American Lit I

Syllabus
Course Description:

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In American Lit I, you will read and analyze modern American classics while continuing to develop your writing ability and facility with the English language. By requiring you to flex both creative and scholarly muscles, the ultimate goal of this course is to give you the broad range of language arts skills that will serve you in whatever career path you choose.

Essential questions to be explored include big ideas about government and power as well as metacognitive questions about how to thoroughly analyze a text. Here are a few examples: In what ways are communities dangerous? What does integrity look like? In what ways are religion and politics connected? How do individuals and societies recover and rebuild following major injustices? How is satirical literature an agent for social change? What are the characteristics of a society that treats women fairly? Are women “free” in our society?

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GCAA School Wide Standards

  • As a school we have established a set of basic expectations that all of us are held accountable to. You are expected to follow these rules everyday. The GCAA School Wide Standards are:
  1. Report to class on time and attend all classes regularly.
  2. Accept responsibility for your learning:
    • Complete homework assignments.
    • Bring required materials to class each day.
    • Be attentive in class and listen, speak and discuss when appropriate.
    • Be open to acquiring and using new knowledge. Connect what you learn in one place to that which you learn in another.
  3. Respect the teacher’s position as leader in the classroom:
    • Follow the teacher’s direction.
    • Adhere to individual classroom guidelines.
    • Be positive about learning.
    • Build strong relationships with teachers and other students.
  4. Respect the authority of any adult in the building:
    • Comply with the directions and requests of any adult in the building, whether or not you know them.
    • Learn to value the dignity and worth of all individuals in the school community.
  5. Be considerate to and respectful of others:
    • Refrain from teasing, interrupting, or criticizing others.
    • Refrain from using vulgar or obscene language.
    • Refrain from acting out anger and frustration through fighting or other inappropriate behaviors. \
  6. Be considerate to and respectful of others CONTINUED:
    • Keep all food and drinks in the cafeteria except when authorized by a teacher and take responsibility for any wrappers, etc. of food eaten between classes.
  7. Cooperate with the specific rules of the school:
    • Dress in appropriate attire which does not distract or offend others (see Dress Code section of handbook).
    • Refrain from running in the halls, speaking loudly and banging lockers while classes are in progress.
    • Assume responsibility and accept consequences for your own behavior.
  1. Ask for help when you need it.
    • Your teachers, counselors, and administrators are here to help you; your activity sponsors and older students are resources.
  2. Respect the rights of others, especially to learn, by not creating excessive disruption in the halls, library, cafeteria and other common areas.
    • Obey the laws of society, including prohibitions against assault, theft, vandalism, possession of illegal substances and possession of weapons.

To honor and integrate the GCAA School Wide Standards into our classroom, we will adhere to the following rules in English III:

Listen the first time.
Follow classroom procedures.
Ask for help when you need it.
Express yourself in appropriate ways.
Come on time; come prepared.

 Course Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • apply conventions of standard English in writing and in discussion.
  • develop written and verbal arguments about texts integrating details from the text.
  • make connections between texts and yourselves, the world (past and present), and other texts in writing and in discussion.
  • analyze how characters, themes, and motifs are developed throughout texts.
  • recall the plot of various texts.
  • notice stylistic choices made by various authors and analyze their effects.

Instructional Materials
The following materials and supplies will be needed daily:

  • Copy of the text we are currently reading
  • Three ring binder provided by the student for looseleaf paper and handouts
  • Pens and pencils

Scope and Sequence:
The semester will be divided into two units. They are as follows:

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Unit I: The Crucible, a play by Arthur Miller

 Essential Questions: In what ways are communities dangerous? What determines what “justice” is in American society? What is integrity? What does it look like? In what ways are religion and politics connected? How do lies spread and gain traction? What does this play teach us about the individual in conflict with society? How do individual characters — the things they say and do — shape our understanding of big ideas in a text? How do individuals and societies recover and rebuild following major injustices?

At the end of this unit, you will be able to: recall the story of The Crucible, analyze how characters and themes are developed throughout the play, make connections between the play and yourself, the world (past and present), and other texts in writing and in discussion, develop written and verbal arguments about The Crucible integrating quotes and details from the text, apply conventions of standard English in writing and discussion

Your end-of-unit project will be a research paper in which you explore how different members of the Salem community recovered from the major injustice of the witch trials, as well as how Americans or members of our global community respond to a major injustice of your choice involving the killing of innocents. In your paper you will also argue for ways that our local, virtual (internet), national, and global communities can better respond to unjust deaths.

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Unit II: The Handmaid’s Tale, a novel by Margaret Atwood

 Essential questions: How does religion restrict the ability to make moral judgments? How does faith set us free? How is satirical literature an agent for social change? How does Atwood’s Gilead compare to real societies in our world today? How do individual characters — the things they and do — shape our understanding of big ideas in a text? What are characteristics of a society that treats women fairly? Are women “free” in our society? What are common traits of oppressive societies?

