Course:  College Prep English
Fall 2011 and Spring 2012
Schedule: Block B and Block C
Location:  Room 210 Humanities

Instructor:  Mrs. Dunckel               
Office Location
: Room 218 Humanities

Office Hours: 8:00 am - 8:50 am, Mon-Fri

Goals and Expectations

The College Prep English course is designed to simulate a college English class in order to better prepare students for the expectations and rigors that a college classroom presents.  Students will refine writing, speaking, and reading skills by learning how to practically apply general principles of interpretation to a variety of situations.  Whether or not students are presently avid readers, developing critical thinking skills through literary interpretation will aid students in whatever endeavors they may pursue in the future, as well as deepen an appreciation of the written word and language in general. 

Furthermore, by incorporating such skills as grammar, vocabulary development, process writing and paragraph exercise, students will learn to expand their knowledge of written expression and apply it to their essays.  The course will focus on topics such as prewriting exercises, descriptive writing, the thesis statement, the introductory paragraph, body paragraphs, and other topics.  Throughout this course, students will read a variety of books to expose themselves to different styles of writing.  In addition, the books provide a means for daily writing assignments as well as support for the major assignments each quarter.

As the year progresses, students will move from short essays to writing a more in-depth research paper.  In order to be successful in College Prep English, students must participate in the daily writing exercises and assignments.  In addition, the reading assignments will relate closely to class discussion and, therefore, are also an essential aspect of the course.

Required Texts

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
Hole in my Life by Jack Gantos
The Giver by Lois Lowry
The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

Required Materials

Three ring notebook (with dividers and lined paper) and / or laptop computer
BA Planner

Course Requirements


The grading breakdown for this course is as follows (by quarter):

10%    Participation - Written and Oral Discussions
15%    Quizzes - Vocabulary, Reading, and Grammar
25%    Homework - Writing Prompts, Reading Responses, Activity Worksheets
25%    Formal Essay (1)
25%    Formal Essay (2)

Participation and Attendance: 

It is important that students be present for each class period.  This includes arriving on time, being prepared, and participating in all class activities, discussion-related and otherwise.  The classroom experience depends in large part upon all students, and their willingness to frequently and substantively engage their classmates in discussion of the course material.  A good rule of thumb is to aim to speak up at least once per class period. 

More than this, the class participation grade takes into account the level of preparation, readiness and eagerness to respond thoughtfully, considerately, and critically to ideas presented by class peers.  This portion of the grade will also be influenced by exercises and activities we may do during our class time together; if students aren't there, naturally they won’t be able to receive credit for those activities.

Furthermore, the Dean of Students receives daily attendance reports and determines whether an absence is excused or unexcused.  If a student has an excused absence, it is his responsibility to make arrangements to complete missed assignments.  Plan ahead and make sure to speak to the teacher prior to the absence.  Unexcused absences may result in a zero on any missed assignments.  In order to reinforce class attendance, a critical skill for college, students will receive an extra two points on their final quarter grade for perfect (no unexcused absences) attendance.  If a student has only one unexcused absence for the quarter, he will receive one extra point on his final quarter grade.  Please review the Bridgton Academy Student Handbook for more information on the Academy's attendance policy.  

Quizzes - Vocabulary, Reading, and Grammar

The goal of vocabulary and grammar quizzes is to increase the diversity of student's writing by expanding vocabulary and providing alternatives for sentence structures.  Occasionally, we will have reading quizzes, which are a means to assess critical thinking skills and comprehension of the book’s themes and symbolism.  Students may expect an average of one quiz every week.

Homework - Writing Prompts, Reading Responses, and Activity Worksheets:

Students will create a section in their binder, or on their laptop, to house all your written responses to writing prompts and reactions to assigned readings.  These written assignments need not be long; however, they will be graded in the form of a “check” system:

√+    Students engage both critically and thoughtfully with the text, using textual support for any conclusions drawn, and meet the length requirement for the assignment.

       Students respond in a critical and thoughtful fashion, but do not meet the length requirement, or if the response is an insufficient attempt to answer the questions/issues posed (i.e., thoughtful concerns about the text are articulated but not enough of an effort is made to address those concerns oneself).

√-    Student's work displays a lack of any substantial effort whatsoever, or only minimal effort.

