American Literature

Classroom Preparation/Participation

Your classroom preparation/participation grade constitutes 20% of your quarterly grade. This grade will be recorded daily.

Part of the reason you’re in this class is to share your insights about literature with your classmates. As such, your preparation and participation are crucial. Not only do I expect you to come prepared with your homework answers (from your literary analysis), but also I expect you to share your unique insights with your peers. That requires you to think about the material and come ready to ask and answer questions.

Remember, too, that just as you can prepare for class in a negative way (by not doing your homework), you can also participate in class in a negative way. In other words, you have the choice to elevate the level of the classroom discussion or to drag it down. When you daydream, play around, show disrespect, and so forth, you are being disruptive. That kind of behavior will not be tolerated in this classroom.

Policies

* No hats, gum chewing, CD players, eating, or drinking in the classroom. Violators will receive a zero for the day’s classroom preparation/participation grade. Repeat offenders will be put on work detail and your parents will be contacted.
* Disruptive students will be given one warning per class period. The second warning during the same class period will result in a trip to the office for the rest of the period, as well as a week (five school days) of labor around school during your free time. Detentions will also be handed out if necessary.
* For each time you are put on work detail, you will receive a zero class participation grade for the next five days, and I will call your parents.
* There are no assigned seats, but I will move you if you can’t handle your chosen location. Be smart and sit far away from any temptations. (That is, sit away from your friends.)
* Come ready to learn, and you will excel in this class.

Literary Analysis Homework

Your homework constitutes 30% of your quarterly grade. This homework consists of two things: 1) doing the assigned nightly reading; and 2) submitting a literary analysis of your reading. This grade will be recorded daily.

A literary analysis has a number of benefits. First, it forces you to read the assigned material. Second, it forces you to read for understanding. Third, it gives you the raw material for your essay exams.

Every day, when you’re assigned a piece of literature to read, you will not only read the selection, but you will also be required to do a literary analysis of what you’ve read. This literary analysis means that you will answer the questions for either all of a short story or part of a novel (depending on the week). You will turn in a typed sheet of paper with your answers next to the corresponding question numbers.

Is this hard to do? Yes, at first. But as you get good at it -- and you will -- it will take less and less time. Learn from my feedback, too. Before you know it, you’ll have these questions in your mind as you read, and your reading will become much more meaningful.

Policies

* These answers will be collected at the beginning of the class period.
* Please print out two copies of your answers -- one to give to me for a grade, and the other to use in class and for essay exam preparation.
* If you bring only one copy of your homework to class, and then give it to me, that leaves you without any written answers to share that day. Therefore you will receive a zero for that day’s class participation grade (see other handout).
* No late homework papers, papers on floppy disk, or handwritten papers will be accepted. Violators will receive a zero for that day’s homework grade. Papers will be considered late if not received by the end of the class period in which they are due. No papers found in my box at the end of the day will be accepted.
* A word to the wise: If you wait until you arrive at school to print out your answers, know that you are taking the chance that the school printer will not be working in time for class. If your printer at home is not working, use one at the local library, your friend’s house, etc. Printer problems, either here or at home, will not be considered a valid excuse for not turning in your homework assignments on time.

Essay Exams

Essay exams constitute 50% of your quarterly grade. Completed exams are collected every Friday, and new essay questions are passed out.

Policies

* Three full pages minimum (20 pts. off per page or portion of a page)
* One-inch margins (15 pts. off for wide margins or too much space between paragraphs)
* Include a title page [name, title, question number, class name] (10 pts. off if missing)
* Double-spaced
* If you are absent on the day the exam is due, I will expect the paper the following day.
* I am willing to give you feedback on rough drafts as long as they are turned in at least two days before the final version is due.
* No late homework papers, papers on floppy disk, or handwritten papers will be accepted. Violators will receive a zero for that week’s exam grade. Papers will be considered late if not received by the end of the class period in which they are due. No papers found in my box at the end of the day will be accepted.
* A word to the wise: If you wait until you arrive at school to print out your essays, know that you are taking the chance that the school printer will not be working in time for class. If your printer at home is not working, use one at the local library, your friend’s house, etc. Printer problems, either here or at home, will not be considered a valid excuse for not turning in your homework assignments on time. Be smart: Finish your paper early and print it out ahead of time so there will be no problems.

Student Teaching

Instead of a traditional Midterm and Final, you will be expected to teach two classes on the subjects of your choice. You will be required to submit an outline to me by Thanksgiving (for Midterms) and Spring Break (for Finals) in which you tell me how you will use your class period. The Midterm and Final each constitute 14% of your semester grade.

On the day of your student teaching, you will be required to fill the entire class period. The student teaching is not graded on the amount of preparation you do, although obviously ‘winging it’ isn’t a good idea. Rather, it is graded as follows: 50% content (i.e., how well you knew the material, whether you used all the class time) and 50% creativity (i.e., how you presented the material). Your classmates will also be evaluating your presentation, although my ‘ruling’ is final.