Sophomore Honors English: 2015-2016

Instructor: Ms. Gardner
Class website:
“An identity would seem to be arrived at by the way in which the person faces and uses his experience. “
--James Baldwin

Welcome to Sophomore Honors English. This year, our literature explores the intersection of language and identity.
Our cast of characters is rich and varied. These characters, however, share a common quest: Each “faces and uses
his experience” to create a more complex and authentic sense of self. We will consider ourselves, too, as members
of this larger literary family, as we write not only to analyze but also to discover who we are and who we might
During the course of the year, we will explore the nature of identity by reading literature rhetorically, discussing
texts and issues analytically, and writing persuasively. Although much of the literature we read will still be fiction,
we will read many nonfiction works as well.

“The answers you get from literature depend on the questions you pose.”
--Margaret Atwood

Over the course of the year, we will read:
Ancillary works of nonfiction, short stories, and poetry
William Shakespeare, Macbeth
Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front
Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac
Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha
William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics, if time permits
Selections from memoirists such as Tim O’Brien, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Annie Dillard
Two or more works selected from the outside reading list

“By writing I create an identity for myself.”
--Pentti Saarikoski

Through the study and practice of the elements of discourse, you will build and refine a flexible repertoire of writing
skills and strategies:
rhetorical modes:
argumentation and persuasion
thesis and thematic statements, funnel introductions, pyramid

paragraph structure and purpose
sentence structure and style:
sentence errors
subordination and coordination
sentence variety
conventions of formal writing
developing an active, authentic voice
timed-writing techniques
revision and editing skills
using stylistic and rhetorical devices to enhance meaning
modeling a variety of authors’ styles
research paper
original poetry and, if time permits, short stories

“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.”
--Maya Angelou

There will be many opportunities to refine your speaking skills through the following activities:
dramatic interpretations of poems, plays, and speeches
impromptu and prepared oral responses to literature
small-group academic discussions and large-group Socratic seminars
reflective and persuasive speeches

Multimodal Compositions
Although we will rely heavily on traditional forms of composition and delivery—the word-processed paper, the
memorized speech—we will also use digital technology to compose and present podcasts, digital stories,
infographics, and online presentations.

“First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.”

In order to pass this course with a C or higher, you must attend class regularly and punctually, complete all work,
show a basic mastery of the concepts and skills we study, and participate in class activities and discussions.
In order to earn an A or a B, you must demonstrate not only mastery of the concepts and skills we study, but also
precision, elegance, and originality in your performance. You must take intellectual risks: asking questions, posing
new and untested ideas, initiating a group discussion on the topic at hand are all forms of intellectual risk.
Quizzes and tests are graded on the traditional scale: 90-100% =A, etc. Please review the attached rubric for more
information on how I grade writing and multimedia projects.

Electronic Portfolios

Over the course of the year, you will curate several pieces of your work—written, audio, and visual—and present
them in an electronic portfolio. Most colleges and universities now require their students to create e-portfolios. It is
easy to see why: they promote student ownership, stimulate reflection on process, and cultivate an active academic
community. You will be evaluated for each benchmark in the process, and the complete portfolio will be part of your
end-of-the-year evaluation.

Academic Integrity: Plagiarism, Turnitin, Late Work
You will submit all word-processed work electronically to in addition to providing me a hard copy
when requested. Many assignments will also require you to submit your work to Google Classroom. Any work that
is plagiarized or indicates you have cheated will receive a zero; furthermore, you are subject to the school’s policies
regarding cheating and plagiarism. Your worst possible quiz, test, or essay is vastly superior to anything that might
compromise your integrity as a student and scholar.
A special note about Turnitin: If you turn in the hard copy of a paper on time but fail to upload your
paper to Turnitin by the specified deadline, the paper’s grade will be lowered one grade per day up to
three days. After three days, the paper will receive a zero. If you are having difficulty uploading a
paper to Turnitin, please contact me immediately through email. I am more than happy to help you.
Finally, as a general rule, I do not accept late work. However, if you are experiencing a significant hardship and you
contact me at least the day before an assignment is due, we will discuss the possibility of a reasonable extension of
the due date.

Make-Up Work
You have as many days as you were absent to complete the work you missed. Please consult the website noted at
the top of this syllabus for homework information and test and quiz dates. Also, feel free to send me an email
requesting information about what you missed. In addition, you may also see me during office hours to ask
questions, collect handouts, and complete any missed quizzes or tests.
Office Hours: Because I teach zero period, my office hours are as follows:
A days: 6:45 a.m. to 7:15 a.m.
B days: 2:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Written Work
Take-home work must be word-processed and follow MLA conventions. You will submit this work on time to
Google Classroom and to Turnitin unless otherwise directed. All handwritten in-class writing must be done in blue
or black ink on college-ruled binder paper. Again, it must follow MLA conventions.
Saving your work onto your hard or flash drive is good, but it does not guarantee your work is saved. Printers, too,
are notorious for failing or running out of ink at the last minute. Consequently, I strongly suggest the following
1. Use a cloud-based service, such Google Docs or DropBox, for your work, or send it to yourself, via
email, as an attachment. Be sure to save to the cloud (or print) as you compose; do not wait until you are
almost done. If your computer crashes or your flash drive fails, you will still have access to your work in
2. Print two copies of your work—one for me, one for your records.


