WERNER / ENGLISH 9S firstname.lastname@example.org • http://werner9s.blogspot.com “It is chiefly through books that we enjoy interactions with superior minds, and these invaluable means of communication are in the reach of all. In the best books, great minds talk to us, give us their most precious thoughts, and pour their souls into ours.” -William E. Channing OVERVIEW This class will focus on your ability to communicate with others both orally and in writing. We will work together to identify and improve upon your strengths as a communicator, as well as to address areas in which you feel less skilled. By setting high standards for the quality and quantity of your work, and by emphasizing both written and oral expression, this class will prepare you to meet the expectations you will encounter here at the high school and beyond. Specifically, we will spend each quarter focusing on: reading and writing about texts, developing critical thinking skills, improving grammar, and expanding vocabulary. We will concentrate on developing your voices as writers, and on shifting the focus of your thinking about literature from summarizing texts to analyzing, synthesizing, and reflecting. STANDARDS AND EXPECTATIONS All aspects of my classes at all levels are governed by a single simple rule: RESPECT. We will talk at length about what this means specifically, but it all boils down to this simple rule. Respect governs everything we do from treating one another kindly, to turning work in on time, to keeping our classroom tidy, to listening actively, to participating fully in and out of class, to supporting our peers, to believing in our own abilities, and everything in between. We will be building a community of learners together, but we can only do that on the basis of respect for one another. To be prepared for class, whenever we meet, you should have your laptop with an “English 9S” folder in your documents folder. Inside that, you should have six folders labeled: TEXTS, WRITING, POETRY, GRAMMAR & USAGE, JOURNAL, and FRESHMAN SKILLS. In addition, you should also always have your primary text in class. All essays and significant assignments must be typed, double-spaced, with 1” margins on all sides. If an assignment can be written as an informal email (such as a journal entry), I will let you know in advance. If we have not discussed it, assume your work must be formatted. As we discussed, you should always email me all assignments. PRIMARY TEXTS AND ASSIGNMENTS In this class, we will work with texts of all kinds including novels, plays, short stories, essays, poems, and films. In addition to regular short essays, we will create one significant piece of writing each quarter, including a lengthy “I-Search” paper, a research and writing project of your own design. Over the course of the year, we will also systematically focus on your skills as formal essay writers, and will develop your knowledge of formal grammar rules. First Quarter Second Quarter Third Quarter Fourth Quarter Women in Literature The Hero’s Journey Shakespeare Coming of Age Romeo & Juliet Girl with a Pearl Earring The Odyssey To Kill a Mockingbird Primary Texts Shakespeare’s Poetry House on Mango Street The Alchemist A Separate Peace 2+ I-Search Texts Romeo + Juliet (1996) Cold Mountain To Kill a Mockingbird Films Girl with a Pearl Earring Romeo & Juliet (1968) O Brother, Where Art Thou? The Color Purple Shakespeare in Love “Big” Project Novel/Film Essay Personal Odyssey Essay I-Search Paper Poetry Anthology Making Your Writing Focus Structuring Your Essay Proving Your Point Finding Your Voice Argument Frosh Skills Be Proactive Begin with the End Put First Things First Sharpen the Saw Word Choice, Verb Fragments, Run Ons, Pronouns, subject/ Grammar More Comma Rules Tense, Punctuation Primary Comma Rules verb agreement ASSESSMENT AND GRADING When an assignment is given, I will provide all information about it through a product descriptor. These product descriptors will also be available online. Reading assignments for your class will also be posted in the classroom and online. We will discuss the specific standards for each assessment when the assignment is handed out. While a numerical grade is used for most essays and longer pieces, you can expect in-class assignments and homework to be graded on this scale: + Exceeds the standards (98) √+ Exceeds the standards in some areas, but not all (93) √ Meets the standards (88) √- Meets the standards in some areas, but not all (83) – Falls short of the standards (78) For all assignments, work which is not handed in on time will receive a 10% grade reduction per day. After five days, the maximum score possible on an assignment is 50%. Work that is not turned in will receive a zero and will significantly reduce your overall average. When you are absent, you are responsible for completing any missed assignments, although the due date will be extended by the number of days you were out of school. For example, if you are out for three days, your assignment will be due three days after the rest of the class. Each quarter, you are permitted to take one late day, giving yourself one extra day to complete an assignment and still have it in on time. When you email me the assignments, please write LATE in the subject. This lets you manage your own assignments when something is due for me at the same time that you have another large assignment due. For grading essays, I utilize a technique called glossing. For the purposes of this class, glossing means that I will read your essays in draft and final form. Each time I return them, the essays will contain my written comments as well as comment codes (explained on the GHS Basic Guide to English Language Conventions). I will keep returning essays to you until they are perfect. Once an essay is complete, we will place it in your digital portfolio. Each quarter will be worth 20% of your overall grade for the year, while the mid-term and the final exam will each be worth 10% of your overall grade for the year. Progress reports are sent home in the middle of each quarter. Grades within each quarter will be determined according to the following percentage values: 15% Homework 10% In-class work 10% Quizzes 35% Major assessments (tests, essays, papers, etc.) 30% Class Participation (preparedness and involvement) SOME FINAL THOUGHTS This class is comprised of amazing texts that are interesting and thought-provoking. It goes without saying that I am always hilarious and engaging. But this class is only as good as you make it. Your job is to be present in body and mind. While you are here, your responsibility is to try, to listen, to read, to write, to discuss, to create, and to question. And questioning is perhaps your most important role. Question the texts. Question each other. Question me. The more questions we ask, the more learning we do and the better we understand what we have read and discussed. Some of what we read and talk about in this class will be difficult to understand. Some of it will be confusing. Sometimes something in class will be bothering you. Sometimes you will be worrying about someone’s behavior, statements, or actions. That is all a part of learning and a part of developing and nurturing a community of learners. However, as a member of that community, it is vital that you take responsibility for yourself and let me know if something isn’t working. The sooner you tell me about a problem, the sooner we can solve it and make things work again. Stop in before or after school, before or after class, shoot me an email, or leave me a note. Just let me know how I can help and we’ll figure out how to get things back on track. I look forward to an amazing year together.
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