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English Language Arts

Course Description: Welcome to English X. English is about way more than grammar,
vocabulary, and literature—it is about learning key critical thinking and analytical skills that
extend beyond the classroom. In class, we will be exploring a number of key questions that are
relevant to your everyday lives. As a class, we are going to use literature as the lens through
which we explore these questions, and you are going to develop important skills that will enable
you to consider various perspectives—all while formulating your own viewpoint. This class is
going to challenge you to go beyond simple responses. You are going to have to put in a lot of
effort, but we are confident that what you put in, you will get out.

This course presents a historical survey of XX. This will be a challenging, yet immensely
beneficial year. Per the Common Core curriculum, emphasis will be placed on knowledge and
skills that will ensure students are college and career ready by the time they graduate high
school. This means greater focus in careful reading and analysis of complex texts, conception
and expression of complex written ideas, and improving students’ written and spoken grammar
and usage skills. Students will also examine various texts and evaluate the writer’s ability to
convey his or her message. We do this for two reasons: (1) to further our critical thinking skills
and (2) to effectively use the different writing techniques in our own work to increase our writing
ability. College and career readiness will also be addressed through production of a formal,
typed, research document which will include citations and bibliography of sources used to collect
facts and data.

Similar to any sport and every profession, practice makes perfect. So we will read and write
every day to drastically sharpen and increase our reading and writing skills. This means that
there will be a significant amount of work required on a daily basis, but it also means that we
will be better for it.

It is my intention to provide all students with opportunities to become acquainted with a wide
range of literary and critical works in all the genres, eg. epic poetry, drama, lyrical poetry, short
stories, novels, literary criticism, biography, autobiography, essays, etc. Students also will be
trained in the writing skills they will need to succeed in high school and college. The ultimate
goals are to foster in students analytical and critical thinking skills that will enhance independent
and informed thought; encourage appreciation for literature; and allow for articulate self-

General Goals
 Read various genres of literature with critical appreciation
 Read for the pleasure of reading.
 Write critical and analytical essays, focusing on specific themes and relevant support.
 Write creatively, thus becoming authors themselves
 Listen, interpret, and distinguish the significant from the insignificant
Policies & Procedures

• 50% Assessments
• 20% Homework
• 30% Classwork/ Participation


Homework, tests and quizzes, notes, reading exercises, literary discussion and participation,
writing assignments (e.g. Silent Reading prompts, journal Quick Writes, book reports, Literature
analysis, class group projects), vocabulary, grammar exercises, handouts, and special projects.

Vocabulary homework is usually specific to an assigned story or novel. For each vocabulary
word, students must provide a definition, a sentence with context clues, two synonyms, the
connotation of the word (positive, negative or neutral), and identify the part of speech (e.g. noun,
verb, adjective, etc.).

Students are required to bring an approved book to class. Students will be required to record at
least one entry per week in a Dialectical Response Journal based on their readings; responses
will be collected and graded.

Note taking will be emphasized as an integral part of the learning process. Students are required
to take notes (of lectures, from discussions and readings, etc.) both in class and at home. Notes
are essential to success.


• 1 composition notebook for in-class journal
• 1 loose leaf binder/notebook (with folder) with sections for warm-ups, notes and grammar
• Writing utensils and highlighters

• Post-it notes

When a student misses work due to an excused absence, it is the student’s responsibility to find
out what assignments were missed and when to make them up.

Late work, with very few exceptions, is not accepted. When accepted, penalty (-25 points) will
be attached. Work is due at the time it is collected (e.g., homework assignments due at the
beginning of class will not be accepted at the end of class).
Instances of academic dishonesty include copying others’ work, cheating on tests, and plagiarism
(taking another’s work and passing it off as your own). Such instances—in whole or in part—are
considered stealing and will result in zeroes for all involved parties. Violators will be referred to
the administrator as warranted. Parental contact will also be made.


