Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Nazi Doctors and Time's Arrow

I found an essay exploring in detail the connections between Time's Arrow and Robert Lifkin's book Nazi Doctors on JStor. The essay, written by Greg Harris, appeared in an academic journal, Studies in the Novel, in 1999. If you are interested, it makes useful reading.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Kafka interpretation exercise

I've been asked to provide the prompts for the "expert" panel discussions we had the other day. Here they are.

An imaginary panel of experts debate the meaning of Gregor’s transformation:

Expert #1:      Gregor is angry, frustrated, bitter, helpless, trapped in his family’s downwardly degenerating dependence on his bread-winning capacity. Unconsciously he seeks to escape the unreasonable burdens placed upon him, although he can never allow this desire to reach his consciousness. The psychic symbolism is clear—his transformation from human to insect is the physical manifestation of a repressed psychological desire, a form of unconscious wish-fulfillment.

Expert #2:      No, you pseudo-intellectual, pretentious, Freudian wannabe, as usual you miss the point entirely. Gregor has been an insect in human form for years. Don’t you see the disgusting groveling, the overwhelming feelings of worthlessness, the cringing, abject, vermin-like posture he has adopted toward both father and employer, the two most potent authority figures in his life? His body is merely catching up to the true state of his identity.

Expert #3:      Alas, my sad, misguided friends, I’m afraid you fail to grasp the heart and soul of the matter (and not for the first time I might add). By repeatedly emphasizing the difference between the way Gregor thinks and feels—his internal, human existence—and the way others see him, Kafka forces us to feel what it is to be completely alienated by external circumstances from one’s essential humanity. In this way he not only comments on the fundamental dehumanization of all of twentieth-century existence, he foreshadows the terrors of such historical developments as the Holocaust, the World Wars, and the genocides that have plagued the world for the last century.

Expert #4:      Losers! You just can’t get the picture, can you? The guy’s family hates him, despite all he’s done for them, and they project their image of Gregor so strongly onto him that after a while he has no choice but to fulfill their expectations of him. It’s not that complicated a story, but you guys just can’t get that, can you? It’s the lack of love, understanding, and acceptance that turns him into a big bug.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Monstrous Ink final paper

The study of literature from different historical periods and cultures allows us to think about what different cultures and eras label as “monstrous” and why. As Professor Asma says, “an action or a person or a thing is monstrous when it can’t be processed by our rationality, and also when we cannot readily relate to the emotional range involved.” This statement suggests that when a character in literature is considered a monster, that label may give us insight into those doing the labeling as well as a greater understanding of the monster itself.

For your final paper, consider three of the “monstrous” works we have studied this semester. By looking at them either individually or in comparison with each other, show how the presence of monsters contributes to the effectiveness of the work as a whole.  This “effectiveness” may in part be based on the facilitation of plot, but it should also involve consideration of the way in which the presentation of a monster is related to the meaning of the work as a whole.

Start by thinking about which of the so-called “monstrous” characters either confirm or refute any of the following assumptions:
  • ·      Monsters cannot be reasoned with
  • ·      Monsters are ugly and inspire horror
  • ·      Monsters are unnatural
  • ·      Monsters are overwhelmingly powerful
  • ·      Monsters are evil
  • ·      Monsters are misunderstood
  • ·      Monsters cannot be understood
  • ·      Monsters reflect the deepest fears of specific eras and cultures
  • ·      Fighting and killing monsters is the business of heroes
  • ·      Monsters are socially “constructed” and serve as scapegoats for expedient political agendas.
  • ·      Monsters are psychological projections* of our own insecurities, fears, and shortcomings as a society. (*projection is a psychological defense mechanism which involves the unconscious transfer of one’s own desires or emotions onto another.)

Your paper should be approximately 7 – 10 pages in length; parenthetical citations should be used for textual support; any additional information, ideas, or language must, of course, be scrupulously cited.

See the assignment schedule on my blog for submission information, electronically on December 11, hard copy on 11th or 12th. Be sure to pay special attention to submission deadlines. On turnitin the assignment will be label “Final fall 2013.”

Time Out final paper instructions

             The works we have looked at this semester all use the element of time in distinct, unusual ways. In such works, chronological sequences of events are often altered, time may be suspended, accelerated, even reversed. Such works employ flashbacks, flashforwards, overlapping sequences, memories, or other devices to alter the reader’s perception of time or establish relationships among events.

