer with Microsoft Word AND a printer; email account
o Chicago Public Library card
Written assignments, exams, Extended Essay, World Literature Assignments I and II, PSAT, ACT/PSAE
tests, dialectical journals, and presentations.
Students will write TWO World Literature Papers to be graded externally by IB examiners. Both of these
papers must be turned in as a final draft at the end of the Junior Year. This is a requirement for my class
as well as the IB Diploma
Students will write an Extended Essay Draft to be turned in by the end of the Junior year.
Special Needs: Class work and homework assignments are modified in terms of decreased content,
extended time and directives of the IEP
Course Overview (subject to modification)
Semester 1 IB Part IV (School’s Free Choice)
Weeks 1-5 : The Alchemist and Introduction to Literary Analysis
Weeks 6-10: The Dubliners and Extended Essays
Weeks 11-15: Orlando
Weeks 16-20: Love In the Time of Cholera (WL) and Oral Presentations.
Semester 2 IB Part I (World Literature)
Weeks 21-25: Analyzing Drama, Death and the Maiden or Blood Wedding, and Medea
Weeks 26-30: Doll’s House, ACT Review
Weeks 31-35: World Literature Paper I
Weeks 36-40: World Literature Paper II and Extended Essay Due
Course/ Classroom Expectations:
Assignments: The student is responsible for ALL assignments. Absence is not reason for missing
assignments. Makeup exams will be given no later than three (3) days after the student returns from an
excused absence. No makeup exam or work will be given in the case of an unexcused (cut) absence.
Attendance : Attendance is, of course mandatory. Students are responsible to arrange to makeup any
assignments missed due to absence.
Students who are late to class three or more times during the semester will lose daily participation
points as well as any bellringer quiz points. Parents will be contacted if their student is habitually tardy
to class and additional consequences will be issued.
Late Work Policy:
It is our belief that students should make it a priority to do their work well and turn it in on time.
Because of this, we have instituted a no late work policy.
Students who have an excused absence will have 24 hours to turn in and finish assignments. After 24
hours, the work will no longer be accepted.
Additional Support for Students:
If students are struggling with an assignment or are falling behind in class, they may discuss with their
teacher possible modifications and/or accommodations to assignments. Please note, discussions for
modifications and/or accommodations must occur prior to the due date. Students receiving
accommodations and/or modifications will use a grading scale discussed with parents.
Computer Access and Usage:
Students who do not have access to a computer at home must make special arrangements for access to
complete assignments. All essays and projects required for class must be typed unless otherwise noted.
This allows for students and teachers to easily grade, edit, save, and access student work. Students will
not always be given lab time to complete assignments during class. It is the students responsibly to
complete work and print out assignments BEFORE arriving to class.
It is critical for students to save their work. Students are strongly recommended to purchase a USB
flash drive of at least 1 GB for school use. Students will need access to all writing products from the year
to successfully complete their final project.