Tuesday, July 31, 2012


11th Grade U.S. Literature

Asuncion Christian Academy
Avenida Santisimo Sacramento 1181
Casilla 1562 – C.P. 1209
Asuncion, Paraguay, South America
+595 21 607-378 or 613-801

Luke Alden Scandrett-Leatherman
Email:  lscandrett@aca.edu.py


“…students need a structured, sequential development of the skills which maximizes their ability to listen, speak, read, write, observe, and think critically. These skills are highly interrelated, mutually enforcing and reinforcing, and essential to effective communication. Language is the fundamental means by which thoughts, ideas, feelings, and emotions are conveyed. Therefore, a variety of planned instructional strategies will be used stressing teacher-student interaction so that the student will learn to organize and express thoughts through speaking and writing, and will receive, reflect upon, and evaluate the thoughts of others through reading and listening. Students must be given the means of enjoying and appreciating literature that fosters an understanding of life.”[1]  

Course Description

U.S. Literature involves reading numerous literary works, and examining writing techniques, to develop an appreciation for the power of language.  Through literature, students will learn about a variety of perspectives and experiences, and discover how conflict, action, themes, setting, and characters are combined to create vibrant language. Students will relate readings to particular time periods in U.S. history and explore a variety of genres.  They will analyze works known for their historical and cultural significance and literary depth.  Reading, writing, speaking, and listening, tools used to explore literature and facilitate critical thinking, will hone student’s ability to synthesize major concepts and rhetorical strategies. 
Through writing, students will become aware of their own ability to construct meaning; they will develop styles of argument, research, critical analysis, and reflection, and enrich their vocabulary usage.  Students will dissect literature with thoughtful, well-supported, ideas.  The end result is fluency, focus, coherence, and a confident use of language.
The course will also focus on how the use of diction, syntax, and literary techniques can stylistically form a piece of literature.  Students can expect to frequently evaluate works by various authors of literary merit.  The mastery and knowledge of critical reading and writing skills will prepare students for college entrance exams like the SAT.  To participate fully in class discussion students to will use strategies like critical annotation to fortify their understanding.  Reading strategies will be emphasized and reinforced periodically throughout the semester. Student must be confident in their interpretations of what they’ve read and open to ideas about new schools of thought.  Above all, they should respectfully defend their own ideas with support, organization, and reason, recognizing that literary criticism must be clarified and refined.  

2 journals (18 cm x 27 cm) (1 for responding to reading/personal journal, 1 for notes)
1 large binder (for saving vocabulary work/worksheets)
100 pages of loose leaf paper (for vocabulary exercises and other assignment)
1 two-hole hole puncher
1 folder for keeping papers/drafts


1. Respect everyone
2. Remain seated unless given permission to do otherwise.
3. Be silent when the teacher or another student is talking.
4. Keep your hands and other objects to yourself.
5. Come prepared to class.
6. Clean up after yourself.
7. Stay awake.
8. No eating, drinking, or gum (water is permitted).
9. Be attentive, don’t distract others, and participate in class. You are in school to learn.  If there is a problem please talk to me outside of class time.
10. No phones.  1st offense: Confiscate for day       2nd offense: Give to the office
11. Use English


Students with an unexcused tardy will receive the opportunity to write a creative, descriptive one-page journal documenting their adventures on the school grounds. 

Absences/Late Work:

Excused Absences:  Students will have one day to make-up assignments and/or one day to make up a test or quiz for each day of class was missed.   It is the student’s responsibility to turn in make-up work and to make up tests/quizzes.

Unexcused Absences or Unauthorized Absences:  No credit for any work due that day including homework, an essay, quiz, test, or assessment.

Late work:  Work is due on the due date, unless other arrangements have been made. However, students can turn in essays up to 5 days late with a loss of a letter grade each day.  On the fifth day, the student’s essay will receive no more than half credit.  This is true of all drafts; however, each step in the writing process must be completed before the final draft is accepted.[2]


25% Papers (including pre-writing, thesis, outline, drafts, editing, and final drafts)
20% Participation*: 10% discussions
 10% In-class work: (SAT sample tests, vocabulary, personal                            journal time, SSR)
20% Projects (group presentations, skits, speeches, artistic response)
15% Reader-Response Journal (respond to reading, explore and practice new ideas/skills)
10% Homework (mostly reading outside of class, usually evaluated through RRJ)
10% Tests (review major skills/concepts, critical thinking, and essay/paragraph response)

(20% Final exams: they are cumulative; thus, good notes are imperative.)   

* Participation is vital to the student’s success and overall grade. The students will received 1-5 points based upon correct responses, perceptive comments, and insightful observations. Attendance and punctuality are necessities for significant participation.