            Choose three works from our common experience. For each, show how the author’s manipulation of time contributes to the effectiveness of the work as a whole. This “effectiveness” may in part be based on the facilitation of plot, but it should also involve consideration of the way in which altered chronology is related to the meaning of the work as a whole.

If you are able to go even further, you might attempt to make connections among the works you choose. Perhaps two authors distort time for similar purposes; perhaps your chosen works illustrate a distinct range of methods and purposes. Perhaps you will find some other pattern worthy of discussion.

Your paper should be approximately 7 – 10 pages in length; parenthetical citations should be used for textual support; any additional information, ideas, or language must, of course, be scrupulously cited.

See the assignment schedule on my blog for submission information, electronically on December 11, hard copy on 11th or 12th. Be sure to pay special attention to submission deadlines. On turnitin the assignment will be label “Final fall 2013.”

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

In-class essays--sample prompts

--> Essay prompts for in-class writing generally involve giving student writers a general literary topic and asking them to apply that topic to their knowledge of a specific play or novel. The ability to refer to specific scenes and characters is crucial, but the preparation for the essay generally consists of reading carefully, participating in discussions and activities, and being able to transfer knowledge of the novel from memory into an essay. Here are two examples of this type of prompt.

1.              The eighteenth-century British novelist Laurence Sterne wrote, “no body, but he who has felt it, can conceive what a plaguing thing it is to have a man’s mind torn asunder by two projects of equal strength, both obstinately pulling in a contrary direction at the same time.” Choose a character (not necessarily the protagonist) whose mind is pulled in conflicting directions by two compelling desires, ambitions, obligations, or influences. Identify the two conflicting forces and explain how this conflict illuminates the meaning of the novel as a whole. (Choices for this prompt originally included Macbeth. I think it would work well for Frankenstein also.)
2.              Writers often highlight the values of a culture or a society by using characters who are alienated from that culture or society because of gender, race, class, or creed. Choose a play or novel in which such a character plays a significant role and show how that character’s alienation reveals the surrounding society’s assumptions and moral values. (Choices for this prompt included Othello. I can imagine a pretty solid essay for Gardner's Grendel as well.)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Essay assignment: Beloved

English IV: Time Out
October, 2013
Essay assignment: Beloved

Assignment: Write an essay of approximately three pages typed (800 – 1000 words, approximately, using one of the following prompts or creating one of your own. (For practical reasons, check with me if you wish to pursue the “one of your own” option.) I will look especially for the following items: 1) specific analytical sentences (thesis, commentary, paragraph conclusions); 2) clear, unencumbered, accurate sentences; 3) precise vocabulary; 4) relevant textual evidence, in bite-size pieces, fully integrated with ideas; 5) mechanical correctness.

Caveat: There is undoubtedly much information available on the interweb. Reading it will probably taint your mind. Steer clear.


Beloved is, among other things, a novel about relationships. Choose two of the main characters and explore the relationship between them as deeply as you can in the space available.

Beloved is definitely a novel of the past. Choose a flashback or memory scene and explore, in some detail, its relationship to the context in which it is “remembered.”

Compare, in as much detail as possible, the two scenes in which white men come into the yard of 124 Bluestone Road. Look at Sethe’s state of mind, her actions, the behavior of the white men, possible ironies of situation, etc.

Look back at your notecards or journal entries for a seed which can be grown into a thesis statement and supported with evidence from the novel.

10/28 & 10/29—Introduce assignment
11/4 & 11/5—complete, typed drafts due in class for peer review
11/6 & 11/7—revised essays due at beginning of class, both hard copy and turnitin (assignment title: Beloved 2013)

Notes on format and heading available via separate link

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Reading good literature makes us more human? There's proof!

"A striking new study found that reading literary fiction – as opposed to popular fiction or serious nonfiction – leads people to perform better on tests that measure empathy, social perception and emotional intelligence" (N Y Times). See article here. (A tip of the hat to Mr. Flanagan-Hyde for finding this article.)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Monsters: Essay assignment

English IV
Monstrous Ink
September, 2013
Essay #2

Assignment: Write an essay of approximately 3 pages (800-1000 words) offering both a central argument and supporting evidence for a topic of your choice, drawn from either Beowulf or Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

Drafts of the essay must be brought to class 16 (September 26 & 27) for peer review. Revised essays are due in class and to turnitin.com for class 17 (September 30 & October 1).

Notes: Use parenthetical citation by line number (since both are poems, this is the correct standard) from the Seamus Heaney and Simon Armitage translations.

See this document for further notes on formatting and style.