1. Come to class mentally and physically prepared-
a. Take notes daily
b. Complete assigned readings before entering class
c. Bring required materials to class every day

2. Act like college bound professionals-

b. Come in silently and begin warm-up
c. Actively and respectfully participate in large and small group discussion
d. Positively contribute to the flow of the classroom by adhering to school policies
and classroom norms

3. Be proactive-
a. Take initiative and make-up any work missed
b. Let me know of any concerns on a one-on-one basis that you may have regarding
your instructional needs

4. The standard is as follows: Student puts forth maximum effort toward

learning/achievement. In order to maintain a positive learning environment, each student
conducts himself/herself in a respectful and courteous manner toward peers and the
teacher at all times. This includes adherence to classroom rules, attentiveness and
classroom participation, seated and ready to work when the bell rings, not talking at
inappropriate times.

NOTE: Good behavior is a requirement for learning. Classroom disruptions that interfere with
others’ rights or their ability to learn will not be tolerated.

You have a right to an education, anything you say or do to hinder your education or the
education of others can and will be held against you in the context of the classroom. You have
the right to free speech, as long as that freedom does not violate the rights and emotional well-
being of others. You have the right to state your opinion and viewpoint, as long as you can back
up that position with logical evidence. You have a responsibility towards yourself and your
classmates to behave appropriately, that means you will commit to doing whatever the context
calls for. Rights are privileges; so don’t abuse them. Do not take the absence of a list of specific
rules as a license to behave inappropriately.
Students are given writing assignments and projects designed to improve skills learned in
previous grades. Assignments vary, but the following are covered over the course of the year:
 Persuasive Writing
 Compare and Contrast
 Debate/Public Speaking
 Expository Writing
 Narrative and creative writing
 Poetic writing

Use of in-text citations, blending of citations into writing, and proper MLA formatting are a
primary focus of each assessment.

Each of these is a component of the NYS Comprehensive English Regents Examination, which
students must take at the end of 11th grade. The Regents Exam itself is a comprehensive test of
skills learned during a student’s educational experience.

At the close of each unit, students complete comprehensive unit exams. Students also complete
weekly grammar and vocabulary assessments.

Throughout the year, students keep a response journal in order to respond and react emotionally
toward each text.

 Students create Facebook profiles for characters from a Shakespeare play or selected
 Students take part in interactive writer’s workshops and use manipulatives as a source of
inspiration to write creative stories.
 Writing short stories which are read and shared in class during oral interpretation

 Encourage students to read on a daily basis.
 Share with students stories that will interest them, and encourage them to seek stories of
their own.
 Review with student’s notes taken in class.
 Encourage students to complete assigned work on time.
 Assist students in proof-reading written work.
 Share interest in what students are learning. When students and parents learn together, it
enhances the experience.

Major Literary Genres

Short Stories:
 Define the elements of a short story and discuss the author’s use of these elements. For
example: point of view, theme, plot, characterization
 Recognize the effects the literary elements have on the development of a story
 Examine authorial intent.
 Argue effectiveness of stories as regards intent and literary elements.
 Create short stories

Novels: among the titles are: To Kill a Mockingbird, Night, The Good Earth, Great Expectations
(9), All Quiet on the Western Front, 1984, The Lost Horizon, Frankenstein, Green Mansions

 Explain historical context, and synthesize historical fact with fictional elements.
 Analyze characters’ behavior and motivations.
 Evaluate development of characters as situations arise, and how effectively they cope
with changes they face
 Recognize how the lives of individual authors are reflected in the literature
 Analyze the applications of various literary elements including plot development,
characterization, theme, structure, point of view
 Interpret themes and evaluate how the literature affects the students’ understanding of the
world in which they live
 Apply this understanding by creating comparisons to other literary work previously read
such as Being Ernest, Pygmalion

 Identify and explain authors’ experiences and motivations.
 Compare and contrast authors’ lives at different epochs of their experience.
 Defend (or refute) values promoted by authors.

