Course Expectations – Modern Literature

Course Expectations – Modern Literature

I. Course Scope and Description

A. Course Description

  • This one-year course is designed to survey modern literature through the 21st century. This course is designated as honors level by the accelerated instructional pacing and depth of content. Emphasis is placed on the development of critical reading and writing skills. Instructional practices incorporate integration of diversity awareness including appreciation of all cultures and their important contributions to society. The appropriate use of technology is an integral part of this course. The course fulfills either one of the English credits or the arts/humanities credit required for high school graduation.

B. Scope and Goals

  • To use word analysis and strategies to comprehend new words encountered in complex text and to develop and extend advanced vocabulary. [NS: 1.0]
  • To use and extend reading process skills and strategies to build comprehension of advanced text. [NS: 2.0]
  • To evaluate and critique the use and purpose of advanced literary elements, stylistic devices, and techniques used by English writers. [NS: 3.0]
  • To analyze the socio-economic, political, religious, and philosophical aspects of English literature from the Anglo-Saxons through the 20th century. [NS: 3.0, 4.0]
  • To apply the five stages of the reading process: prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing to develop compositions that demonstrate stylistic maturity and advanced organization. [NS: 5.0]
  • To write a variety of advanced narrative, descriptive, expository, and persuasive compositions that develop complex themes or ideas. [NS: 6.0]
  • To write complex analyses of advanced literary and expository texts.
  • [NS: 3.0, 4.0, 5.0, 6.0]
  • To refine and extend effective listening and speaking skills. [NS: 7.0, 8.0]

C. Textbooks

  • Most texts and background reading will be made available on this website or the Moodle through Internet links.  Students are expected to read the online materials and download/print on an as-needed basis.  Students who are unable to accomplish this aspect of the course need to speak with the teacher as soon as possible.
  • Selected handouts as needed.

II. Course Outline

  •  The course outline will be both chronological and thematic.

 III. Grading Policy

  •  Please be aware that I do not “round up” any grades. If a student receives 59.9%, she or he has earned a letter grade of “F,” not “D.” Please do not expect this grade to be rounded up to a passing score.

A. Grading Scale

  •  90-100% = A
  • 80-89% = B
  • 70-79% = C
  • 60-69% = D

60% is the minimum passing grade. CCSD policy does not entitle its students to automatic “rounding” of a borderline grade, nor will extra credit be given. Students should not have the expectation that if their grade is below a certain number that it will be “rounded” or artificially inflated. Students should especially consider the importance of this fact if they are prospective graduating seniors.

B. Description of Grading Procedures

1. Weighted Grades

  • Writing=40%. This includes final drafts of all essays, in-class essays, compositions, paragraphs, or other finished products of writing.
  • Tests=30%.  This includes quizzes, tests, or other objective assessments of understanding.  This category does not include the midterm or final.
  • Participation=20%. This includes all forms of discussion or preparation for class activities. Discussion or other class activities are intended to demonstrate prior or ongoing preparation for the class, to prove that one has read the work or done an activity necessary for full participation in subsequent classroom activities, to provide evidence that one has thought about the issues to be discussed, and to show that one is prepared to engage with the thoughts of others
  • Other = 10%.  This includes assessments of student mastery other than writing or objective tests.  This category may include such demonstrations of mastery as book talks, for example.

2. Attendance

  • Obviously, attendance has a huge effect on your grade. Although attendance and make-up work will be handled according to CCSD policy, there are some classroom experiences that cannot be repeated. Please be here; it helps your grade.

3. Citizenship Grade

O = The O is the default grade for citizenship and will include the following behaviors:

  • The student arrives on time for class.
  • The student is fully prepared to participate in activities or discussion and comes equipped with all necessary materials.
  • The student’s movement is appropriate for the activity at hand.
  • The student acts respectfully toward the teacher and other students.
  • The student obeys class and school rules.

S = Satisfactory

  • The student occasionally lapses in the above-named behaviors, but maintains them at least 70% of the time.

 U = Unsatisfactory

  • This citizenship grade will be given if the student frequently lapses in appropriate behaviors including those named above. Parent contact may be made to discuss possible courses of improvement.

NOTE: Please note that I would like all cell phones to be turned off or put on silent mode.  Texting, IM’ing, or communication on social networking sites during class is not appropriate under any circumstances.  Please maintain an attitude of respectful courtesy during class and use electronic devices appropriately — that is, as aides to your understanding, not distractions from it.

4. Notebooks

  • The notebook will contain homework, notes, returned work, and class handouts. The notebook will be checked periodically and will count as a homework assignment. The student should keep all g raded work and all assignments within the notebook at all times. In the event of a grade dispute, the student’s graded work is proof that s/he has completed the work and received a grade. Without that proof, the student may be required to resubmit or redo an assignment.

5. Homework

  • Homework will normally be assigned on a once- or twice-weekly basis. Homework will normally be checked and recorded, but will not normally count toward a grade. Homework will be a chance for the student to practice the course concepts or prepare for the class. Please be advised that if a student’s grade drops below an acceptable level, the homework checks may be referred to during any conference between the student’s parent and the teacher in order to demonstrate that the student has or has not engaged in supplementary practice provided for mastery of course goals and objectives.
  • Please presume that all work, classwork, or homework done for this class, unless clearly specified otherwise, is to be the product of an individual student’s mind. “Getting help” from another person to the point where the integrity of the student’s own work comes under question is not advised in the least and may lead to the teacher’s decision that the work violates the academic honesty policy. Copying, “borrowing,” or “getting help” from another student when the work is expected to have been done individually may possibly result in a grade of “0” for the assignment, attempted parent contact and discussion, and (if further incidents of dishonesty occur), a “U” in citizenship for the quarter for failure to follow classroom rules.