1.     If the epic poem “portrays the central beliefs and values of the society,” what can we infer about the beliefs of Anglo-Saxon society from reading Beowulf?
2.     Compare the characters of Wealtheow and Lady Bertilak. How do the two poems differ in the presentation of their most significant women characters?
3.     What do Sir Gawain’s reactions to Lady Bertilak’s advances tell us about his character? Look closely; there may be more here than meets the eye.
4.     Evaluate the character of the Green Knight. What does he stand for? Is he a force for good or evil?
5.     Take a topic or idea from our class discussion and develop it in greater depth and detail, showing how the text supports your position.
Finally, if you consult any outside sources, be scrupulous in citing them fully and correctly. It’s very easy to commit plagiarism after “looking for ideas” on the internet.  Please don’t let that happen to you.

Caddy Compson

Caddy Compson is a tragic character, and the heart of her tragedy is revealed in two intense, excruciating conversations with Quentin. The second, the night before her wedding to Herbert, is suffused with deep despair and unbearable anguish. The only way Caddy, a girl who can never forget her family’s pride and the social code by which she has been raised, can escape her impossible situation is by marriage to a man of respectable family, even if that man is unworthy of her. Caddy is sick with her pregnancy, sick with worry about Benjy and Father, sick at the prospect of marrying a man she can never respect for the sake of preserving appearances and placating social convention. But in that conversation she alludes to an even more important side of her character when she says to Quentin, “since I since last summer” and “I died last year.” Although she cannot bring herself to finish the first sentence, her words suggest that the key to understanding the hell on earth in which she has lived for the last year and from which she must escape at all costs lies in the events of the preceding summer.

Caddy’s first conversation with Quentin, crucial to our full understanding of what happened to Caddy that summer, took place one evening at the branch where she and Quentin have played since childhood. Like their brother Benjy, Quentin has somehow intuited Caddy’s loss of virginity, and to Quentin’s obsessive regard for family pride and the social codes of the old South, the knowledge is horrifying, undermining the very foundations of his identity. But Quentin’s understanding is limited by his inability to accept the passing of time or his sister’s growing womanhood and the changes both have wrought in the idyllic and idealized version of Caddy he carries within himself. Therefore his whole being yearns to deny what has occurred, his every thought becomes a desperate attempt to make the horror vanish, by falsely claiming incest so he and Caddy can be sent away together, by running away and taking Benjy with them, even by a mutual suicide pact.

What Quentin cannot understand or acknowledge, however, is that what has happened to Caddy is not only a social disgrace, anathema to his code of honor, but also something rare and magical and wonderful. For Caddy—passionate, headstrong, courageous, willful, maternal, devoted and defiant, to whom young men have been attracted since she was fourteen—has found with Dalton Ames the most mysterious and precious and powerful force in human life. She has discovered the dizzying passion and desire of love. And because she has fallen in love with Dalton Ames, because the mere sound of his name makes her blood race, she has given herself to him, body and soul, and the resulting explosion destroys her entire family. Because Caddy falls in love, Mother rejects her, despises her, and spies on her; Mother and Father argue bitterly about her; Father drinks more and more heavily; Caddy and Dalton are somehow torn apart; Caddy’s emptiness and despair lead her to promiscuity, pregnancy, marriage to a despicable man, and exile from her family; Quentin’s life becomes unbearable and ends in suicide; Benjy is left to endure a lifetime of inexhaustible grief and loss; and her daughter Quentin is raised in a house where she will know neither mother nor father—all because a vibrant, radiant, passionate girl of seventeen fell in love.

The Sound and the Fury is a modern Southern tragedy, and like all tragedies, the suffering and destruction it portrays spring from the most fundamentally human qualities of its characters. Of these characters, by far the most human, the most fully alive, and, in the end, the most utterly betrayed by life, is Caddy Compson (625).

Friday, August 30, 2013


Instructions for bookmarks here

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

English IV Syllabus

English IV

Syllabus: Monstrous Ink, Time Out, & AP English

Mr. Coon; Fall 2013

I.          Goals

A.     The goal of these courses is to develop students’ ability to read, write, and create meanings from a series of related pieces of literature. Drawing from over British, American, and European literature, our work will center around a series of related questions; all texts, assignments, projects, and discussions will help develop our answers to these questions.

