Freshmen in Mclaughlin Land


English 9


The freshmen English course is a challenging and rewarding course. There are two main aspects to this course: composition (writing) and reading. During this course you will develop your writing skills by working through all the steps of the writing process: prewriting, drafting, revising and editing. You will trace your progress by maintaining a writing folder and, at times, keeping a journal. You will use computers to aid your revision and you will learn how things work in the library. During the year we will study different books, recognize and discuss cultural and ethical values in literature as well as other ideas and apply the works to our own lives. In this course you will also study vocabulary, learn to recognize how literary devices affect meaning, and respond to literature in a variety of ways, including journal writing, critical evaluations and collaborative visual and oral presentations. Reading for pleasure is central to this course, and you will chart your reading progress with the aid of a reading calendar. With practice and participation, you can be a success in our English class and develop a greater enjoyment of reading and writing. 

Course curriculum:During the year we will explore different writing types including the autobiographical essay, the observational essay and creative writing. To improve any kind of writing, we will learn thesis, sentence writing, paragraph writing, organization, show not tell and, of course, grammar. We will also prepare for STAR testing, the Exit Exam, and the district's writing assessment. The works of literature we will study may include:         

“Romeo and Juliet”, William Shakespeare           

Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck           

The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger           

A Separate Peace, John Knowles 

Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card

House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros          

various non-fiction pieces, short stories and poems

(Additions and changes may be made during the course of the year.) 

Homework:You should spend approximately 30-45 minutes a night on your English homework. You will not have homework every night, but you will be expected to read every day.  

Late Work Policy:Homework and in-class assignments may be submitted late for half credit.  If you have an excused absence you will have two days to complete missing work.

Long term assignments must be submitted on the due date.  If you are absent on the day a paper, project, presentation or test is due, then a parent/teacher conference is required for you to get credit for your assignment.  You are welcome to turn in long term assignments early. 

Reading for Pleasure:Reading increases vocabulary, improves writing ability and gives you a chance to practice critical thinking.  It is, therefore, an essential part of our English program. 

Over the course of the year you will be asked to read two and a half hours each week and to participate in Literature Circle readings (which may get you hooked on reading if you’re not already). For one half hour every Monday, Tuesday and Friday students, teachers, principals, and secretaries at Wilcox take time for silent sustained reading. SSR/Tutorial is a great time to complete your outside reading.

Materials Needed

  • class text (novel or other unit of study)

  • a book you enjoy reading

  • a spiral notebook or composition book

  • lined paper

  • blue or black pen

  • pencil

  • highlighter

  • a three-prong folder to turn in multi-draft papers

Grading:Your grade will be based on daily and long term assignments as well as exams.  Daily assignments will include homework, reading logs, journal writing and class participation.   Long term assignments will include papers, projects, presentations and portfolio.  Tests and quizzes will prepare you for semester final exams.           

Portfolio Assessment:The English Department requires a portfolio from all students. You will choose six pieces to represent your work this year.  Portfolios will include a letter introducing the portfolio to the portfolio’s reader, a piece of technical writing, a creative piece, an essay with evidence of revision, a timed writing and a reading log of outside reading. 

Academic Dishonesty:As part of the course you will learn how to give credit for ideas you use from outside sources. Copying other people’s work without citing sources is plagiarism.   Plagiarism will result in an “F” on the assignment and a referral to the office.

California Ninth Grade English Language Arts Standards:At the end of this course, you should also feel ready to answer questions on the High School Exit Exam by:

  • asking relevant questions about reading

  • connecting reading with real life experience and earlier reading

  • having conversations about reading

  • summarizing a text and recognizing its significance

  • reading for pleasure

  • revising and editing writing aware of audience and purpose

  • writing with control of grammar, paragraph and sentence structure

  • producing polished final drafts with accurate spelling and correct punctuation and capitalization

  • mastering MLA format

Expected School-wide Lifelong Learning Standards:In keeping with the District’s Expected Lifelong Learning Standards:

By contributing to our learning community--collaborating with others, sharing ideas effectively, and learning to be self-directed--you will become an informed, productive thinker.

Creating a Learning Community:I expect students to be their best by being prepared and respectful, by politely listening to the teacher and other students, keeping your hands and personal items to yourself, and respecting the property of others.  Please do not eat, drink (water is okay), chew gum, or do work from other classes during this class.  Students are expected to adhere to rules set out in the Wilcox student handbook.  Consequences will be determined as needed, and will range from a simple request to alter behavior to a referral to teh vice-principal.

Come to class prepared to work. Before this class begins, take care of grooming and personal business —visits to counselors, the Office, other teachers, your locker or the bathroom.  At the end of class, please clean up around your desk and wait in your seat for the bell.

If you set aside a time and place for schoolwork then your work will reflect your true talent and intelligence.  If you feel uncomfortable or are dissatisfied with this class, please let me know. I will be available before school, at lunch, and after school by appointment.

I am truly looking forward to working with you this year.