There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder

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English I Syllabus 2012-2013

Summerville High School

Instructor: Melyndee Butterfield

There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of

human intelligence, imagination, and wonder.”

Ronald Reagan

Course Overview and Philosophy:
English 1 is designed to be a college preparatory course, thus this course will provide you with the intellectual challenges and workload consistent with a typical 9th grade English course. Through this class, students will become analytical, reflective readers who will answer purposeful, profound questions about life and the human condition. Each student will build upon his or her knowledge of philosophy, world religions, and literature and play an integral role in the meaningful discussions about universal themes, human suffering, the search for self, social justice, and cultural, biographical, and historical values presented in each work. Through Socratic seminars, literature journals, class discussions, reading of novels, short stories, poetry, non-fiction, and plays, essay writing, extended projects, and presentations, students will gain a plethora of insight into how to build community through literature and answer essential questions tied to each reading selection. Students will also study the different literary devices authors use to help the reader better understand their stories and will write essays discussing these tools. They will become critics of literature and will learn how to write meaningful theses and organize their writing effectively while always keeping the purpose of the writing assignment in mind. Throughout the year, they will become confident writers who have established their own unique styles and will be prepared for junior/senior-level writing.
STUDENTS WILL WRITE A GOOD DEAL, and will revise certain pieces of their writing into polished final drafts. During the writing process, students will be exposed to their conscious choice of diction and the appropriate use of words, their ability to create varied and effective syntactic structures, their capacity for coherence and logical organization, their ability to balance generalizations with specific and illustrative details, and, overall, their ability to combine rhetorical processes into an effective whole.
Essential Questions
Throughout the year, you will examine the following recurring questions and the reasons we write and read literature in the first place:

  • What makes a story worth reading?

  • What makes a character live?

  • How do you tell a tale?

  • What are life’s big lessons?

  • Can you be persuaded?

  • Where do you find poetry?

  • Who’s got style?

Our learning goals
Throughout the year and with practice and then mastery, students will make the following statements:

  • I can identify the literal and figurative meanings of words.

  • I can distinguish between denotative and connotative meanings of words.

  • I can analyze structures and formats of functional documents.

  • I can explain how authors use the features in order to achieve their purpose.

  • I can synthesize content from several sources and paraphrase ideas and connect them to other sources.

  • I can judge how believable and author’s argument is and examine how the author’s intent, or purpose, influences the text’s structure and tone.

  • I can examine the conflicts, motivations, relationships, and influences of main and minor characters of a literary work and explain how those interactions affect the course of the story’s plot.

  • I can explain the importance of literary devices (metaphors, similes, imagery, allegory, and symbolism.

  • I can use precise language, action verbs, sensory details, appropriate modifiers, and active rather than passive voice.

  • I can write a clear, controlling thesis.

  • I can revise my writing.

  • I can develop the main ideas within the body of a text.

  • I can synthesize information from multiple sources.

  • I can demonstrate an understanding of: Proper English usage, control of grammar, paragraph and sentence structure, diction, and syntax.

  • I can produce legible work.

Performance Tasks:

  • Highlighting and annotating novels, short stories, and poems read throughout the course

  • The analysis of novels, drama, fiction and poetry, expected, but subject to change per teacher discretion:

    • Secret Life of Bees

    • The Odyssey

    • Romeo and Juliet

    • True Grit

  • Biographical narrative essay, response to literature essay, persuasive essay, comparative analysis essay

  • Business letters

  • Grammar

  • Dialectical journals, paragraph responses to reading, reading questions, presentations, and extended projects

  • Silent Sustained Reading with Book Review

  • Timed, in-class essays (based on past CAHSEE as well as teacher/student-generated prompts)

  • Editorial writing

  • Creative Writing (poetry and short stories)

  • Socratic Seminars

  • Grammar/Vocabulary Development

Writing Expectations:
Students will continually improve their writing through in-class, timed writing assignments and process essays. They will learn how to effectively organize their ideas, support their theses, and revise their work while writing multiple drafts of response to literature, persuasive, critical analysis, and narrative essays. Both teachers and students will provide feedback so that students can write well-developed, quality final drafts that include high-level, appropriate vocabulary and a variety of sentence structures. Every assignment is critical in the development of becoming a great writer. Therefore, continual editing and feedback will play an important role in the class.

  1. Each writing assignment will be accompanied by a grading rubric. The expectations will be clear from the onset and anchor papers (example student essays) based off of student writing will be created to help students visualize what a “high school-level” essay should look like. During workshops, students will discuss the critical elements of well-developed writing and will use 6-point rubrics that will help students assess effective critical writing. Please review each rubric carefully and check your essays before submitting them. All edited, rough drafts must be attached to ALL process essays and essays must be typed, double-spaced, and in MLA format.