1. What is the best way to tell a story? Does it have to begin at the beginning and end at the end? Why do some authors choose to deliberately distort or alter the chronology of the stories they tell?
2. What makes a monster a monster? Are they necessarily evil? Which monsters are the most monstrous? Why?
3. What are the ethical challenges and conflicts faced by characters both human and monstrous? How do authors use these ethical dilemmas to illustrate their views of human values and morality? How do these authors use their characters to illustrate important ideas relevant to human life?
4.  How do writers use such techniques as flashbacks, flash-forwards, cross-cutting, and in medias res in their narratives? What are the artistic and thematic advantages of such techniques? What difficulties do they pose for readers?

B.  Objectives: Through this course, students will be able to do the following:
1. Knowledgeably discuss core canonical texts and writers in the Western literature.
2. Identify key developments and sources of growth and change in the history of the English language.
3. Analyze key elements of writers’ styles, both orally and in writing.
4. Use new vocabulary words in speech and writing.

II.        Texts

Monstrous Ink
1.     The Curious Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson
2.     Beowulf,  Seamus Heaney (trans)
3.     Grendel, John Gardner
4.     Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Simon Armitage (trans)
5.     Dracula, Bram Stoker
6.     The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka
7.     Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
Time Out
1.     Slaughterhouse 5, Kurt Vonnegut
2.     The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner
3.     Beloved, Toni Morrison
4.     Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller
5.     The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Leo Tolstoy
6.     Time’s Arrow, Martin Amis
Advanced Placement
1.     Hamlet, William Shakespeare
2.     Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift
3.     Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
4.     Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
5.     The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde
6.     Selected British and American poetry

III.       Additional texts

1.              Vocabulary for Achievement, 6th course
2.              Oure Faire Englische Tung: A Brief History of the English Language

IV. The Class Journal (CJ)

An essential part of the class is the regular use of your class journal. The class journal is a 7½ by 9 ¾ notebook in which you record all the writing you do during class sessions. The class journal, which never leaves the room except with my personal permission, will contain examples of the following kinds of written work:

·      Daily check-ins (inside the front cover of your daily book), giving yourself credit for arriving in class on time, bringing your textbook and writing utensil, and doing the reading or other daily assignment.
·      Take Fives (short 3-5 minute writings) done as you come in the door while I am taking attendance and organizing that day’s materials. A Take Five is a mental check-in, often beginning with a sentence like “Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about . . .” or “I’ve been wondering why. . .” and containing content which may or may not be directly related to the content of English class.
·      Passages of the day—brief answers to questions about short passages of poetry or prose, first written in your daily books, then shared with the members of your team in round-robin style.
·      Response journals—see instructions below—the alternative to pop quizzes as a means for you to show your level of engagement with the assigned reading and help yourself interact with that reading on a deeper level. RJ entries will be shared with teammates, used as discussion items, and form the basis for short critical essays posted to your blogs.
·      Closers—2-3 minutes at the end of class, time for you to process and reflect upon what happened in that day’s class: what was the most interesting or important thing you learned today? What do you need to remember from today’s class? What left you feeling confused or with a sense of incompleteness? What should we be sure to do next time we meet?
Since your class journal never leaves the room, any notes you wish to take about our discussions or new material should be kept in a notebook of your own or on your laptop.

Class journals will receive a “process” grade; this grade complements your work in your discussion teams as the “participation” component of your performance in the class. I will check your journals approximately every two or three times during the semester.

Journal grades are based on both quantity and quality:
• Quantity: all entries are present (if you are absent from class it’s your responsibility to come in during a free and make up the Response Journal entry), and entries show the effort to answer the questions thoroughly (rather than writing a single sentence, saying “I’m done” and sitting there while others write).
•Quality: Content shows a sincere effort to take the questions seriously and write thoughtful answers which are responsive to the assigned readings.

Take Five starters:
Lately I’ve been thinking about . . .
I’ve been wondering why . . .
(Monday) The best/worst thing about this weekend was . . .
(Friday) I’m looking forward to/worried about this weekend because . . .
(Morning class) Today should be a really good/bad day because . . .
(Afternoon class) Today has been a really good/bad day because . . .
I’m looking forward to/dreading                        because . . .
The best movie I’ve seen lately was . . . .
Lately I’ve been really enjoying the time I spend . . .
So far I think the new longer periods are good/bad because . . .
My favorite thing to do outside of school is          because . . .
I will read whatever you write, so don’t describe the fight you had with your mother/boyfriend/best friend last night unless that’s something you want me to know about. And of course my confidentiality is limited by law not to include anything you say that sounds dangerous, harmful to yourself or others, or illegal.

