COURSE SYLLABUS: ENGLISH 1 2018-19
Ms. Tobin, Room D111 / Email: email@example.com / School phone: 425.385.7063 / Personal phone: 206.407.8856
This year, the Everett Public School system is piloting the Pre-AP English 1 curriculum in all English 1 classrooms and supplementing with the existing SpringBoard curriculum, both of which are published by College Board. Texts take center stage in the Pre-AP English 1 classroom, inspiring and preparing all students for close, critical reading and analytical writing. This course trains the reader to observe the small details within a text to arrive at a deeper understanding of the whole. It also trains the reader to appreciate authors' sometimes subtle choices, developing an awareness of how words produce effects and how the conventions of the English language are used for both precision and style. As writers, students will focus first on crafting complex sentences, building this foundational skill; they will then move on to producing well-organized paragraphs and, as the year progresses, more sophisticated, longer-form analyses.
Visuals and short stories
Literary analysis paragraph
Pivotal Words and Phrases
Poetry and drama
Poetry analysis writing
Essays and arguments
Argument analysis essay
Openings of novels
Literary analysis essay
Please be sure to bring the following to class every day:
- District-issued electronic device, fully charged
- Pen or pencil
- Notebook (used only for this class)
- Folder (used only for this class)
- 4 different color highlighters or pens
- Sticky notes
SpringBoard books and Pre-AP English 1 unit booklets are stored in the classroom and may be taken home at any time as long as the student has the text available during our in-class work together. Additional texts (novels) will be used throughout the year. Students may bring their own copies of the texts we will be reading so they can mark in them as they read and discuss or check out a copy from the library.
Assessments of student learning are frequent and varied so that they become a natural part of the classroom experience and a source of meaningful feedback. Teachers and students can use the assessments, which are all based on the course framework, to understand and track progress and to identify where additional practice or support might be needed. Since students encounter a range of assessments throughout the course, progress is not measured by performance on any single exam. Rather, students have the opportunity to practice, grow, and recognize that learning takes time.
- Curriculum-embedded assessments: Each unit's lessons include learning checkpoints after every few lessons, which are often short writing tasks in which students demonstrate their understanding of a text or concept discussed in class as well as their ability to express that understanding in clear, organized, written responses. These checkpoints are evaluated by the teacher to inform further instruction and give meaningful feedback to students.
- Unit quizzes: Each unit includes two short online formative assessments featuring multiple-choice questions modeled closely after the types of questions students encounter on SAT and AP Exams. Based on the Pre-AP English 1 course framework, digital quizzes ask students to demonstrate classroom learning with texts not encountered in class. Students will receive score reports that contain explanations of all questions and answers and actionable feedback.
- Performance tasks: Each unit includes one summative performance-based assessment. Designed as early opportunities to practice the analytical writing required by the SAT essay and AP English exams, performance tasks ask students to write in response to texts not explicitly taught in class. The performance tasks build in complexity, moving from paragraph-level written analysis to multi-paragraph and then full essay length in units 3 and 4.
In order to use grades to communicate to you as a learner the skill level demonstrated in your work, I grade all assignments on a 4 point scale. The grade you receive on an assignment indicates your level of skill mastery demonstrated by that assignment. Exemplary work (4) is model work and demonstrates mastery of this skill area; Proficient work (3) indicates that you are capable and meeting standard in this skill area; Emerging work (2) shows that your skills in this area need some refining to meet standard, and Incomplete work (1) reveals a lack of understanding and/or ability and a need for additional instruction and practice in order to meet standard in this area. Missing work is entered as an M in the grade book, which receives a grade of a 1 as no evidence of understanding or ability in this skill area has been demonstrated. (TI in the grade book simply indicates that an assignment has been turned in. It may simply remain this way as a credit/no credit assignment, or it may be graded as soon as time allows. I try to enter work received as soon as possible so that students and parents are aware of any missing work right away.)
Inevitably, you will want to know what grade you have in this class. You are welcome to access your current grade for this class online at any time. What you see at any given time should reflect my assessment of the overall skill level on the skills we are focusing on in this class that you have been able to demonstrate at that point in time. Work that is mostly exemplary will translate into an A; mostly proficient work will translate into a B. Work that borders between emerging skills and proficiency will translate into a C; work that demonstrates a mostly emerging skill set will generally translate into a D. Work that is mostly below emerging will not receive a passing grade.
