Syllabus: English IV – British Literature

    Instructor: Lisa Bullock                        

    Contact: lbullock@industrialisd.org / (361)284-3226 x1225 (classroom)                                                              
    Conference: 7th Period (2:00 – 2:46 PM) – exact time varies per schedule



    Welcome to English IV, where you will learn all about the different literary elements, stylistic devices, modes of writing, and grammar and usage techniques.

    English IV - British Literature engages students in the careful reading and critical analysis of imaginative British and world literature. Through the close reading of selected texts, students deepen their understanding of the ways writers use language to provide both meaning and pleasure for their readers. As they read, students consider a work’s structure, style, and themes, as well as such smaller-scale elements as the use of figurative language, imagery, symbolism, and tone. Because it is essential to understand the social and ethical context in which works are written, we will also address the historical background of the various literary periods.



    The goal of English IV is to prepare students for college-level writing and reading analysis through the fundamentals of rhetorical theory and analysis of a broad range of literary texts, focusing on British Literature through the ages and college/career-centered writing.



    Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to

    1.    Carefully read and critically analyze imaginative literature.

    2.    Understand the way writers use language to provide meaning and pleasure.

    3.    Consider a work’s structure, style, and themes as well as such smaller scale elements as the use of figurative language, imagery, symbolism, and tone.

    4.    Study representative works from various genres and periods.

    5.    Understand a work’s complexity, to absorb richness of meaning, and to analyze how meaning is embodied in literary form.

    6.    Consider the social and historical values a work reflects and embodies.

    7.    Write, focusing on critical analysis of literature including expository, analytical, and argumentative essays as well as creative writing to sharpen understanding of writers’ accomplishments and deepen appreciation of literary artistry.

    8.    Become aware of, through speaking, listening, reading, and chiefly, writing the resources of language.



    ·         Read/respond to/analyze classic literature and current issues (novels, drama, fiction, non-fiction, and poetry).

    ·         Write essays of various formats and genres.

    ·         Refine grammar and usage skills.

    ·         Complete a major research project.

    ·         Expand personal reading library through Accelerated Reader.

    ·         Complete assignments in an organized manner.



    The kinds of writing in this course are varied but include writing to understand, writing to explain, and writing to evaluate. All critical writing asks that you evaluate the effectiveness of a literary piece, but to be an effective evaluator, one must understand and explain. The essence of scholarship is the combination of these three approaches to writing. 

    Writing assignments will provide many opportunities: 1) Students will analyze given reading selections that present information about literature, current issues and historical events—often focusing on universal themes. 2) Students will complete SARs (Summary, Analysis, Response) after reading/viewing various literary selections. 3) Students will complete various in-class discussion assignments, including but not limited to timed writes, short-answer responses, and statements. We will work with various composition structures, Standard Written English, sentence variety, and word choice. Students will use reader/writer notebooks for most of the writing mentioned above. These notebooks will be checked periodically during the six weeks to ensure that students are keeping up with their notebooks. Completion grades will be assigned at these checkpoints.

    The following grading structure will be followed unless noted by the teacher during a specific grading period. Students must have all components of the reader/writer notebook complete in order to receive a 100. Forty-five points of this grade will be for the reflection, forty-five points will be for the annotations/notes, and 10 points will be for the organization of the reader/writer notebook. Students will receive a 40% daily grade at the mid six weeks checkpoint and a 60% major grade at the end of the six weeks.

    What I expect most of all from our class is hard work on the part of the individual writer and careful reading and discussion on the part of the class. When an assignment calls for a “paragraph,” please check your work against the paragraph criteria below:

    1.    Many times, you will be asked for your opinion or idea about an aspect of a work of literature. Whether you will post to a discussion board or hand write, be sure to use complete sentences with clear support for your ideas.

    2.    When a writing rubric is introduced for an assignment, please consult each rubric carefully before submitting your work.

    3.    There will be mini lessons throughout the course dealing with grammar and usage issues, sentence constructions, and diction. Occasionally you may need some additional help with this. Consult with me when you have any concerns. There are many good online guides to grammar. The following link is one such guide: http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/index.htm.



    The following schedule is tentative. In some units, we may not cover every reading/assignment listed, and in some cases I may add a reading/assignment based upon student/class need. Within the units listed below, corresponding essays and writing assignments will be completed.