6. Spelling, Grammar, Neatness

  • All compositions are to be typed, double-spaced, and in a font size between 10-12 pt. All assignments are to be neatly written on non-spiral paper. All assignments must be proofread for grammar, spelling, mechanics, and usage errors. Should a student attempt to submit a paper that falls outside those guidelines, it will not be accepted until after a wholesale, thorough revision has been performed and may lose point value.

7. Extra Credit Policy

  • No extra credit will be given, nor will grades be rounded. Please concentrate on earning credit by completing the assigned work.

C. Basis for Quarter and Semester Grades

1. Quarter Grades

  • The quarter grades will each count for 45% of the semester grade. 

2. Semester Grades

  •  The semester examinations will count for 10% of the final grade.

 D. Make-up Procedures

  •  Makeup procedures will be handled according to school and district policy. The student is required to initiate contact with the instructor to obtain appropriate makeup work within three school days following the student’s return. Students may make up work at any time prior to two weeks before quarterly grades are to be submitted by the teacher. 

 IV. Classroom Behavior Expectations 

A. Proper Use of Computers

  • Computers are to be used for legitimate research directly related to the class objectives. Students will be expected to access the course website frequently for information regarding the course content, activities, methods, and texts. Students are expected to adhere to the Acceptable Use Policy of CCSD.
  • Additionally, electronic devices including (but not restricted to) cell phones, mp3 players, handheld devices, or other technology may be prohibited during class time, particularly if they interfere with students’ ability to succeed.  Texting during class is always prohibited.

B. Proper Use of Internet

  • Students are expected to adhere to the Acceptable Use Policy of CCSD.

C. Tardies

  • If students are tardy, they are to sign into the tardy book as they enter with their name, the date, and the time entered. Please make sure writing is legible. This tardy notebook is proof that students were present in class on that day.

D. Behavior During In-Class Work

  • Students will be expected to participate daily in classroom activities and discussion. In addition to being required as part of the CCSD Power Standards, discussion is a valid alternate assessment and demonstrably effective in increasing student performance and mastery of material (see Robert J. Marzano, Classroom Instruction That Works, pp. 85-91, 104-110) . Students will also be expected to demonstrate appropriate politeness to other students and the teacher.

E. Talking

  • Please keep conversations appropriate, on the appropriate topic, and at an appropriat evolume. Violations of this classroom policy may result in disciplinary action.

F. Progressive Discipline Plan

  • Student discipline will proceed according to school policy.

G. Beginning and End of Class

  • Please enter, sit at your assigned seat, and begin working or assemble materials needed for class participation. Please wait to be dismissed.

H. Daily Materials

  • Please bring a three-ring binder and dividers. Please bring the text or materials we are currently reading.  Please keep all writing, tests, handouts, vocabulary, graded work, or class materials for the ENTIRE year. If your grade is disputed and you do not have the work to provide evidence of work completed, the default grade will of necessity be a zero. 

V. Items Unique to Modern Literature Honors

 A. Academic Honesty

  • Academic dishonesty, also known as plagiarism, can be defined as taking credit for, presenting as one’s own, or putting into one’s own words the words, ideas, concepts, analyses, thought, creative products, or data of another person or organization without giving appropriate written credit to that person or organization in the form of both internal citation and a works cited list provided in one’s own document. Plagiarism also includes improper or incorrect citation.  Cheating can be defined as a form of plagiarism (above) or as using the products of another person’s mind or an external source of data to provide answers on an examination, a written assignment, a project, or other coursework or activity.
  • Plagiarism and cheating will not be tolerated. Any student caught cheating will receive a zero on his or her work with no possibility of make-up, a parent conference, and (if the academic dishonesty continues) a U in citizenship for the quarter based on failure to follow classroom rules. No recommendations for college, scholarship, employment, or other recommendations will be given by me for any student who cheats or plagiarizes.
  • At any point, your written work may be submitted to a plagiarism detection service such as Please be advised that if there is similarity between a student’s paper and information contained within the database, that student will be presented with the data, the teacher will attempt to contact the student’s parents, and a grade of “0” [zero] will be given on the paper with no possibility of make-up.
  • Please presume that all work done for this class, unless clearly specified otherwise, is to be the product of an individual student’s mind. “Getting help” from another person to the point where the integrity of the student’s own work comes under question is not advised in the least and may lead to the teacher’s decision that the work violates the academic honesty policy. Copying, “borrowing,” or “getting help” from another student when the work is expected to have been done individually may possibly result in consequences for academic dishonesty.

B. Bias Prevention

  • In order to minimize potential positive or negative bias, much of your work (including but not restricted to papers, compositions, essays, tests, projects, or other work) will be submitted under classroom-appropriate pseudonyms of your owninvention. A grade will assigned before I am aware of your true identity. Please do not use the same pseudonym repeatedly; it will quickly lose its ability to conceal your true identity.  Also, please keep track of your pseudonym because if I don’t know that a piece of writing was completed by you, I have to mark it as a “zero” in my grade book.

C. Videos and Films

  • During the year, we may show portions of stage productions, films, or performances in compliance with CCSD guidelines to support the curricular goals and objectives.


Thank you for being my students. I look forward to being your teacher.



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