Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Course Syllabus and Expectations

Course Syllabus
Advanced American Literature
Mr. Lawless

Welcome to Advanced American Literature!

Throughout the year we will be exploring and exercising the power of language. This power should not be underestimated or taken for granted. Language is the primary means by which we create and convey ideas, learn from and persuade others, reflect and shape culture, and entertain each other. Nowhere is this more evident than in the frenetic cultural evolution of North America.

While many of the materials and themes covered here are similar to those in English III, this course will focus less on literal comprehension and more on analysis, comparison, and inference. In order to flourish here you must demonstrate more than just academic. You must actively seek out your own paths of inquiry in an effort to create knowledge. Here are some things we will be tackling.

We will:

• Demonstrate comprehension of cultural and historical perspectives in American literature.
• Integrate new vocabulary in verbal expression.
• Apply the writing traits to form coherent essays.
• Comprehend and apply delivery techniques in oral presentations.
• Develop sophisticated logical arguments using evidence and reason.
• Demonstrate literal, inferential, evaluative, and comparative comprehension skills.
• Extend and deepen comprehension by relating texts, experiences, issues, and events.
• Explore how literature records, reflects, communicates, and influences human events.
• Read and respond to literary works from a variety of literary forms including novels, short stories, poetry, music, drama, essays, and nonfiction.
• Evaluate how literature is influenced by historical, cultural, social, and biographical factors.
• Use writing as a tool to learn, reflect, and communicate for a variety of audiences and purposes.
• Write and speak in a variety of modes and forms appropriate to audience and purpose.
• Develop CIM work samples for persuasive formal speaking and essay writing.
• Learn from each other’s successes, challenges, and experiences.
• Have fun.

You will have dozens of different opportunities to accomplish each of these goals. In general, though, these opportunities to demonstrate your skill, expertise, and improvement will fall into four major categories.

• Portfolio of formal written work such as essays, stories, poems, etc.
• Tests and Quizzes, both written and oral, on specific skills, concepts, and information.
• Projects that demonstrate applied textual and conceptual understanding
• Homework and Participation: in class assignments and essentially just keeping up

Your performance and improvement in each of these categories will be judged separately and then added together with equal weight (25% each) to comprise your final grade for this course.

Course Expectations

As stated on the opposite page, your grade will consist of four equal parts, the first three being primarily connected to your academic performance. It is the “HPA” portion of your grade, however, that tends to cause the greatest stress and confusion among students. Simply put, homework, participation, and attendance aren’t graded but they DO IMPACT YOUR GRADE!

For instance, I will not pore over your homework assignments and rigorously proofread every sentence, but I will check to see that you’ve done it. Likewise, I will not give you a reading quiz to hold you accountable for every night of assigned reading but I will expect that you keep up and may check on you in creative and unexpected ways.

1. Written homework assignments will typically be given as a preparatory exercise for what’s coming up, so it will often help you understand what will happen the following day.
2. Homework will only be turned in when I ask for it.
3. I will not always tell you in advance whether or not an assignment will be collected.
4. Most of your homework, however, will not be written. You will be given sizable reading and research assignments throughout the year so that we don’t need to spend class time on things we could perhaps do more effectively elsewhere.
5. FOR EACH INCOMPLETE HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT YOU WILL LOSE ONE OF YOUR 25 HPA POINTS FOR THE QUARTER.

Moreover, I will not assign you a B+ of some other grade for each decent comment during class discussion, but I will keep track of how often and how appropriately you engage in classroom activities day to day and week to week.

6. FOR EACH DAY OF OFF TASK OR NON-PARTICIPATORY BEHAVIOR YOU WILL LOSE ONE OF YOUR 25 HPA POINTS FOR THE QUARTER.

Additionally, I will not pester you for excuses for each of your absences or for every time you are tardy to class, but I will be keeping track of your attendance habits and applying them to your grade. If you are not in class it is impossible for you to participate in class, regardless of the reason for your absence. While this is a pretty rigid guideline, there are occasionally situations (such as required academic or athletic activities) for which I will make exceptions. However, just because a parent or the office “excused” or “prearranged” an absence does not mean that I will. Vacations that keep you out of school, for example, might be “excused” by a parent but will not alleviate your responsibility to this class and will be treated accordingly. Therefore, plan them accordingly and choose wisely.

7. FOR EACH ABSENCE YOU WILL LOSE ONE OF YOUR 25 HPA POINTS.
8. FOR EACH TARDY YOU WILL LOSE ONE THIRD OF ONE HPA POINT.

Finally, there are some specific items I must mention here so that there will be no confusion later.

9. COME PREPARED TO CLASS. If you don’t, you will be sent out to prepare yourself and marked tardy upon your return.
10. DO NOT BRING ANY FOOD OR DRINK TO CLASS OTHER THAN H2O.
11. DO NOT BRING NUISANCE ITEMS. EACH STRIKE WILL COST ONE HPA POINT.
o 1st strike: It’s mine until 3:00 PM the next school day.
o 2nd strike: It’s mine until 3:00 PM the following Monday.
o 3rd strike: It’s mine for seven days, then a parent can retrieve it in person, by appointment.

If you have any questions or concerns about any of these expectations, please feel free to discuss them with me during class today, individually by appointment, or via email: heisquitemad@hotmail.com

3 comments:

Samman101 said...

School is awsome

heisquitemad said...

Yes, when operated correctly, a school can indeed inspire awe.

R. Tiberius Deyhle said...

I totally agree with you Mr. Lawless!. Except when you get icky, nasty mono and school is very tiring and everyday seems like a battle to pull through.