Welcome to your first high school English course!
This year we’ll focus on some of the “big picture” skills needed in high school, college, and life. Mostly, our focus will be on:
- critical thinking
- learning from mistakes
- self-reflection and evaluation
- building knowledge based on reliable sources
- better understand of humanity and our world
- enhancing communication
- reading for pleasure
- reading for analysis
- writing for pleasure
- writing for analysis
- Books for Sustained Silent Reading (SSR): Your choice, just make sure that you have it with you in the classroom. I am asking that you do not use your phones because texts and calls will interrupt you. If you’d like, you may use a Kindle or similar device.
- A notebook divided into 3 sections (with dividers to label each)*:
- Writing (this will include grammar/language use notes and more informal writing assignments)
*If you prefer a 3-subject notebook, that’s fine, but it needs to have built-in folders for handouts.
- Pens with dark-blue or black ink (Please do not submit assignments in pencil, it’s too difficult to read, among other things.)
- Talk to me, or email if that is easier, if you have any questions or concerns. Self-advocacy is an important skill.
- Use language that shows respect for everyone
- Ask questions, or come see me for extra help.
- Read the weekly sheets so that you are prepared each class for your best learning experience.
- Check the class web page for updates to the weekly sheets and assignments.
- Complete and submit assignments on time. If you do forget your assignment, please speak to me (especially if I should know something). Otherwise, homework is collected at the start of each class: Assignments suddenly “found” after SSR, or later in class, will not be accepted. If we’ve had a conversation, I’ll usually accept the work after class for half credit. Please be honest. Everyone makes mistakes, and, with this in mind, I drop the lowest homework grade at the end of each quarter.
- We operate on an A-B day schedule, which builds in some makeup time for work when you are absent. If you miss a class, all work is required the day you return (the work you missed when you were out, as well as the work that is due the day you return, including quizzes, tests, and papers). Again, see me if there are other circumstances that I should know, or if you had an extended illness.
- Field trips are not absences: If you miss class because of a field trip, assignments need to be submitted in the class collection drawer sometime that day.
- Be inside the classroom before the bell rings. This way you can submit your homework right away, and we can settle right into SSR and the rest of our lessons.
Books for English 9 We will only read some of these, and each unit will contain accompanying fiction and nonfiction texts, including films.
Lost in Yonkers, Animal Farm, Romeo and Juliet, Persepolis, Night, various poems, and your choices for SSR.
In addition to journal writing, creative writing, and analytical writing, there will be several assignments that are a part of the Writing and Learning Project. In Writing and Learning, you choose your subject for research, reading, and writing. Then you will take your knowledge and write pieces for some, maybe all the following writing purposes: express and reflect, inform and explain, evaluate and judge, inquire and explore, take a stand and propose a solution.
Most formal assignments will be shaped by the writing process: this means that you will create your pieces with any number of mistakes, but by the time you submit them, you will have crafted work that reflects your learning, and mastery of skillful writing.
One of my philosophies is that writing is rewriting: your first product rarely reflects your true abilities. With that in mind, you may rewrite as often as needed. Staple new, typed copies atop all previous drafts and the rubric that I marked. I will accept all until the deadline for the quarter.
Each quarter’s grade is based on a total-points calculation
Homework: 1-10 points for basic assignments
Quizzes: 10-50 points
Tests and projects: 50-100 points
Writing: 50-100 points
Participation: 5-10 points
Plagiarism: For you to learn your best, it's essential that you complete your own work. Plagiarism is when you take someone else’s work and submit it to me as if the work is comprised of your original thought(s). This, of course means that you may not take written work from the Internet, or even sections of other written work, and hand it in as your finished paper or project. This means that you may not copy answers or responses from classmates. Your answers should be original even if you work together. Most assignments are meant to generate your ideas and thoughts; most will not be about finding the correct answer. If your work is copied you and the other party will earn a zero (0) for that assignment.
Late Work and Other Policies
These rules are here to help you so that you don’t fall behind with the demands of your high school workload. They help keep you organized so that you can complete better work and learn.
*Please e-mail me if you have any confusion or need an extension. Learning to advocate for yourself is another great lesson. Parents, if you know of any problems, please let me know.
The following outlines the late paper and project policy developed by English teachers at the high school. All assignments are due in class on the date given. Papers and projects submitted after that time are subject to late points. All school days count – if we meet on A days and you submit it on the next day (a B day), 10 points are deducted. If you submit a paper on the next day that we meet for class, 20 points are deducted.
1 day late = -10% deduction
2 days late = -20% deduction
3 days late = -30% deduction
4 days late = -40% deduction
5 days late = -50% deduction
Work submitted on the due date, but after class is also subject to point deductions.
Some other clarifications about assignments and late points:
General homework assignments – assignments that are not essays and papers – are subject to different rules. They are due at the start of each class as many lessons are based on these assignments. If you do not have homework assignments at the start of class, there is an immediate 50% deduction. Yes, it’s that important to be prepared; the lesson won’t work without your prepared, written homework.
Field trips are not absences. If you miss class because of a field trip and an assignment is due that day, come to the classroom and submit it in the class collection drawer. Otherwise, it is subject to late points.
Additionally, I do not accept computer excuses for late papers or projects. Have several backup plans for when something goes wrong: This is a great life lesson!
Work needs to be submitted in dark blue or black ink. There are so many reasons why this is necessary, the foremost being legibility. Give me another half and hour and I can explain the other reasons.
Please contact me if you have questions via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or voice mail at 256-4175 ext. 69527.
Please sign and detach this bottom portion and return to Ms. Kamrass to show that you have read and understand this policy, and the course outline.
__________________________ ____________________________ ___________
parent/guardian name (print) parent/guardian name (sign) date
__________________________ ____________________________ ___________
student name (print) student name (sign) date