American Literature

  • Course Requirements

    Course Description:

    This junior, college-preparatory level English Language Arts course uses non-fiction and fiction literary works to study the power of language and thought as it pertains to the American Dream. The course combines works from the American Literature canon with more recent literary non-fiction/fiction pieces to understand, appreciate, and apply rhetorical strategies while studying the unique American Experience. Assignments will include but are not limited to oral presentations, analytical essays, argumentative pieces, short and extended research projects, personal position statements and reflective essays. The writing process is used to develop essays and other

    pieces (brainstorming, drafting, editing, revision, etc.). Reading/writing strategies and verbal skills instruction are designed for SAT preparation and college-level evaluations.

    Materials Needed:

    • 3-Ring Binder (1 ½ inch)
    • 4 dividers (Daily Warm Ups, Classwork, Homework, Work in Progress)
    • Black / Blue Pens (no other ink colors will be accepted for turned in work)
    • Pencils & Erasers
    • Highlighters
    • School-issued iPad (charged and ready to go)
    • Looseleaf Paper

    Grading Policies

    The course is divided into two semesters. At the end of each semester, students will take an exam which will represent 15% of the semester grade.

    Process: 50%

    Formative Assessments

    Classwork (formative assessments, collaborative activities, vocabulary practice, daily warm ups, etc)


    Homework (summer reading)




    Product: 50%

    Summative Assessments



    Essays / Projects / Presentations



    Homework is graded with either a check plus (100%), a check (85%), or a check minus (65%).  This policy to ensure that is it graded in a timely manner and returned to students to use as a study guide. Any homework that is late automatically earns a 50%, but I will accept for a grade until the interim.  

    For any product assignments turned in late, it will be 10% off every day, up to 50% off. If it is not turned in after 5 days late, it will be a zero.

    Make-ups for any tests or quizzes missed due to absence will need to be scheduled with the teacher. All tests/quizzes can be made up until the interim.

    Rules & Procedures

    Classroom Expectations:

    • Be on time.
    • Come to class prepared to learn! (iPads charged, pencils sharpened, notebooks ready, etc.)
    • Respect all property! (Your own, your neighbor’s, the school’s and mine. Vandalism will not be tolerated.)
    • Respect anyone and everyone who enters our classroom.
    • Respect all ideas given in class and do not criticize anybody’s thoughts or ideas.
    • Do YOUR very best!

    Classroom Procedures:

    • “No Opt Out” Policy – Every student is expected to give their best answer when called on; you cannot opt out of class participation. If you are unsure of the correct answer, explain your thinking or make an educated guess.
    • Students will remain seated during instructional time.
      • No bathroom breaks until the instruction is complete.
        • Only one student may be out of the room for the bathroom/water at a time.
        • You are to sign out if leaving the room.
        • If this privilege is abused, you will not be allowed to leave the classroom.
      • If an issue requires immediate action (if you need to sharpen your pencil or borrow a pen), raise your pen, pencil or paper instead of your hand.
    • Daily SAT Warm Up – The warm-up will be on the board, and it is your responsibility to complete this assignment in the allotted time. You are required to keep your warm-ups together so they can be collected and graded bi-monthly. Occasionally, there will be quizzes given on this content.
    • Collaborative Pairs / Group Work – We will be working with partners frequently throughout the year. The colored star on the desk you are sitting at will be your point of reference for your role in pair work and group work.

    Behavior Expectations:

    It is expected that students will follow the code of conduct as outlined in the handbook, including policies regarding tardiness and dress code. Three tardies will result in parent contact and referral. Most importantly, disruptive behavior is not tolerated. Our classroom is a safe space, and we treat each other with respect. Those who cannot follow these policies will be asked to leave the classroom and receive a behavior referral.

    Cell phones are not to be used in the classroom. Per the district’s policy, if cell phones are seen in class they will be taken and sent to the office.

    The only beverage allowed in class is water. There is to be no other food or drinks in the classroom. If you bring food or beverages other than water into class, you will be asked to either put it away or dispose of it.


    Cape Henlopen High School’s policy for absences is outlined within the student handbook. However, it must be made very clear that it is the student’s responsibility to get any missed classwork or assignments for excused absences, medically excused or from a parent note. Failure to pick up missed work will result in a zero. In the case of an absence, be sure to check Schoology or the missed work folder for your period upon your return to class.