Academic Dishonesty

Plagiarism, using another person’s work as your own is not tolerated.  Students who cheat or plagiarize in any way will be given a zero (0) on the assignment and sent to the office.  Student’s parents will be notified about academic dishonesty.  This includes, but is not limited to, copying answers from fellow students, using work from past students as your own, and using past assignments and submitting them as recently completed work.


Students will directly talk to the teacher concerning their behavior.  If necessary the following are consequences for disruption:

            1st offense:     Teacher/Student Conference
            2nd offense:    Teacher/Student Conference and Parent Contact
            3rd offense:     Teacher Assigned Detention and Parent Contact
            4th offense:     Referral to the Office

Major Projects/Papers/Assignments

I want to give clear guidelines so you can adequately prepare and focus your work.  On assignments where I have not given you a rubric AND at least one sample, please kindly refuse to do the project J.  In this way, you’ll be keeping me accountable as a teacher.   

Rubric for Class Discussion

5                    Four or more salient comments
Consistent focus of topic(s)
Respectful to peers and open to new ideas
Defends points with reasoned and specific support
Explored interaction of several elements to convey the message
Rich in detail, specific vivid language with direct quotes
Imaginative, insightful, well-chosen ideas
Fully elaborated; clearly ordered, well developed ideas
Demonstrates a sense of closure in ideas

4                    Three or more salient comments
Central focus on topic
Elaborated, organized with a sense of order
Some insight, adequate detail and direct quotes
Somewhat fluent
Demonstrates a sense of closure

3                    Two or more salient comments
Some communication of ideas but inadequately developed
Limited logic and inconsistent organization of ideas
Limited details and general language with little or no use of quotes
Lacking in fluency
Little sense of closure

2                    One or less salient comments
Central ideas are not clear
Little or no comments
Limited insight, little elaboration
Ideas are not focused, irrelevant ideas and details
Limited support for ideas
Little support for ideas
Flaws in organization and no closure

1                    One or less salient comments
Topics are barely or not addressed
Lack of organization
No relevant ideas
Minimal or no support for ideas
Only irrelevant details
Rambles and lacks any closure

Rubric created by: James Economon, Metro High School

Reader’s Response Journals

Over the course of this year, one of the big assignments that will carry us through is the journal. The purpose behind the journal is to allow you a space to free-write and develop ideas and questions without fear of being rigorously graded upon what you write. Think of the journal as a free space to gather and generate thoughts about discussions and readings in the course. This free space does not mean you should take the journal lightly. You will be graded on the content of your journal and the effort you put forth. Journals will be collected periodically throughout the quarter.

Your journal will consist of three parts with each daily assignment:

1.      Part 1: 20 points: A directed reflection on readings and/or topic for each class (at least one page, handwritten)

For each assignment, I have given you a topic or a question or an excerpt to respond to in your journals. Sometimes the prompt will ask you to analyze a specific feature of the text itself. Other times, I will ask you to write on a topic or issue that will feed into class discussion. What you should be aiming for in this writing is getting your critical insights, reactions, and thoughts to the reading or topic down on paper. Don’t worry excessively about grammar and organization. You should be focusing on synthesizing what you have just read (combining ideas in different ways) or analyzing critically the topic. Ask questions, challenge the author, draw upon other sources you have read or seen. This section should not be a summary of the reading! It should be a reaction to it. What do you think?

2.      Part 2: 5 points: An in-class response by another student to your reflection.

For the first 5-10 minutes of class you will swap journals with another person in class. You will then read over what the other person wrote and write a response to their writing in the journal. This will help you respond to others’ work and to get us geared up for class. Think about your responses as a silent dialogue with someone else about the same topic. Was the response the same or different? Do you agree or disagree with your classmate’s reflections? Can you point out areas or bring up points that would contradict, clarify, strengthen, or enhance their reading? The goal of this section is to respond to another writer/thinker like you would engage with a work of literature. The aim is not to rip apart another person’s interpretation. Be critical by conscientious. Sign and date entry. WARNING:  Should you arrive tardy you will not have the opportunity to have someone respond to your journal and you will not be able to respond to someone else’s journal which will cost you points in the overall grade.

3.      Part 3: 5 points A synthesis of new insights based upon peer response and in-class discussion (2 paragraphs)

After class, think about our discussion, presentations, and what your classmates wrote. Then write a brief response in your journal that reevaluates that you originally wrote and thought. Have you gained a deeper insight or understanding of what you have read? How has your initial response changed? What new insights have you gained? What other ideas or questions do you have? The point behind this section is to get you used to rethinking through your ideas and revising your original writing.

Total ___/ 30                                                  
RRJS: James Economon, Metro High School

[1] Economon, James.  Advanced Placement in Language and Composition 1 & 2.

[2] Boehm, Scott. Course Policies and Procedures.