Dramatic Plays: Among the titles are: A Raisin in the Sun, The Effect of Gamma Rays on the
Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, Oedipus, and other Greek dramas: Romeo and Juliet, and Julius
 Theatrical Elements: To explain the importance of theatrical elements (lighting, blocking,
set design, etc.) in order to understand the complexity of author intent.
 Provide historical context and link with dramatic treatment (eg. The Crucible).
 Investigate and analyze character motivation.
 Each students will write a one act play
 Students will compose one or more scenes based on the plot of plays read in class to
demonstrate application of knowledge
Poetry: Beowulf, Canterbury Tales,
 Define and understand the structure of various forms of poetry— for example, sonnet,
ballads, and epics.
 Students will understand the structure of various forms of poetry, for example, sonnet,
limerick, free verse, etc.
 Students will illustrate their understanding of the structure of poetry by creating their own
collection of poetry.
 Compare different poetic forms and how the techniques of the poets affect his or her
 Analyze authors’ poetic styles and techniques.
 Understand the difference between literal and figurative language and evaluate the
effectiveness of this technique.
 Students will compare different poetic forms and how the techniques of the poets affect
his or her poems.
 Analyze figurative and symbolic language.
 Distinguish between contextual imagery and descriptive imagery.
 Evaluate sound and meaning.

Vocabulary Skills:
 Study vocabulary word lists as well as words retrieved from the various reading genres
and apply them to their written work.
 Define these words and understand how to use them to enhance their own writing.

 Using expository writing, students will respond to literature that they have read,
discussed, and analyzed and understand how to compose written assignments which
illustrate student knowledge of MLA formatting.
 Understand why literature is discussed using the present tense.
 Recognize how to incorporate quotations into their own writing accurately
 Explanation and interpretation of data dictated orally.
 Critical synthesis of information from an expository source (eg. a historical essay or
biographical sketch).
 Comparison of theme, content, and style between works of different genres (eg. a prose
paragraph and a poem).
 Literary analysis (usually of works studied in class).
 Create a research paper to demonstrate their skills.

 Acquaint students with basic grammatical structures.
 Identify these structures in the writing of professionals.
 Understand the terminology with which to discuss their own writing errors.
 Apply more complex grammatical strategies to enhance their own writing.
Public Speaking:
 Apply basic public speaking skills from among the various types of speech
(demonstrative, informative, persuasive).
 Apply their knowledge to the actual preparation and presentation in a public speaking

Film Study:
This course periodically examines the relationship between films and literature. This course
will include the study of Modern and Classic Juvenile Fantasy from the Brothers Grimm, Alice in
Wonderland to Harry Potter. We will also read several works of contemporary literature and study
various aspects of popular culture. Possible titles include My Sister’s Keeper, The Lovely Bones, and
Kite Runner.

The viewing of films based on these works, and the comparison and contrast of the two is
emphasized. We will critically examine selected examples of popular culture and popular art
including fiction, non-fiction, music and film. Some film titles we may cover are The Shawshank
Redemption, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, Bonnie and Clyde, etc. Lastly, we will also learn
about film history and techniques and the overall effect on storytelling.

 Appraise the director/author’s purpose

 Analyze the aspects of film and storytelling techniques
 Recognize the concept of universal theme, e.g. oppression/exploitation.
 Analyze character’s behavior and motivations. (Weakness, personal revelation, etc.)
 Identify the elements of storytelling and how they contribute to its theme.
 Explore the film and novel’s structure, creativity, timelessness.
 Explain how the personal lives of authors/directors affect the writing of novels and film.
 Analyze how each generation affects film making as well as the significance of historical
 Compare and contrast the overall effectiveness of storytelling behind novel and film.
 In depth analysis of theme, symbolism, and other literary techniques.
 Understand and utilize knowledge of film techniques and key film vocabulary in analysis.

Extra projects if time permits:

 After reading a text focused on the Harlem Renaissance, students will create a visual
projects that illustrate the culture and history found in the literature.
 In collaboration with the theater departments students write, produce, and perform plays.
 Students will create and record their own commercials.
 Films which supplement the literature being studied.
 Nature photography project accompanying Thoreau’s WALDEN or similar text.
 Recordings of authors and poets reading from their own works.
 Showing of Ken Burns’ documentary on Mark Twain.
XX High School
Xth Grade English—Mrs. Paulick
20xx-20xx Syllabus

Dear Parents and Guardians:

I am looking forward to an exciting year of literature and writing instruction and I invite you to
continue your active participation in your child’s education. Please sign below to show that you
and your child have reviewed the syllabus and understand the expectations for our class. Please
return this form to me by __________________________.

Mrs. Paulick