    ◊ Unit 1        Anglo-Saxon Period

    § Genre Study/British Literary Periods/Voice Lessons/Critical Reading/Writing

    § Major Readings: Beowulf, modern adaptation - Beowulf

    § Major Assignments: British Literature timeline & presentation, scholarship essay, Summary/Analysis/Response essay, Comparison/Contrast essay

    The course opens with an introduction to all elements and requirements included in the class syllabus. Students will begin the year with an overview of British literary periods and genres. The Anglo-Saxon Period will be covered, focusing on cultures, life styles, literature, and language of the times, while comparing the characteristics to our society. In addition to assignments relating to major readings, students will create scholarship essay(s) and a résumé to be used throughout the year for college applications and scholarships.

    ◊ Unit 2        Middle English Period

    § Major Readings: The Canterbury Tales (possible sub with Oliver Twist/Solacers)

    § Major Assignments: Exemplum Narrative, Persuasive Essay, Research Project (Career-focused)

    Medieval times ushered in change and adaptation, a concept all too familiar for seniors embarking on educational and career paths. Studying religious, political, and societal characteristics will give deeper understanding when studying our own societal characteristics. Finally, we will focus on an introduction to research, with a focus on specific career paths and writing in that field. Students will create a business and write a grant proposal.

    ◊ Unit 3        Renaissance Period

    § Major Readings: Shakespeare’s Macbeth, sonnets

    § Major Assignments: Persuasive/Literary Analysis Essays, Script/Docudrama/Poetry/Research Paper

    ◊ Unit 4        Renaissance Period cont.

    § Critical Perspectives

    § Major Readings: Shakespeare’s Macbeth, sonnets, docudrama, metaphysical poetry

    § Major Assignments: Persuasive/Literary Analysis Essays, Critical Perspectives Project

    We will spend a substantial amount of time on Shakespeare as knowledge and understanding of Shakespearean plays and sonnets are paramount to a well-rounded study of British Literature. Students will analyze various tragic and comedic heroes and compose individual works in the same format. This grading period will focus on literary analysis, with a focus on writing as an ever-evolving conversation—utilizing various viewpoints and incorporating these opinions/conversations in writing.

    ◊ Unit 5        Romantic-Modern Periods

    § Major Readings: The Rime of the Ancient Mariner/Frankenstein, Excerpts from Blake, Wadsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, Keats, Excerpts from Tennyson, Browning, Bronte, Dickens, Hardy, Wilde, Dickens

    § Major Assignments: Poetry Composition, Literary Analysis Essay

    We will continue to track writing progress and address weaknesses individually and as a class, while focusing on the Romantic Period and encompassing reading/writing.

    After delving into the Victorian Age, including customs, culture, and major works, we will increase our poetry analyzation as this area of study is often a weakness for students. Students will increase readiness for college-level work and understanding with a transition to the Modern Period. 

    ◊ Unit 6        Modern & Post-Mod Periods

    § Major Readings: Excerpts from Eliot, Lawrence, Thomas, Yeats, Shaw, Orwell, Achebe  

    § Major Assignments: Portfolio Development, Media Project                                   

    To complete the year, students will become familiar with modern and post-modern writers/works as well as evaluate and learn from their own work up to the present in order to view their writing as relevant and crucial to the improvement and progression of our society. In other words, they will see themselves as the next source of study. In addition, we will study media to enhance their transition into the job market.



    I may not follow the exact sequence nor teach the same books outlined here each year, and I may add or subtract texts as the year progresses, depending on student need. Here is a preliminary list of novels, dramas, and anthologized material:

    ·         Beowulf

    ·         The Canterbury Tales (possible sub with Oliver Twist/Solacers)

    ·         Macbeth

    ·         The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

    ·         Poetry – as selected

    ·         Short fiction and essays – as selected

    ·         Textbook: British Literature (Holt/McDougal)



    Literature textbooks and or novels will be checked out to the student throughout the year. As always, the student is responsible for any school materials checked out to him/her. The student will be responsible for reimbursing the district for any lost or damaged items.



    ·         60% grades = major grades May include (but are not limited to) such items as vocabulary exams, major projects, essays, journals, D.O.L. exams, and major compositions.

    ·         40% grades = daily grades May include (but are not limited to) such items as AR, daily work, reading quizzes, homework, writing evaluations, and literary term evaluations.

    Students will have at least 10 daily grades and 3 major grades each six weeks.

    Note: On various assignments, students will benefit from grading rubrics tailored to their weaknesses. Their grading criteria may differ from that of their peers. Students will be expected to revise assignments. The teacher may lower a student’s final score on an assignment by one letter grade if the student does not make appropriate corrections by the assigned deadline. 



