Course Syllabus for Advanced English 10
Mrs. Allison Becker
All classes are taught in D 114 (open classroom, 1st floor of D pod)
Recurring Google Meet link for Remote Students:
Students in Advanced English 10 explore the wide variety of tools Language Arts offer. These tools allow people to experience and share different and important voices, which helps us to all better navigate and contribute to various social worlds. Our theme for the year is Adversity and Diversity: Justice Around the World. To begin to explore this theme, we start the year with the critical analysis of rhetoric. We then further explore the importance of narrative form and how it impacts the author’s message when we analyze the strengths and weaknesses of poetry, graphic novels, short fiction, and the blending of perspectives in fiction. We spend one marking period looking specifically at the power of storytelling--through both fiction and non-fiction-- to help illuminate and understand larger societal conflicts. We end the year exploring the power of the playwright, and how drama can be used to bring awareness and understanding to larger audiences.
All instructional materials will be available and turned in through our Canvas page, so you will need to bring a charged laptop and earbuds that connect to your device to each in person and remote class. We will also engage in 10-15 minutes of free choice reading each day, so if you love a “real” book, you would need to bring that with you, too.
This year we will be reading:
Various Historic and Political Speeches
Various modern poems
Choice Novels (teacher’s choice)
Free Choice Readings (student choice)
American Born Chinese (graphic novel)
The 57 Bus
The Lord of the Flies
This year you will be writing a fully processed:
Persuasive open letter (student choice of topic)
Exploration of narrative form
Research paper in MLA format
Additionally, we will write frequent:
Shorter literary responses
Practice constructed responses
Grading and Expectations
Grades are compiled on a point system. Each assignment has points assigned: basic homework assignments and quizzes tend to be 5 points, informal and in-class responses tend to be 10 points, presentations can range from 20-40 points, and formal papers will generally fall between 50-100 points. It is my hope that you will be far more concerned with your learning and thinking than with your grades, though. Sometimes, as Taylor Mali writes, “a C+ [can] feel like a Congressional medal of honor and an A- [can] feel like a slap in the face,” and I get that.
I am also committed to the concept of grading you once you have learned, not as you are learning. So, that means that I may assign work that I don’t grade, but that I use as a measure to see how well you are mastering ideas/concepts. It also means that you are allowed to revise fully processed papers as many times as necessary to get the desired learning outcome. That’s right: IF YOU HAVE COMPLETED ALL THE REQUIRED PRE-WRITING, AND THE PAPER IS COMPLETE AND TURNED IN ON-TIME, PAPERS CAN BE REWRITTEN AS MANY TIMES AS NECESSARY TO EARN THE DESIRED GRADE, up to the week before the end of the unit. Isn’t that amazing? That means that you can honestly earn whatever grade you desire, as long as you are willing to work for it. Now this doesn’t apply to all writings, but it will apply to big papers, and it is through the process of revision that I usually see the most learning happening.
Basically, you must be the sole author of all work produced in this class. Plagiarism is defined as the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work. Intentional plagiarism occurs when a student knowingly submits someone else’s words or ideas as if they were his/her own. Unintentional plagiarism occurs when writers and researchers use the words or ideas of others but fail to quote or give credit (perhaps because they don't know how). When in doubt, students must check with a teacher or librarian.
Additionally, this course exists for people who want to read and think and discover books for themselves. Spark Notes or Cliff Notes or any other online “notes” on the texts we read in this class should be unnecessary for you—I am far more interested in your original thoughts than having you parrot mundane information from these types of sources. Keep in mind, confusion is often the site where learning occurs. Don’t be embarrassed if you don’t understand the readings. Before you cheat, communicate: ask for an extension and a writing conference. Others may have similar questions.
Inclusive Excellence is the understanding that working, living, and learning environments benefit when diversity is recognized and utilized. Inclusive Excellence helps us to engage in civil conversation with those who hold views that differ from our own; and to socialize with persons who have had different life experiences. SCASD does not tolerate racism, violence or bullying by any individual or group. Just as importantly, we are actively working toward a more inclusive and caring environment to provide every student with a respectful, safe, and positive experience on a daily basis.
I am happy and eager to meet with you about anything you may need. I am available both block 2 and block 3 to meet either in person or in zoom, whichever you prefer. Just email me or talk to me in person to set up a time to chat.
Block 1: Advanced English 10
Block 2: Open for help by appt
Block 3: Open for help by appt
Block 4: AP English 12
Student Resources and Mental Health
SCASD and I are committed to advancing the mental health and wellbeing of its students. If you or someone you know is feeling overwhelmed, depressed, and/or in need of support, services are available. Additional resources are described and linked below:
Safe2Say: threats, behaviors, actions and harassment. Examples include bullying or intimidation, threats of self-harm or bragging about planning an attack, violence, depression and social isolation, reckless behavior and substance abuse.
SAP: any non-urgent concern related to something that is a barrier to learning, or is preventing a student from being successful in school (substance use, mental health, or other)
REACT: to help any State high community member who feels that she or he is a victim of an act of bias or discriminatory behavior. REACT is not a punitive entity. The mission of this initiative is to promote education and dialogue around issues of diversity and inclusion.
Centre County Crisis/Emergency Services: 1-800-643-5432 (open 24/7)
If you have concerns that you/ a peer, or someone else is experiencing an urgent mental health crisis, please call Center for Community Resources.
A PERSONAL NOTE FROM MRS. BECKER...
I want to propose a mindset for this year, one that has helped me a great deal in my own growth to become an interesting and interested person. The mindset is one of open inquiry and trust, where we see every activity as a place for learning to happen if we make it happen. In other words, every activity you engage in can be made meaningful or it can be made into busy work, depending on your desire to learn from the activity. On my part, I want to make you a promise not to assign work that I see as having little ability to help your reading, writing, understanding, and critical literacy skills. You’ll have to trust that I won’t give you busy work and you will have to agree not to treat potentially meaningful activities as such.
I am also committed to the idea of “teaching up,” which means that I will set high standards for academic success, and make sure that you are personally supported in ways that makes it possible (if you provide the hard work) to reach a level of excellence in your understandings and writings.
Finally, I want all of you to know that I am unconditionally dedicated to your success. I am in your corner, and I try as hard as I can to put what is best for you at the forefront of my thinking at all times. I am a teacher, and I am a mother, and I will work as hard for your success as I would want a teacher to work for my sons or daughter. But most of the responsibility for success rests on your shoulders. Carry it well.