A Little Bit About Your Teacher:
        A relentless scholar, dynamic athlete, and citizen of the world, I have been an English teacher since 2004 and have worked in a range of public, private, and international schools. Born just outside of New York City and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, I have a passion for the New York Giants as well as a fondness for vinegar-based, pulled pork barbecue and slow, Southern drawls. After beginning college as an Animal Science major at The University of Kentucky, I switched majors and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature. I went on to attain my Masters in English Literature with a focus on 20th Century American fiction from the University Virginia.
        After graduate school, I moved to Quito, Ecuador where I taught at The International School of Quito, traveled around South America, and met my future wife. After four years abroad, my wife and I moved to Atlanta, GA where we both taught at The Lovett School. In 2012, we moved to Denver where I taught Middle School English and Spanish for two years at Bryant Webster. Happy to return to high school, I continue to try and develop my passion for literature and my love of all things popular culture. When not teaching, I enjoy hiking with my dog, playing basketball, skiing, reading, writing, cooking, fishing, watching movies, and listening to music.

-Bennett Spann


Course Description:

In this course, students will read a range of fiction and non-fiction texts including  poetry and prose, essays, autobiographies, political cartoons, songs, videos, advertisements, and podcasts. Texts will reflect the content and themes of American and world literature in both their historical and thematic contexts. Students will utilize 21st Century skills such critical thinking, informational and cultural literacy, collaboration, self-direction, and invention. Classes and activities will center around reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Students will hone skills individually while also working in groups with others to improve communication and hold students accountable to their classmates and themselves. Assignments are aligned to Common Core and Colorado state standards.  



You will be evaluated on Homework, Quizzes and Tests. The percentages are as follows:

60% Product: (Tests, Essays, Presentations, Quizzes)

30% Process: (Homework, Classwork, Warm-ups, Class Participation)                         

10% Semester Exam


Letter grades are assigned as follows:

A : 90 – 100    Superior mastery of course objectives

B : 80-89   Better than average mastery of course objectives

C : 70-79     Minimum acceptable mastery of course objectives

D : 60-69    Less than acceptable mastery of course objectives

F : Below 60  Fails to demonstrate achievement of course objectives


Course Policies and Procedures




Students are expected to attend class on designated days and make-up any missed work within two days after an absence.

Homework Guidelines

Students should consistently expect 20-40 minutes of homework for each class with additional time dedicated to major assignments (writing essays and preparing for tests/quizzes).

Late Work/Test makeups

I will accept late work within 1 week of due date for a 20% penalty. After 1 week, students can receive 50%. Essays and Product grades may be rewritten for a higher grade on an individual basis.

Academic Integrity

Plagiarism is grounds for failing an assignment or course and/or disciplinary action.  DO NOT PLAGiARIZE.  Plagiarism means copying passages directly from texts, articles, study guides, or websites without quotation marks and citations.  See the CEC Writing guide for more information.

Expected Behaviors

Come prepared to class (materials, homework, ready to learn).

Be accountable to yourself and your classmates.

Be respectful towards peers and instructor.

Use appropriate classroom language.

Challenge yourself.

Only use your phone or headphones when advised by teacher.

No food or drink allowed in the classroom.

Standards Addressed in Course



Common Core


Reading: Literature

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9–10.1: Cite strong and thorough text evidence to support analyses of what texts say explicitly, as well as inferences drawn from texts.

Reading: Informational Texts

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9–10.1: Cite strong and thorough text evidence to support analyses of what texts say explicitly, as well as inferences drawn from texts.


CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9–10.1: Write arguments to support claims in analyses of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

Speaking and Listening

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9–10.1: Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9–10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.


CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9–10.6: Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering words or phrases important to comprehension or expression.

21st Century Skills

Critical Thinking and Reasoning: Thinking Deeply, Thinking Differently

Information Literacy: Untangling the Web

Collaboration: Working Together, Learning Together

Self-Direction: Own Your Learning

Invention: Creating Solutions