At the end of this unit, you will be able to: recall the plot of The Handmaid’s Tale, analyze the development of characters and the developments of themes in The Handmaid’s Tale, notice stylistic choices made by the author and analyze their effects, craft persuasive written arguments related to The Handmaid’s Tale, integrating concrete details from the text, prepare and participate in rigorous class discussions about how Atwood uses satire to comment on modern American society

Your end-of-unit assignment will be to create and give a 5-minute PowerPoint (or Google Slide) presentation in which you explain how one of the social injustices Atwood targets in her satire plays out in a particular society, American or international

Grading and Evaluation:

The following is a breakdown of semester one grading according to GCAA policy:

Homework: 10%
Classroom Assignments & Formative Assessments: 30%
Summative Assessment: 60%

Absence Policy

Your attendance in this class is crucial to your learning. If you miss class due to an excused absence, please check in with me during the next class period about what you missed. The work that you missed will be promptly due the following class period; after that it is considered late and credit will be docked. We won’t talk about missed work at the beginning of class; I will give you a packet of any missed work with your name on it that you can review independently after your warm up. Then, during independent work time, we’ll discuss your questions. If you miss class due to an unexcused absence, we will need to have a conversation about your circumstances to determine if your work can be accepted.

Late Work Policy

If you turn in late work the same day it was due (even if it was not complete during class), you can still receive up to 100 percent on the assignment. Otherwise, the highest you can receive for late work is a C.

School wide Grading Scale:

A       90-100%
B       80-89.9%
C       70-79.9%
D       60-69.9%
F       0-59%

School wide Plagiarism Policy:

 Rationale

GCAA values academic integrity and honesty. They are fundamental to the teaching and learning process. Teachers and administrators have the full expectation that all work be entirely the result of the student’s own efforts. Plagiarism, cheating or other forms of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Collaboration and cooperation are not the same as cheating or plagiarism. Teachers will inform students when collaboration is an acceptable option. The determination that a student has engaged in academic dishonesty will be based on specific evidence provided by the classroom teacher or other supervising individual. Students found to have engaged in academic dishonesty will be subject to disciplinary action at the classroom and/or building level, specified in the plagiarism policy that follows.

Examples of Academic Dishonesty (not exhaustive)

  • Copying someone else’s homework and/or giving your work to another to be copied
  • Working together on a take-home test or homework unless specifically allowed by the teacher
  • Looking at another student’s paper during an exam
  • Looking at your notes when prohibited
  • Taking an exam out of the classroom unless specifically allowed (either in person or by using electronic means)
  • Using notes or other outside information on an exam unless specifically allowed
  • Giving someone answers to exam questions during the exam
  • Passing test information from an earlier class to a later class
  • Giving or selling a paper or class work to another student
  • Quoting text or other works on a paper or homework without citing the source
  • Handing in a paper purchased from a term paper service or from the Internet
  • Handing in another’s paper as your own
  • Taking a paper from an organization’s files and handing it in as your own
  • Changing a test, a paper, and claiming it had been graded incorrectly
  • Presenting another student’s work as your own

Examples of Acceptable Behavior in the Creative Process

  • Discussing the assignment with others for clarification
  • Discussing ideas and details for understanding
  • Exchanging drafts of work for critical peer response
  • Participating in classroom activities pertaining to the writing process: pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing and publishing

Consequences of Plagiarism

  1. Whenever a teacher reasonably believes, based upon significant evidence, that a student has plagiarized part or all of an assignment or infringed upon copyright protection, the teacher shall evaluate the nature and extent of the plagiarism or copyright infringement, advise the student of the existence of the violation, and state the penalties to which the student may be subject:
  • Indicate in writing to the student and the student’s parents, with a brief statement of the circumstances, that the teacher has a reasonable belief that the student has engaged in a violation.
  • Require the student to rework the assignment entirely, using his/her own ideas and style.
  • Refer the student to the proper school authority for any additional counseling or discipline consistent with any other policy of GCAA.
  1. Whenever a teacher reasonably believes, based on significant evidence, that a student has knowingly assisted another student in plagiarizing part or all of an assignment, the teacher will evaluate the nature and extent of the assignment lent to the student who plagiarized and inform the student that he/she may be subject to the following penalties:
  • Indicate in writing to the student and the student’s parents, with a brief statement of the circumstances, that the teacher has a reasonable belief that the student assisted another student in plagiarizing.
  • Refer the student to the proper school authority for any additional counseling or discipline consistent with any other policy of GCAA.
  • In addition to disciplining the student according to the provisions of the policy, the teacher will continue to emphasize to the student the value of honest authorship.