English II

Course Overview

Instructor: Mrs. Bethany McQuiston

Email: mcquistonb@fchs77.org

Phone: (618) 539-5533 Ext. 286

Website: https://sites.google.com/fchs77.org/mcquiston (located on Freeburg High School Website)

Texts: Anthem, Elements of Literature: Fourth Course, The Great Gatsby, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar

Course Description:

English II is a full unit course that focuses on building on the skills and appreciation developed in English I. This course is designed to build upon their existing grammar and compositions skills as well as expanding knowledge of different genres of literature. Analysis of various literature pieces including short story, drama, nonfiction, poetry, and novel are covered. Construction of and writing cohesive essays skills are uncovered in English II. Projects that incorporate writing and speaking skills are also included in the course curriculum. Writing is ongoing throughout the year; students will write a minimum of three papers including expository, either narrative or descriptive, persuasive, and a research paper in accordance with MLA guidelines. This research project is based on a controversial topic and will be written in an argumentative structure. A speech will accompany the final paper.

Grading Scale:

A: 90-100 - 5

Superior - Independent learner; superior work; all work completed on time at an exceptional level of quality and effort

B: 80-89 - 4

Above Average - Semi-independent learner; above average work; all work completed on time with few flaws

C: 70-79 - 3

Average - Dependent learner; average work; most completed on time showing average effort

D: 60-69 = 2

Below Average - Work completed shows minimal effort; missing and late assignments; rarely made up missed work

F: 59 and below - 1

Failing - Work does not meet standards or expectations; many missing assignments/projects; rarely or did not participate in learning activities.

I: Incomplete - 0

Semester 1 Grade = 80% (Semester 1), 20% (final exam)

Semester 2 Grade = 80% (Semester 2), 20% (final exam)


Semester 1


  • Reviewing Literary Elements


  • Exploring Short Stories
    • “Contents of a Dead Man’s Pocket” (Textbook p. 16)
    • from Into Thin Air (Textbook p. 504)
      • Everest (Film)
  • Postcolonial Studies
    • Colonialism and British Imperialism (Notes and Study)
    • “Real Princess - A Portrait of Pocahontas” (Textbook p. 1100)
    • Rabbit-Proof Fence (Film)


  • William Shakespeare and Roman History
    • The Tragedy of Julius Caesar (Textbook p. 830)
    • Persuasive Writing - Tragic Hero Analysis (1-3 pages)


  • The 1920s and The Great Gatsby
    • 1920s Mini Research Project (Presentation)
    • The Great Gatsby (novel)
    • Literary Analysis Paper (2-3 pages)


  • The 1920s and The Great Gatsby (cont.)
  • Semester 1 Final Exams

*Subject to change

Semester 2


  • Russian Film and Literature
    • Russia’s Last Tsar (Documentary)
    • Dr. Zhivago (Film)
    • Film analysis paper (1-2 pages)


  • Russian Film and Literature (cont.)
    • 2014 Winter Olympic Opening Ceremony (TV Special)
    • Anthem (Novel)
    • The Giver (Film)
    • Anthem Projects (various student options)


  • Conducting and Presenting Independent Research
    • Paper (3-5 pages)


  • Conducting and Presenting Independent Research (cont.)
    • Speech (4-6 minutes)


  • Poetry
    • Song Analysis (Presentation)
  • Semester 2 Final Exams

Additional Weekly Activities

  • Mindfulness Mondays
  • Trivia Tuesdays
  • Win it Wednesdays
  • Critical Thinking Thursdays
  • Free-writing Fridays