Response Journals
We often use reader response journals as in-class activities to accompany our study of literature. There are a number of different topics you can use in a reading response journal:
  • Copy down a quote from a character and tell why you think it’s meaningful.
  • Ask questions about things that confuse you or that you wonder about.
  • Describe your feelings about the events.
  • Describe your feelings about characters.
  • Copy down a brief passage and tell why you think it’s important.
  • Describe your favorite part.
  • Make a prediction about what will happen next.
  • Tell how you would react if you were one of the characters in the story.
  • Describe a part that surprised you.
  • Does the author use any strong imagery in the story (similes, metaphors, etc.)? Give examples.
  • Write down interesting vocabulary words, look them up, say how they add to the passage.
  • Talk to the author or a character (or one write of them a letter).
  • Draw pictures or create graphic organizers.

Below is a list of prompt starters:
General Observations
  • I noticed…
  • I was really surprised…
  • What I found interesting…
  • The author is saying…
  • I like the way…
  • I didn’t/don’t like…
  • My favorite part…
Element of the Text is Unclear
  • I didn’t understand…
  • A question I have…
  • I’m guessing that…
  • Something new I learned…
  • I felt _______ when…
Discuss Surprising Element
  • I couldn’t believe…
  • I never thought…
Hypothetical Thinking and Predictions
  • If I were [character]…
  • What I think will happen is…
  • What I thought would happen was…
  • I think _____ will become important because…
  • I began to think…
  • I predict…
Personal Connection to Past Experience
  • This reminds me of…
  • I began to think of…
  • I know the feeling…
  • I can picture…
  • I can imagine…

Purposes and Rules
Response journals serve two important and related purposes. They allow you to experience the readings for yourself, ask your own questions, and search for your own meanings rather than attend classes where I tell you what the text means to me while you write it down. They also allow me to see the evidence that you are reading the assigned texts and thinking about what you read. Therefore, there are two very specific, non-negotiable rules for a response journal entry. 1. Entries must include specific references to pages, lines, numbers, and passages covering the whole text assigned. 2. Entries that contain only general comments or plot summary without specific questions, quotes, and references will be assumed to be the product of Spark-note thinking and are therefore not acceptable and will not receive passing grades.  Finally, for safe-keeping, your response journals are part of your daily books and therefore never leave the classroom.

Reader response journals will be written for at least 5 minutes each day a reading assignment is due. They will be shared, round-robin fashion, with the other members of your class team. They may also be used to respond to passages I have chosen for the class to discuss. From there, RJ (response journal) entries can be used to generate Discussion Items (DI’s) for either your team or the class as a whole. Finally, RJ entries can become the basis of short individual critical essays on aspects of the literature. These essays (approximately 300-500 words depending on your level of ambition) are posted on your blogs and will receive specific written comments from your teammates and from me. Thus reading and writing become entwined as basic learning activities. You read, you write, you discuss, you choose a piece to refine, and you write further.

We will also use daily books to record our responses to the passage of the day or the question of the day, to record our thoughts about the meaning of a short poem, an example of a literary technique, or to think about poetic or prose style analysis. These brief responses will be shared in your teams.

(Thanks to Mr. Scott at Hughes Academy  for his list of journal starters and to Dan Kirby and Tom Liner, authors of Inside Out and my mentors on the use of class journals.)





V.        Turnitin.com

In addition to submitting hard copies of your papers this year, you are required to submit electronic copies of all papers to turnitin.com. These instructions will help you submit your papers. Use your PCDS e-mail address and the same password for turnitin.com that you use for your account at blogger.com.
           On your web browser, go to turnitin.com. Register as a new user or login to the personal home page you created last year. You must give your PCDS e-mail address and a personal password which contains both letters and numbers to register. Click “student” as your user type. Give whatever other information may be necessary as you move through the required fields.
           When you reach your personal home page, click “join new class.” Then enter a class ID and a class enrollment password. The name of this class is Class of 2014, the course ID is 6787729, and the password is seniors2014. Click “submit” when you finish. N.B: You only need to complete this step once.
           Then submit your paper. When you click on the class title, you will go to the class history page. Click on the word “submit” in the middle navigation bar. Enter the title of your paper and select the assignment with the correct date from the pull down menu. Assignments are listed by the title of the work and the date an assignment is due.
           After entering your title and selecting the correct assignment, paste your essay into the box marked “main text.” (In my experience, the copy and paste method works better than the upload method. You may, of course, find otherwise). You may ignore the boxes marked abstract and bibliography unless otherwise instructed. When your paper has been pasted into the “main text” box, click “submit.”
           Remember to put your digital receipt number on the assignment before you give it to me. Otherwise your assignment will be marked late and penalized accordingly.