This class will move at a fast pace, so it is essential we start on time. When you arrive, check the board for the day's
agenda and instructions, so you know what materials to have ready. You are considered tardy and your work late if
you are not seated and ready to work once the bell rings. CGHS has a clear on-time policy with consequences noted
in the school handbook.

Please bring to each class session:
1. an assignment calendar (paper or digital)
2. pens in blue or black ink and a pencil
4. college-ruled binder paper and a binder
5. a highlighter
6. a white board marker and eraser (for example, a sock or fabric square)
7. all handouts, books, and completed work
8. your PCS iPad, fully charged

The (Digital) Scholar in the Classroom
A brief reminder of the ground rules you have already learned during your many years as a student-scholar: Raise
your hand before speaking; practice kindness and attentiveness; no food or drinks in class. On occasion, cell phones
are permitted for scholarly purposes, such as research or digitally annotating a text. Ask permission, however, before
using your phone, so you do not risk having it removed. Similarly, follow the PCS’s Reasonable Uses policies when
using the classroom’s Chromebooks and your PCS iPad.

Additional Resources
Please check my website for links to composing, editing, and formatting help, such as OWL at Purdue University
and the Harvard Writing Center. You will also find multiple resources for any work you do in digital media for this
A final note: Good writing never attends to style alone. It draws on the range of past and current intellectual
concerns and conversations. In order to give your writing depth and complexity, you must read beyond what you are
assigned in school. On my website, you will find suggestions for this outside reading. During the school year, read
for as little as ten minutes a day from one or more of these sites. You will begin to internalize the voice and rhythms
of superior nonfiction, and you will keep abreast of important political and cultural news.

Three Basic Rubrics
Formal Writing
A This paper has a creative title that addresses the paper’s theme. The introductory paragraph has an engaging
beginning, refers specifically to the author and literature discussed (or to the subject at hand), and
hints at the main idea covered in the body. The thesis has a strong focus and a lively argumentative
edge. The body of the paper uses abundant evidence to support the writer’s claims. There is ample
and meaningful analysis that develops the significance of this evidence. The writing is vivid; the
sentences are varied. Diction (word choice) is chosen for precision, freshness, intellectual
sophistication, and specific effect. There are no or very few spelling, punctuation, and grammatical
errors. The paper is formatted correctly using MLA style. The conclusion goes beyond summary: it
demonstrates complex insight into the subject and extends it to the writer’s and audience’s world.

B This paper has a specific but less creative title. Its introductory paragraph is focused, and a clear thesis statement
is present. The thesis, however, might be less compelling than that of an A paper. There is a variety
of credible evidence to support the writer’s claims; this evidence, however, is less engaging or
convincing. Although the analysis is logical and developed, it lacks the sophistication of an A paper.
The sentences are varied and the diction is formal and specific. There might be some spelling,
punctuation, and grammar errors. The paper is formatted using MLA style, although it might have
one or two inconsistencies. The conclusion is relevant to the thesis statement but shows less insight
than that of an A paper.
C This paper might or might not have a title. The thesis statement is not focused or is insupportable. Although there
is a clear sense of structure to the paper—an introduction, body, and conclusion—the claims in the body paragraphs
are not supported by adequate credible evidence and analysis. Paragraph structure is weak; frequently, a concluding,
transitional statement is missing. The writing is generalized; the ideas are predictable. The sentences lack adequate
variety. The diction is simple, clichéd, imprecise, or nonstandard. The paper does not follow all of the conventions
of MLA style. The conclusion does not go beyond mere summary
D or F This paper might not have a title. Its structure is weak: there is not a clear introduction, body, and
conclusion. There is no thesis statement, or if there is, it is not relevant to the assignment or cannot be understood or
supported. The paper tends to make generalized statements rather than claims followed by evidence and analysis.
The reader must struggle to make sense of the writer’s ideas. The paper’s format does not follow MLA style. There
are many errors in mechanics, grammar, or spelling. In some instances, the paper is well written, but it does not
address the prompt.
Less Formal Writing
Plus: This writing shows originality and complexity of thought. It specifically addresses the topic and extends it in
imaginative, intellectually sophisticated ways. It responds to each part of the assignment fully.
Check: This writing is less original and complex. It specifically addresses the topic but is not developed and might
repeat what was discussed in class without further critically and imaginatively reflecting on it. It responds to most,
but perhaps not all, parts of the assignment.
Minus: This writing is incomplete. It does not specifically address the topic or is seriously underdeveloped.
Graphics and Digital Media Presentations
All written work for graphics must be word-processed, unless otherwise noted by me. The quality of writing for
graphics and for all digital media presentations—in terms of content, mechanics, and grammar—should be that of a
formal essay. Graphics and digital media presentations should demonstrate precision, neatness, complexity, and
pleasing use of form, color, and originality.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.