Here’s how your final numerical grade winds up being translated into a letter grade at the end of a grading period:
B+ = 3.16-3.32
C+ = 2.66-2.81
D+ = 2.16-2.31
A = 3.5-4.0
B = 3.0-3.15
C = 2.50-2.65
D = 2.0-2.15
A- = 3.33-3.49
B- = 2.82-2.99
C- = 2.32-2.49
F = < 2.0
As your teacher, I am deeply invested in your learning – your personal improvement and growth. I am only interested in your grade insofar as I am responsible to ensure that it accurately reflects your learning or your skill level. Please feel free to engage me in conversations about how to increase your learning or sharpen your skills, but not conversations about how to increase your grade. Please do not ask me how many points an assignment is worth. Our work together cannot be categorized in that way. I believe that the process is just as important as the product: our goals cannot be achieved without an investment in the daily work that culminates in the desired end result. In order to reflect this, formative work (daily tasks designed to help you learn the skills of the course and receive feedback to aid your learning) comprises about half of your grade in this class; summative work (larger unit assessments) constitutes the other half. You will get the most out of this class if you engage in all of our work with your best effort.
LATE WORK POLICY
It is the student’s responsibility to note due dates and to submit assignments by the day that they are to be turned in. If a student is unable to submit an assignment on time for whatever reason, the student has two weeks from the due date to submit late assignments following the late work procedure. All late work requires a completed late ticket in the “Late” box. On the ticket, the student must explain why the assignment was late and collect a parent signature. If this procedure is followed, late work is accepted for full credit. Late work will not be accepted after the two week deadline or without a completed late ticket.
My feedback you on an assignment is not an autopsy of what went wrong, it’s a diagnosis and prescription for growth into increased health. To be successful in this class you must be willing to improve through redoing work until it reaches the standard. Revising your work is how you learn and improve. Once I return graded work, you have two weeks to make changes and improvements and resubmit to the revised work box. Summative work may not be revised unless all of the formative work leading to the summative project has been completed. In order to submit a revision, the student must attach the original graded work (when applicable) and highlight all changes made on the new submission of the assignment with a brief explanation as to why he or she made each change. Revisions will not be accepted after the two week deadline or if the procedure for submitting revised work has not been followed.
In the case of an absence, whether excused or unexcused, it is the student’s responsibility to acquire any necessary make-up work outside of class time. Please come to me before or after class rather than interrupting our work in class with requests for make-up work. For excused absences, students have an extension on deadlines of any assigned work for the number of days they were absent. Students should still submit a late slip to explain why the work was turned in late, but they do not have to obtain a parent signature. For unexcused absences, students may submit work to the late box following the regular late work procedure.
Open communication between the teacher, student, and parent/guardian supports academic success. I will do my best to reach out; it is also important for me to hear from students and families if a question or concern arises so we can all work together to enable students to be successful. I endeavor to make myself available as much as possible outside of class time to support students, arriving at 7am and staying until 3pm every day. Please do not hesitate to see me for one-on-one assistance before school, during lunch, or after school any day. Additionally, I do my best to keep the class website up to date with current assignments and the online grade book as current as possible. I encourage you to check on your (or your student’s) work and progress in this class and e-mail or call me with questions or concerns.
Within the context of the classroom, students are expected to use electronic devices for academic purposes only at appropriate times. For optimal individual and whole class success, I expect that students will have electronic devices out of sight and out of use, unless instructed as appropriate to use for an assignment or activity. Upon entering the classroom, students will silence their phones and deposit them in a designated location in order to avoid unnecessary distraction during the class period. They may pick up their phones before they leave the class.
