English II: American Literature
What does it mean to be an American? English II is a college-preparatory course designed to help answer that question. The American Dream brings with it high hopes, high expectations, and rigid realities for many people. We cannot celebrate the glorious freedoms in America without examining its limitations. Although the literary pieces we shall read can stand alone as works of art, the focus of the course is to use the literature as a means of understanding our society in which we live.
• Think critically: Learn to analyze and interpret what we read, write and say.
• Improve writing skills: Learn better grammar, prewriting, drafting and editing techniques.
• Refine English language usage: Learn and use correct grammar, spelling, punctuation and vocabulary.
• Appreciate literature: Learn to enjoy and respect novels, poetry, short stories, plays and the creative process.
• Develop communication skills: Learn to use academic and social language strategies.
• Gain skills to pass the Maryland High School Assessment for English, which you will take near the end of the school year. You must pass the assessment to graduate high school.
Required Course Texts
Elements of Literature, Fifth Course: Literature of the United States
The Crucible by Arthur Miller
Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie (summer reading)
The following are texts that students must purchase on their own throughout the course. I’ve included the approximate list price to give you and your parents an idea about how much you will be spending. Often, books are available much cheaper if purchased used, via bookstores or Amazon.com. The list of titles is tentative, and it is not recommended that all books to be bought at once. I will organize book buying approximately two weeks before we begin the study of each of these texts. If ever you have issues with buying a book required for class, please let me know and I’ll do whatever I can to make sure you are prepared.
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck ($6)
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston ($13)
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald ($12)
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain ($2)
Great American Short Stories: from Hawthorne to Hemingway edited by Corinne Demas ($8)
Grammar and Vocabulary Package
Because of the emphasis on the Maryland HSA, and because we want our students to be excellent writers, we will be using two grammar texts and one vocabulary text this year. They will be available in the middle of September and must be purchased for $25. The three texts are as follows:
Grammar in Practice: A Foundation by Lesli J. Favor
Daily Grammar Practice by Dawn Burdette
Vocabulary for Achievement
Planner (school will provide)
Plenty of Paper
A spiral notebook
Pens, pencils, highlighers
Notebook Dictionary for your binder
Expected Behavior and Attitude:
• Respect for the teacher, your fellow classmates, and yourself. The classroom is a place where everyone should feel safe and able to participate without fear or abuse of any kind.
• Be in your seat, working, when the bell rings.
• Come to class prepared to learn; this includes bringing all necessary materials.
• Participate in classroom activities and assignments.
• Have fun!!
1. We shall all respect one another in the classroom.
2. No electronic devices. All cellphones and pagers MUST be turned off. In case of an emergency, your relatives must call the school, not you.
3. Sleep is reserved for one’s home. Students who sleep in class shall receive a grade of a zero for that day’s participation.
4. Students have 3 bathroom passes to use throughout the entire semester. It is suggested that students use the facilities prior to coming to class. Bathroom passes are excused only for a 5 minute maximum and shall result in referrals if time is exceeded.
5. No food or drink is allowed in the classroom. ONLY water.
6. Pick up after yourselves. Students who leave behind trash shall be required to clean the room upon the next school day.
7. No profanity. Students need to increase vocabulary skills, and therefore, use of profanity shall result in a dictionary exercise.
8. Students arriving to class late MUST have an excused pass or shall lose half the points for the beginning activity.
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