  1. In-class, timed essays will also have attached rubrics. Students will be graded using these rubrics and will receive feedback as to the grade earned. They will have the opportunity to edit their work and turn in completed, final drafts. This will help them become more experienced writers and is an excellent way to prepare for the CAHSEE practice exam in March.

  1. Every unit will have a specific writing focus and the process paper written will be an incremental part of the grade for that unit. Students will spend time organizing their ideas, researching the style of essay, reading anchor papers, prewriting, editing their own work, peer editing, getting teacher feedback, revising, and completing final drafts. We will have individual writing conferences at least two times while writing each essay.

  1. Vocabulary is an integral part of any high school English course. Therefore, students will be required to continually study SAT vocabulary words and literary/writing terms. They will receive a list of these terms at the beginning of each week, which will indicate the quiz dates. Students will keep flashcards of these words, which will include the part of speech, the definition, a sentence using the word in the correct context, and the origin of the word. These flashcards will be counted towards the overall quiz grade.

Policies and Procedures

Regular Attendance:

Be here and be on time! When you are not, it has a negative impact on your participation in the class and on your grade. I will follow the Summerville policy regarding tardies. Don’t be late – it is rude.


Homework will be collected only once a week (on the Thursday or Friday at the end of the week) and will be accompanied by a homework slip that must be stapled to the top of it. Students get one free homework pass per trimester (once every two grading periods). Please note, students may only use these passes for weekly assignments, not for exams, quizzes, or major writing assignments. Each missing assignment must also include a written explanation as to why the assignment is missing.
Leaving the Classroom:

Leaving the classroom is frowned upon! You’re a mature student, and I assume that you are able to take care of your personal needs during your passing time. If an emergency arises and you feel you must leave the classroom for some reason, please wait until an appropriate time (not during the middle of a lecture!), and then approach me. You are allowed one bathroom break per 6-week grading period and must present my personal bathroom pass when you ask to go. I will then sign off for you, you will fill out the hall pass clipboard with the time you left, and you’ll promptly return, signing in again with the time you returned. Only one student is allowed outside of the classroom at a time, so please be quick. Please do not leave within the first or last 15 minutes of the class.

Citizenship Grade:

It is my philosophy that a student’s behavior does not reflect his or her academic grade. Therefore, any disruption to our learning environment (tardies, poor conduct, not working in groups, and breaking our classroom norms) will lower his or her citizenship grade to a “U”.


Earning an “A” in our class is completely dependent upon the hard work and dedication of each of our students. Being prepared to learn and work above and beyond our “normal” expectations will result in an excellent grade. “Above and beyond” means studying the materials outside of class, continually working on the writing process, rewriting essays, retaking tests, playing an integral role in groups work, and earning “A’s” on our summative assessments as well as our end of the semester cumulative projects. For each project and essay, students will receive grading rubrics to ensure that the expectations are clear. They will also receive anchor papers (model essays) so they can see what an excellent paper looks like. Grades are computed on a point system. Grades will be posted online frequently throughout the semester. Please email me if you would like additional grade reports throughout the term. Extra credit will not be accepted in this class.

Grading will be broken down as follows:
100% - 90% = A 89% - 80% = B 79% - 70% = C 69% - 60% = D 59% - 0% = F
Late Work:

All major graded assignments, papers, and projects are due on the date stated at the beginning of class. If you will be late or absent for any reason, email me the paper before class begins or else it will be late. If an major assignment is:

  1. one weekday late = 20% deduction c. Three or more weekdays late = no credit

  2. every calendar day after=10% deduction

Late homework assignments will not be accepted for credit unless the student has an excused absence.
Unexcused Absences: No credit will be given for work missed due to an unexcused absence.
Long-term assignments: If you are absent for any reason, you are still responsible for turning in long-term assignments on time, completing reading assignments on time, and finding out what work you missed. If you are afraid that you might become sick the night before an assignment is due, then complete it early and make sure it is handed in. Take advantage of email, friends, and siblings to deliver assignments.
Short-term assignments: a student with an excused absence may turn in work within two weekdays of his/her return. If you know you will be absent in advance, meet with me before you leave to determine due dates and assignments.
Make Up Exams and Quizzes:

In cases of excused absences, you may make up a test or quiz within two weekdays of your return to school. You are responsible for setting up an appointment with me to make up the work. If you do not make an appointment or do not show up, you will receive a zero. Please check with a classmate after all absences to learn about missed work, tests, and quizzes.

Formal Written Assignments:

All essays, papers, and written projects need to be typed, double-spaced with one-inch margins on all sides, and need to include the MLA formal heading (unless otherwise stated). Use Times New Roman font at all times. Always attach rough drafts, peer editing sheets, and the rubric to final drafts.

Required Materials:

Assignment calendar (a planner, whether self-created, or purchased. You must have these by the beginning of next week, or points will be taken from you. I can provide some if necessary, but if you let me know the day it is due, you will be docked points).