The written work that you submit for this class must be representative of your own abilities, not someone else’s. I expect that we will learn a great deal in conversation with one another, so discussing class material with your classmates is highly encouraged. However, all written work you submit must be entirely your own unless a) you are working on a group project which will be clearly specified as such or b) you are using and properly citing source material for an assignment that requires or allows you to do so. As you prepare your assignments for this class, remember that if you make use of a source (even if it’s just where you got a certain idea and you’re not quoting it word-for-word) and you do not properly cite it, this is plagiarism. Be sure that you understand whether or not it is appropriate to use a variety of sources in researching for an assignment or whether you are expected to produce written work reflective only of your own independent thinking. Keep in mind that when I ask you to reflect on a text, I’m not asking you to tell me what others think about it or how they have analyzed it. I’m asking you to analyze it. I want you to present and justify your own thinking, not rehash of the ideas of others. Submitted work that is not entirely one’s own will receive a disciplinary referral for academic dishonesty. First offense incidents of academic dishonesty for formative work result in a grade of zero on the assignment without the opportunity to redo the task. First offense incidents of academic dishonesty for summative work result in a minimum of a one-day suspension and the opportunity to redo the assignment. Complicity in acts of academic dishonesty – for example, giving another student access to your work – receives the same consequences. Please don’t resort to using work that is not your own. Instead of lifting something from the internet or using another student’s work, please come see me so that I can help. I believe that with effort and assistance (which is what I’m here for), all my students can achieve success in this class. And that’s my goal!
A SUPPORTIVE AND CHALLENGING LEARNING COMMUNITY
If we make a conscious choice to invest in our own learning and the learning of others, we have the power to create a positive learning environment – an enjoyable classroom climate in which we can all prosper and grow. To make our classroom a meaningful learning community, I will ask if we could all agree to do our best to practice these habits:
- READ CAREFULLY: Take care as you read that you’re actually processing the words on the page and working to understand and respond to the text. Ask questions, bring up disagreements, and talk back to the text. Reading is not a spectator sport; you must be involved and engaged.
- WRITE CONSCIOUSLY: Don’t write on auto-pilot. Write something real – your honest thoughts in your own voice. Put effort into your words. Write like it counts. But don’t let perfectionism stand in the way of getting your thoughts onto the page. Writing doesn’t have to be perfect to be meaningful and purposeful.
- SPEAK THOUGHTFULLY: You don’t need to be sure you have “the right answer” (which often doesn’t exist) before speaking up. In fact, responses that evidence an incomplete understanding are often more productive than ones that are spot on. Additionally, I am a big proponent of thinking aloud as a way of processing something and working out our thoughts as we go. But I do want you to put thought into your words and choose them carefully instead of speaking thoughtlessly or hurtfully.
- LISTEN EMPATHICALLY: Active listening shows that we care about what the speaker has to say, and in this class, everyone’s contribution is important. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes and recognize that you don’t have to agree with them to learn something from what they have to say. In fact, you may learn more from them if they’re coming from a point of view that’s difficult for you to swallow. Listen to understand; mutual understanding is foundational to any meaningful conversation.
- THINK CRITICALLY: Our thinking must go beyond the surface and really wrestle with deeper challenges, not just noticing or naming what is evident but evaluating and making judgments about what we see and hear. In order to help us all hone our critical thinking skills, I will often ask you to explain your thinking, saying, “What makes you think that?” or “Where do you see that?” or “Say more.” I want us all to be able to understand not just your conclusion but your process, which is just as important (if not more so).
- QUESTION COURAGEOUSLY: Be curious. Dig deeper. Do not be afraid to “get it wrong” or look dumb. We are all learners. Failure is a necessary step towards success. If we don’t take intellectual risks, then we never grow.
- ACT MINDFULLY: Be conscious of your actions and intentional with your behaviors. All of us have our moments when we’ve slipped up and become mindlessly reactionary, letting our emotions, our fears, or our hormones push us around and dictate our behavior. It’s never too late to start making choices about your actions instead of being controlled by impulses. Choose to be the person you really want to be.
- BE PRESENT: Come ready to learn every day; be prepared mentally and physically to give your full attention and best efforts to the work at hand. The quality of our class time together depends entirely on your preparation and participation. I do not assign busy work; none of our work together is frivolous. Your total engagement in and completion of all assignments is critical for your own learning and the learning of your classmates.
- STAY POSITIVE: A good attitude and sense of humor are key to success in many areas of life. Remember to keep an open mind, be eager to learn, believe the best about one another, and treat everyone with respect at all times. Negative or disrespectful comments or behavior will not be tolerated under any circumstances. Everyone should feel safe and valued here. Mutual respect and positive attitudes will make our endeavors together enjoyable and successful.