    As part of the Industrial High School English Department Curriculum requirements, students are required to read and test over Accelerated Reader books to earn points. Each student is responsible for earning the number of points designated at the level for each grading period. In addition, all English students are required to test over non-fiction AR books during two assigned grading periods. When non-fiction is required, the student is not responsible for having 1 AR point come from non-fiction sources. The student merely has to take and pass one test over a non-fiction AR book. Regardless of how many non-fiction tests the student takes, the total number of points must equal to the points required for the designated grade level. If the student has not passed a non-fiction test during the designated grading period, the highest grade attainable for that grading period will be a 70. A list of AR titles is available in the library. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS ASSIGNMENT. AR tests may be taken in the library. Students must have a copy of the book with them in order to take the test. It is the responsibility of the student to make arrangements to take tests. The AR dates will be clearly posted in the classroom, as well as on their teacher’s website; the cutoff period for earning points will be at 3:40 pm on the day that the points are due. There are no late points accepted for this long-term assignment. DO NOT PROCRASTINATE. If a student is absent on the day that the points are due, the student is still responsible for having their points by the deadline. Extra AR points from one period will not carry over to the next period. Students must come to class prepared to read. Students will receive 1 daily (40%) grade based on the completion of 12 points and 1 daily (40%) grade based on the average of all of the AR tests taken for that grading period.

    AR Extra Credit: Students may earn five extra credit points in the "daily grade" category if he or she earns all of their AR points by the AR early due date. If a student doubles the required number of points in one AR period, he/she will receive an additional five (40%) extra credit points. However, the maximum number of AR extra credit points a student can earn per A.R. grading period is 10—five points for early date and five points for doubling the required points, or 10 points for tripling the required points.


    ·         Freshmen        6       

    ·         Sophomores   8        

    ·         Juniors 10

    ·         Seniors            12



    Homework is a vital part of these courses. Each student is expected to complete all homework assignments. Incomplete homework will definitely be reflected in the student’s overall average.



    Please refer to the Student Handbook for district policy.



    Cheating will not be tolerated. If the instructor suspects cheating, the paper(s) will be taken up and the student(s) will choose from the following: 1) take a zero, or 2) reschedule and complete an alternative assignment/exam/quiz within two school days of the infraction. If the instructor knows cheating is occurring, the grade will be a zero with no opportunity given for the student to make up the work. A parent call/conference and or an office referral will result for a repeated offense. Please be reminded that plagiarism is cheating.



    The following rules will ensure student success and improvement:

    1.    Always bring your supplies to class.

    2.    Be in your assigned seat when the bell rings.

    3.    Follow directions the first time they are given. 

    4.    Listen attentively when someone else is speaking.

    5.    Speak positively, respectfully, and thoughtfully. 

    High School students have been in the education system long enough to understand appropriate and inappropriate classroom behavior. The following actions will be taken if a student is disrespectful (such as class disruptions, foul language, discourteous or rude remarks):

    ·         First offense – verbal warning

    ·         Second offense – individual conference / lunch or after school detention / parent contact (email)

    ·         Third offense – conference with the principal/parent

    Indy Lunch - (in connection with 2nd offense above) When a student shows no effort during group work or in-class/homework assignments, I will assign Indy Lunch. Indy Lunch consists of the student coming to my classroom during lunch and completing an independent assignment during that time. The student must remain with me for Indy Lunch until the assignment is completed, which may result in multiple days of Indy Lunch.

    If at any time inappropriate behavior is of a nature that requires the intervention of a third party in order for the class to continue with the least amount of disruption, the instructor reserves the right to remove the student via referral to the office.





    The following supplies should be brought to class every day:

    ·         wide-ruled notebook paper

    ·         pens/pencils                                                                                                                                            

    ·         1 two-inch 3-ring binder

    ·         1 composition book

    ·         1 pkg. of dividers

    ·         1 blue folder with pockets and brads (only if you do not have one from last year)


    In order to keep supply cost down, I am asking students to bring the supplies listed below for their class period:

    ·         1st Period: 1 pkg. highlighters

    ·         2nd Period: 1 pkg. red pens

    ·         4th Period: 1 pkg. pencils


    Please organize your binder/dividers in the following order:

    1             College/Career Prep

    2             Daily Grammar

    3             Notes/Handouts

    4             Graded Papers

    5             Vocabulary



















    English IV


    Please provide the information below and note the contact method you prefer so that I may contact you if needed. I am often able to respond to emails faster than to phone calls during the school day.

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    Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions pertaining to your child’s progress in class or you have any questions pertaining to the course.


    Please sign below to indicate you have read and understand the English Department Syllabus:

    Student Name_______________________ Student Signature______________________ Date____________

    Parent Name_______________________ Parent Signature_________________________ Date_________­­­­___