A three ring binder with plently of college-ruled paper

Bound Journal for writing prompts (I prefer you to have a Composition book, unless you have already purchased a notebook, which is fine. Composition books can be found rather inexpensively at Wal-Mart).

Independent reading novel (we will have reading time during your homework organization time each Thursday or Friday. Please bring a novel from home or one you check out independently from the library. Otherwise, you’ll be reading something you do not enjoy. This book should be brought by you within two weeks—please wait until library procedures have been accomplished by your librarian and the school before overwhelming her. You are always welcome to check out library books from the local town libraries as well, and I recommend it!!)
Integrity/Plagiarism Policy:

Cheating will not be tolerated under any circumstances. I consider plagiarism of any kind to be cheating (from any source including another student, tutor, or parent). Unless an assignment is specifically designed for partners, you are expected to do your own work. Students are encouraged to seek help with proofreading or editing; however, plagiarism is unacceptable and will result in a zero on the assignment. There are two types

of plagiarism: 1) inaccurate or incomplete citation of sources (unintentional plagiarism) and 2) a deliberate act of copying another’s work (intentional plagiarism). Both types of plagiarism are unacceptable and will result in equal consequences, so please cite your sources carefully. If a student is caught plagiarizing, he or she will receive a zero on the assignment. Additionally, school-wide policy requires a meeting with administration with each plagiarized item, Saturday school, and a school-wide email sent out to warn and notify other teachers of the plagiarism.
Eating and Drinking in class:

Please refrain from eating in class because it causes distractions. Feel free to bring water to class, but be prepared to clean up after yourself.

Electronic Devices:

Cell phones, ipods, PCs, and headphones are not to be used or seen in class when we are working in groups or direct teaching is in progress. If I see them out during this time, I will confiscate them for the school day. If a student is found texting during class, he or she will be referred to administration. However, one reward for entire class positive behavior is for students to use ipods quietly during individual writing assignments when class positive behavior is exhibited (which I expect to me normal and consistent). I will let students know when they may be used. Individual writing assignments do not happen every day, and this reward will only be given on the day it is earned.


In order to graduate from high school, students must pass the California High School Exit Exam, which tests their knowledge of both math and English language arts. Throughout the year, we will do the following:

  • Review past exams

  • Prepare for the writing portion of the exam, which includes:

    • studying the language of the different genres-- expository, response to literature, persuasive, and narrative-- practicing the writing process, and reviewing sample essays, examining the rubrics

  • Take practice tests

  • Review the standards upon which they will be tested and do in-class as well as outside of class activities to help them master the concepts

The practice test will be taken in March and resources are available on the California Department of Education website.
General Classroom Rules
1. Be Respectful

Treat your classmates, your teacher, yourself, and your environment kindly.

Do NOT talk down to anyone. We all have different strengths—learn from each other! There will be no put-downs, no profanity, no “shut-ups,” but rather kind words as is useful for the moment.

Raise your hand to speak

Be silent when someone else is speaking, and always track the speaker
2. Be Responsible

OWN your education. It is what you make of it!

Don’t make excuses, and always do your best.

Be on time and prepared; bring a pencil, notebook, textbooks, and binder to class every day.

3. Be Responsive

Stay awake. (Participating is the easiest way to stay awake)

Ask and answer a lot of questions.

Pay attention; I could call on you at any time!

When the going gets tough, persevere! Grow!
My Contact Information

*This is my preferred means of communication. Emails are quick and easy to respond to and I will return them as soon very soon after I read them.


*Any homework (if applicable), daily assignments, writing prompts, and essential questions will be posted each week. If a student misses a day of class, they are to check the website, email me, or call a student for makeup work.

*Currently, this website is under construction, but will be updated and refreshed the weekend of August 17th-19th.
Phone: 209.928.4228
Conferences: I am available before school for parent/teacher or student/teacher conferences. Please feel free to email, call, or stop by my classroom (302) to discuss your student’s progress. If you feel it will be a lengthier discussion, I would ask that you email or call to make an appointment in advance.


Print student’s name: _________________ Date: _____________ Period: _____________
Please sign and return this agreement, which is your first graded assignment. This is due at our next class period together.

I, _______________________, have read and understand the above-stated expectations

parent/guardian signature
I, _______________________, have read and understand the above-stated expectations

student signature

Parent Contact Phone Number: __________________________________________

Parent Contact E-mail: _______________________________________________

Homework Assignments, Week One:

  1. Turn in your signed syllabus (due this Thursday/Friday)

  2. Purchase supplies needed for school (checked Monday/ Tuesday)

  3. Come up with an organizational system to be used daily (such as a planner), and be prepared to show it Monday/ Tuesday!

  4. Register for an account on (the information you need is on the your class page i.e. "English 2"). Have your registration done by the end of next week (next Thursday/Friday). More information to follow by the end of this week, so please don’t try to register until you have received the log-in information.

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