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Author John Steinbeck wrote: “In every bit of honest writing in the world there is a base theme: try to understand men. If you understand each other, you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and nearly always leads to love."  Through our reading and discussion of a variety of genres of literature from around the world, students in our 10th grade honors English course will examine situations in which individuals struggle to understand concepts of identity and perspective. We will examine the impact of choices through both our reading and writing endeavors, connecting our learning activities to our course theme of our world literature course: “Perspectives on the Individual.” We will learn about basic literary and rhetorical theory and apply our new knowledge to the critical analysis and interpretation of course texts.  

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS FOR THE COURSE:                                UNITS:

PRIMARY TEXTS: a selection of short stories, poetry, and excerpts taken from the Collections textbook, including:



Students will build upon their knowledge of narrative and expositional writing styles and learn to incorporate clearly defined thesis statements, smooth transition sentences, and various organizational strategies in their writing. Students will reflect on their writing process and develop individual reading, writing, and presentation goals for the semester. We will have multiple occasions to craft written work for audiences outside of our classroom, giving us opportunities to hone our abilities to adapt the tone and content of our writing for a specific reader. As we learn to write effective texts, we will work to improve our skills in focus, content, organization, style, and grammar/conventions. Students will know in advance how their writing is being graded and will reflect on their semester goals following each writing assignment. In addition, we will build our writing fluency through the daily use of Writer’s Notebooks.

Students will complete a variety of narrative, expository, and creative writing pieces, which will undergo various levels of revision. We will share our writing endeavors using online blogs. A few examples of work we will add to our blogs include:

     benchmark essays                        research proposal                     thesis driven paper about a text     

     literary analysis essays                        personal essay                     reflective blog posts

REQUIRED SUPPLIES:                                             RECOMMENDED SUPPLIES:                            

  1. Something to write with – a pencil or pen          1)        Earbuds or headphones    
  2. A spiral notebook to use as a Writer’s/Reader’s Notebook       2)    A highlighter        
  3. A 3-ring binder  



We will be using a variety of technology and web-based applications in this course. Ms. Ward was fortunate to receive a grant last spring for 36 Chromebooks which we will be using regularly in our class. As much as possible, we will aim to be paperless this semester. Students will be posting written work to online discussion boards and blogs as well as finding ways to share their written pieces with authentic audiences. It is important to keep the following in mind when publishing online:

1)         Safety: Never post your personal information or information about someone else. Keep things like ages, addresses, phone numbers, full names, and even names of towns off the Internet. Remember that information on the internet may still be around after you've deleted it. Additionally, only post your work and images. Do not post photos of another person without their permission.

2)         Respect: When you post, it is important to be respectful; be respectful of other people posting and respect yourself. This means that personal attacks, inappropriate language and content, insults and harassment of any kind are strictly forbidden. Our online work is an extension of our classroom; ask yourself if your comments would be acceptable in our physical classroom setting.

3)         Rigor: When publishing online, make sure that your comments and posts are adding to the discussion. Before posting a comment, question, or blog entry, ask yourself, "Will this forward the discussion we are having?" Your thoughts and ideas should be supported, and you should be using specific details to illustrate your ideas. Your comments and posts should add to the knowledge of our class.

4)         Credit: Cite your sources and give credit for ideas and someone else's material. Try to use creative commons material. Always give credit and cite your source.



Grades in this class are weighted by category. Students will earn grades for assignments that assess their progress in reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language skills. The final course grade is calculated by combining the student’s scores in each of the four categories, which makes up 80% of the final grade, and adding it to the the final exam grade, which is worth 20% of the final course grade.







  • Identifies, describes, and evaluates major themes.
  • Analyzes the use and effectiveness of literary and rhetorical elements.
  • Demonstrates literary analysis by making and supporting assertions.
  • Distinguishes between essential and nonessential information.
  • Identifies author's purpose and effectiveness.
  • Demonstrates evidence of critical thinking, ability to make connections, and insightful analysis of literature through class activities, discussions, and assignments.



(GVW in Skyward)

  • Demonstrates command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
  • Applies knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
  • Utilizes appropriate strategies for understanding new vocabulary in context.
  • Demonstrates understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.



Presentation skills include:

  • Speaks using skills appropriate to the situation, including pace, inflection, volume, sentence variety, and verbal and nonverbal communication skills.
  • Participates in small and large group presentations using audio-visuals and examples to emphasize and clarify key points.

Discussion skills include:

  • Introduces relevant information, ideas, and opinions.
  • Supports assertions with examples and reasoning.
  • Paraphrases and/or summarizes what others say to demonstrate listening and understanding.


SKILLS FOR WRITING: (Wri in Skyward)

Writing assignments reflect evidence of sophisticated academic writing skills with respect to focus, content development, organization, style, and conventions. Specifically, the student's writing:

  • Maintains a sharp, focused thesis.
  • Appropriately and skillfully incorporates relevant examples and support.
  • Sustains a logical organization
  • Writes with command of stylistic aspects of composition (structure, diction, and voice).
  • Uses a variety of electronic and published sources to support assertions.
  • Skillfully incorporates appropriate and scholarly sources.
  • Seeks out reliable primary sources and conducts interviews/investigations in responsible manner.
  • Applies understanding of MLA conventions through correct use of parenthetical citations and a works cited page.
  • Successfully integrates and punctuates quotes from outside sources.


        93% - 100%        A                90% - 92%        A-                87% - 89%        B+        

        83% - 86%        B                80% - 82%        B-                77% - 79%        C+

        73% - 76%        C                70% - 72%        C-                67% - 69%        D+

        63% - 66%        D                60% - 62%        D-                0% - 59%        F


We create a variety of multimedia projects in our class by taking advantage of the opportunities that technology affords us. Often times we will be publishing our work in online spaces. Additionally, we will be using Skype to connect with authors, speakers, and other students around the country. As we create, connect, and collaborate in online spaces, we take care to protect our identity and privacy. However, if you would prefer not to be photographed or included in any online video collaborations, please make sure to sign the next page to opt-out.  

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I have read and understand the class syllabus and policies for the 10th grade Honors English class.  If I have any questions or concerns, I know that I can contact Ms. Lohr or Ms. Ward at either 616.527.0600 ex. 1057 or at alohr@ioniapublicschools.org or jward@ioniaschools.org 

PRINT STUDENT’S NAME: _____________________________    STUDENT’S SIGNATURE: _______________________________

PARENT/GUARDIAN’S SIGNATURE:_______________________________________________    DATE: _____________________


We create a variety of multimedia projects in our class by taking advantage of the opportunities that technology affords us. We will be using Skype to connect with authors, speakers, and other students around the country. In using online tools, we will be sure to protect our identities by not using full names. However, if you would prefer your student NOT to be photographed or included in any online video, social media, or digital collaborations, please sign below to opt-out.  Alternative assignments and opportunities will be provided.

PRINT STUDENT’S NAME: _____________________________    STUDENT’S SIGNATURE: _______________________________

PARENT/GUARDIAN’S SIGNATURE:_______________________________________________    DATE: _____________________

Parent Information:

Parent/Guardian Name(s):__________________________________________________________________________

Best phone number to reach you at:__________________________________________________________________

Parent/Guardian Email address:______________________________________________________________________

Do you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions? Please let me know below!