0     Assignment not turned in.

Failure to turn in a reading response or writing prompt on the day it is due will result in a grade drop for each day it is late.  For example, a writing prompt that would be a √+, but it was turned in after class on the day it was due, would become a √.  If that same assignment was turned in the following day, it would become a √-.

Occasionally, your homework will include a worksheet to check for understanding of the day's lesson or preparing for an upcoming lesson.  These assignments will be graded either as complete or not (credit or no credit).

Most homework may be submitted through Engrade's Turn-Ins, which will be explained in class.  Assignments will also be accepted through email, as an attachment, or Dropbox.  In order to use Dropbox, students must create an account and share a folder with Mrs. Dunckel.  Again, more will be explained in class.  Ultimately, we are trying to create a paper free homework policy; however, this may not always be possible.  If students require another means of passing in assignments, please discuss alternative with the teacher.

Formal Essay Assignments:

Memoir Essay

Five Paragraph Essay

Compare/Contrast Essay

College Essay

Descriptive Essay

Alternate Ending Essay

Persuasive Essay

Research Paper

Course Policies

Teacher Absences:

If at anytime I am personally unable to attend class during our scheduled block, I will do my best to make sure the following actions are taken:

  1. Students will be given at least 24 hours notice of my absence, when possible.
  2. Students will be notified through the daily bulletin, email, and an announcement in class and/or chapel (when practical).
  3. The notification will include either who will be covering the class and the required assignment(s), during the regularly scheduled class time, OR a time and place when the class will be rescheduled.
  4. If the class needs to be rescheduled, it is the student's responsibility to attend - any conflicts may be discussed with the teacher prior to the makeup time. 
  5. The attendance policy, as noted on this syllabus, will be followed for any regularly scheduled or rescheduled classes.

Late Papers:

Papers are due at the beginning of the class period, as noted on the course schedule.  Any papers not turned in at the beginning of the class period will be lowered one letter grade (i.e. B+ marked down to a B), with an additional deduction of one grade for each additional day they are late.  Extensions may be granted in extenuating circumstances, but students must approach the teacher prior to the due date.  Again, papers are due at the beginning of class.  If students show up late for class on the day a paper is due, the paper is considered late!  

Laptop computers are the desired, but not required, means of writing within the classroom.  Almost everything that a student will need for this course will be on the course website; we will refer to the website daily within class.  Outside of class, the website will be the primary source of information; however, if students have questions, they may send a message through Engrade and/or email the teacher.  Office hours, or scheduling appointments, are other means of seeking help from the teacher.
Cell phones, iPods, and all other electronic devices (other than a laptop computer) must be turned off before students enter the classroom.  If a cell phone goes off in class or in some manner an electronic device is visible (other than laptop computer), it becomes the property of Mrs. Dunckel until further notice.

Plagiarism—the presentation of someone else’s words or ideas as though they were your own—is one of the most serious offenses in the academic community and the Academy approaches instances of plagiarism accordingly.  Given modern technology, students
will be caught if they plagiarize.

Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, the following:
  1. presenting the ideas of others without citation;
  2. using direct quotations without the placement of quotation marks and without proper citation;
  3. paraphrasing information gleaned from an outside source, or observations made in an outside text, without citation;
  4. submitting material prepared by someone other than yourself.
Most importantly, there is no acceptable excuse for committing plagiarism, and the consequences of plagiarism are severe: any assignment found to be plagiarized, in whole or in part, will receive a zero.  For more information on the Academy’s plagiarism policy, please review the Student Handbook.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities:   
Any student who feels he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact me privately.  However, it is the responsibility of students with disabilities to, in the first instance, register with the Disability Services, and to present an Accommodation Letter to me when discussing specific requests.  The Office of Disability Services is located in room 218 Humanities Building.

Additional Support Services:
Students are encouraged to use the BA Writing Center on any assignment for this course, in particular major essay assignments. This is not a "drop off" service; rather, the Writing Center staff will sit with students to review ideas, organization, formatting, and substance of papers.  Papers at any point in the writing process may be brought to the Writing Center.  Occasionally, extra credit may be earned on assignments in this course if this support service is used; therefore, students would benefit from establishing this habit early in their time at BA.