Course Description/Overview/Welcome Statement
In this class, we will learn skills and develop abilities that will help us become better readers, writers, speakers and listeners. As we do this, we will read literature and informative texts, the informative writing process, grammar, vocabulary, and critical thinking and discussion skills. By the time we finish this trimester, we will have developed strategies for reading and understanding complex informative texts. Additionally, we will have learned how to more effectively use what we read to write descriptive reflections and informative essays. These reading and writing skills will allow us to analyze our thoughts and reactions to a text, and to educate others on these same points.
Assignments & Activities
In order to master the skills referred to above, students will be required to complete assignments and to participate in learning activities.
- Daily Assignments & In-class Activities: Generally, the assignments that we will complete on a daily basis will be rewarded with participation points. I consider these to be practice assignments, and therefore, I grade students on the effort they exert to learn and use the skill. Students will be notified if/when the way an assignment is graded will be changed.
- Writing Journals: Because I prefer to review what students have written on a weekly basis, I do not require students to purchase a writing journal. When given, this assignment will take place at the beginning of class and students will have approximately 5-7 minutes to address the given prompt. I do expect them to write for the duration (5-7 minutes) of the journaling time.
- Literature Circles: Since the IHS program is specifically designed to accommodate credit recovery, students may find themselves enrolled in multiple English classes simultaneously. Rather than have students complete multiple reading logs for multiple English classes, I have set aside each Friday for a Literature Circle activity. During this time, students will read and discuss novels and short stories in a collaborative setting. This activity allows students the chance to analyze and explore each text on a level where they can learn from each other. Literature Circles, which can also be thought of as “mini book clubs,” rely solely on the participation of group members. Group members who do not attend will have the opportunity to attend a make-up session on Thursdays at 3:00 pm, or they may choose to complete an equivalent activity on their own.
Assessment of Progress
In order to be informed about each student’s progress in the class, I will occasionally need to measure their knowledge using a test or assessment. It is very important that students take these assessments seriously so that the learning they receive is best suited to their own academic situation. It is very important for a student to put forth their best effort during a test or assessment.
Additionally, students will find that unit tests for the My Perspectives textbook closely resemble the state’s SAGE test. While the text may look the same, the content aligns with our textbook, whose publisher decided it would be best to use a familiar testing format, rather than requiring students to learn something new. This format ensures that students can focus solely on the assessment.
Students are required to participate in assessments pertinent to the class. If a student chooses not to take a test or assessment, it will be assumed that the student also acknowledges the consequence of their decision: their grade will be directly affected.
 The SAGE test will not be administered until Trimester 3 in Spring 2018.
Each day students should plan to bring a pen or pencil to class. Having a notebook will also be helpful. Reading books are also recommended. Students should plan to read if they finish their classwork early, since personal electronics are banned at most times. Should students need any other materials, I will provide them. Additionally, I will provide the following:
- Chrome Books: During class, students will be allowed to use a Chrome Book to complete certain assignments.
- They are expected to use the Chrome Book appropriately. If they don’t, they will lose the privilege of using Depending on the infringement, additional action may be taken.
- They should only use the Chrome Book that is assigned to them.
- They are also expected to put it back in the cabinet (and plug it in) when they are finished using it.
- Textbooks and Reading Books:
- During Hex 1 (the six-week grading period, which has replaced the term), we will read a variety of articles about recent studies that have been down on the brain. We will also read The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and short stories, poetry, and non-fiction articles about WWII.
- During Hex 2, we will study “Unit 1: The Allure of Fear” from the My Perspectives Many of the stories in this unit are part of the Gothic Literature genre, which includes the works of Edgar Allan Poe.
- Students may check out reading books from my lending library. To check out a book, the student should sign a paper, giving their name and the title of the book. Students are expected to return books to me, so that they can be checked back in and reshelved.
- Students will also have access to the IHS library and interlibrary loan. Through the interlibrary loan program, students may check out books from any library in the district.
- Supplemental Materials: Sometimes we will watch videos or video clips to elaborate on and to increase understanding of ideas and concepts or that which we have recently read. While the videos and clips will never be rated R, some may be rated PG and PG-13. If this is a concern for your student, please contact me. I will be happy to accommodate your student with another example of the material.
It is imperative that students come to class. This means that attendance is one of the very most important things that can happen each school day. I tend to agree with our principal, Chris Sorensen, when he said that a large part of success is simply “getting up, dressing up, and showing up.” Certain privileges are extended to those who come to class regularly. Those same privileges can only be extended to absent students after their absence has been excused.
I strongly believe that it is within the student’s purview to come to class on time and ready to learn. Per this belief, I trust each student to behave as a mature and decent human being. Students are first given the opportunity to correct misbehavior and to solve problems on their own. If unable to do so, I will become involved to assist students in whatever way necessary.
As I guide students to find solutions to behavior problems, I may choose to implement a “three strikes” rule, or I may invite them to work with me on a behavior contract. While such measures are usually a last resort as far as disciplinary action is concerned, please note that the reason for such action is to ensure a safe and productive learning environment for all students.
NOTE: Unnecessary interruptions and distracting behaviors should not have to be tolerated by students who wish to make the most of the educational experience. Disciplinary action will be taken against students who persistently disturb the learning of others.
Per IHS policy, personal electronics (including, but not limited to: cell phones, music/mp3 players, ipods, ipads, personal laptops, gaming devices, etc.) are banned during class time. Students should not plan to listen to music, play games, or conduct personal business (text or use social media) during class time. Please consider that students have now received their one warning. From this moment forward—and in accordance with the school’s policy—I reserve the right to confiscate any offending device. Please review the personal electronics policy with your student in order to establish the appropriate expectations.
Homework will not usually be assigned for this class; however, if a student does not complete their work during the class period due to lack of engagement (this could mean they were off task), then they might be asked to finish the assignment at home. Homework might also, on a very rare occasion, be used in conjunction with a reward to incite students to get ahead.
Because homework is not part of our regular plan, students should be prepared to engage themselves in English-based activities for the duration of our 50-minute class. Students should not work on homework from other classes during this class, nor should they ask to postpone our classwork for later.
Late work will be accepted without penalty during the course of each unit. After the unit closes, assignments and work for that unit will no longer be accepted. Writing Journals and Literature Circles will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Make-up tests and assessments may only be made up if arrangements have been made in advance.
Calendar of Due Dates for Major Assignments
Progress Reports and Report Cards
Updated grades will be reflected on Power School by each Monday morning at 9:30 am. It is also important to note that late assignments may not be included at that time. Grading priority will be given to those who turn their work in on time. Grades will be calculated according to the following PCSD district-approved grading scale:
|93-100 = A||87-89 = B+||77-79 = C+||67-69 = D+||59↓ = F|
|90-92 = A-||83-86 = B||73-76 = C||63-66 = D|
|80-82 = B-||70-72 = C-||60-62 = D-|
Please notice that a final score below 59% will not count towards credits earned.
Cheating will not be tolerated. Each student is required to complete all assignments on their own unless otherwise instructed. This means that unique answers and authentic writing will always be expected. If students turn in identical assignments, both assignments will be given a zero score.
Additionally, plagiarism will not be tolerated. For this class, plagiarism will be defined as copying another person’s work. Whether the work belongs to another student or to a published author is irrelevant. Students are expected to properly cite direct quotes or paraphrase/summarize borrowed ideas. Students will also be instructed on how to do these things.