VI.       Participation and attendance

           Class participation is a crucial part of the course. Therefore, it is imperative that we all treat one another with respect and behave in such a way as to contribute to, not disrupt, an atmosphere conducive to maximum learning.
           Participation in class is mandatory. I understand that the introverts have difficulty speaking in front of your peers and me; nevertheless, I expect you to contribute meaningfully to class activities and discussions. Often, these contributions take forms other than speaking in front of the entire class. For example, the entries in your class journal are one important way for you to show your engagement with the material and willingness to exert yourself. The passages you choose or the comments you put on your bookmarks are another way to show your engagement and active reading. One more factor is the quality of your contributions to your team activities. In these ways and through your oral presentations, you show that you have come to class having done the reading assigned and are prepared to discuss the material, answer questions, venture informed opinions, and articulate personal responses.
           Participation grades are assigned as follows and account for 20% of your grade in the class: "A" students are fully engaged, on time for class with the necessary books and supplies. They display obvious enthusiasm for the tasks of the class: reading, talking, listening, working in a group, thinking about a problem. Their daily books are thorough, thoughtful, and always kept up to date. They participate in all team activities and remain on task throughout class. "B" students' engagement varies slightly, sometimes at "A" level, sometimes not. "C" students are generally involved but with noticeable lapses. They may arrive late to class or frequently forget materials. They spend time on things other than the work at hand: chatting with friends, doing homework for another class, catching up on sleep, or staring off in space. "D" students exhibit these behaviors to an even greater degree, becoming a distraction to the work of the class, having a negative impact on the group's ability to get its work done, regularly coming to class unprepared.
           Absences and lateness will have detrimental effects on performance and grades. With longer breaks between classes, I expect you to tend to personal business—going to the bathroom, finding your backpack, picking up a paper from the printer in the lab, and so on—on your own time. Be in class at the beginning of the block and don’t leave. Lateness will also be reported to the Dean of Students for detention.

VII.      Vocabulary

           Two new lessons in the vocabulary book are assigned for quizzing every fifth class (5, 10, 15, etc). We will look briefly at the new words two classes prior to the quiz (#s 3, 8, 13, and so on), so please bring your books to that session. Quizzes will take place the first 10 minutes of class after “check-in” on days which are multiples of 5 unless otherwise notified.
           For first semester, we will cover lessons 1-14; for the second, lessons 15-30. Quizzes will contain all 20 words from the two lessons. There may be occasional cumulative quizzes as well containing selected words from a larger number of lessons.
           Missed vocabulary quizzes must be made up at your earliest possible convenience. After three class days, barring extraordinary circumstances, missing scores will be entered as zeroes.

VIII.    Grading policy

           Grades are determined on a point system in which each assignment is weighted by the number of points it contains. Points will be totaled at the end of each quarter and semester and grades determined in accordance with the percentages contained in your student handbook.
           Grades from individual assignments fall into categories weighted approximately as follows: papers and projects (50%), vocabulary and quizzes (20%), participation, journals, bookmarks, and attendance (30%).
           Assignments are due at the beginning of class. Written work turned in during or after class is considered late and will be penalized. Late work is eligible for a score no higher than 75%, depending on the quality of the assignment and the degree of lateness. If you are absent the day an assignment is due, either have a classmate turn it in or fax the assignment to the Upper School office (602-224-6177).
           Students who miss quizzes or tests because of excused absence must make arrangements for make-up immediately upon returning to school. Missing work (quizzes or assignments never turned in or made up) will result in an incomplete grade for the quarter or semester.
          Any student who establishes a clear pattern of failing to complete the assigned reading according to the prescribed schedule will receive a semester grade of D or F, regardless of that student’s scores on other assignments. Repeated missing or poor written work, response journal entries which cannot be distinguished from SparkNotes summaries, or the inability to respond to  basic factual information in class will be taken as signs of not reading.
           All assignments must be completed in accordance with the school’s honesty policy. See your handbook for details and be certain you know the difference between plagiarism and acceptable use of source material.

IX.       Contact information
• In person—room 311. Stop by to talk or ask a question anytime I’m free.  My schedule is posted on the door of my classroom. To make up a quiz, go over an assignment, a speech draft, or a college essay, please make an appointment first.
• By voice-mail—602-956-0253 x4296
• By fax—602-224-6177