Course Syllabus

  1. Tutoring Times
  2. Course Description
  3. Work Load
  4. Grading Policy
  5. Semester Averages
  6. Absences & Make-up Work Guidelines
  7. Late Work Policy
  8. Redo Policy
  9. Expectations
  10. Supplies
  11. Textbooks
  12. Course Overview
  13. Recipe for Success

Tutoring Times
Mrs. Taylor is available most mornings before school from 8:15-9:00 AM as well as afternoons 
from 4:15-5:00 PM. However, making an appointment is the MOST EFFECTIVE

Course Description

In this course, students will:
  • critically read selected texts and analyze them using various techniques and devices.
  • explore analytical writing through effective compositions. 
  • employ correct grammar, usage, mechanics, sentence structure, and word choice to enhance the efficacy of their analysis.
  • listen critically and respectfully to texts, peer comments, and instruction.
  • practice soft skills—awareness of content, audience, and appearance; effective speaking skills; and nonverbal cues.
  • build analysis skills and synthesize concepts introduced in class

Pre-AP requires students to perform at two grade levels above their on-level counterparts. They must stay abreast of the reading, writing, and projects and juggle multiple tasks, with an average of 1-2 hours of homework outside of class. Commitment, time management, organization, and on-time work submission are key to student success.

For complete information, see the WHS English Department Grading Policy.  As per this policy: 

  • Plagiarism
Any work found to be copied or to contain any plagiarism will automatically receive no credit. (See Student Handbook.)
  • Grades
    • Daily Grades:
      • Participation
      • Homework
      • Written and oral class work
      • Pop quizzes
      • Warm-ups
      • Notebooks
      • Response logs/journals
    • Major Grades:
      • Compositions
      • Tests
      • Projects
      • Research Projects
      • Announced Quizzes
  • Each six-week grading period, grades will be weighted as follows:
    • Daily Grades -- 30%
    • Major Grades -- 70%

According to district policy, semester exam grades constitute 15% of the semester average.  
Therefore, the following percentage weights will be used to calculate a final semester grade:
Fall Semester
  • Marking Period 1 -- 28%
  • Marking Period 2 -- 29%
  • Marking Period 3 -- 28%
  • Semester Exam -- 15%
Spring Semester
  • Marking Period 4 -- 28%
  • Marking Period 5 -- 29%
  • Marking Period 6 -- 28%
  • Semester Exam -- 15%

As per the WHS English Department Grading Policy:

  • Assignments are due before or at the beginning of class unless otherwise specified by the teacher; work turned in at any other time is considered late.
  • Students who are present when daily assignments are made but absent when the daily assignments are due must turn in the work at the beginning of the class period upon their return to school.
  • The policy regarding make-up work follows procedures found in the Student Handbook.
  • If a student is absent on the day a major assignment is due, the assignment can be emailed to the teacher at school (as a Microsoft Word document attachment) OR hand delivered to the teacher by a friend or family member.
    • If emailed, the assignment will be dated by the time on the email.
    • A hard copy reflecting the same content as the emailed copy (no edits or changes) must then be given to the teacher the day the student returns to class.
    • If hand delivered, the assignment must be received by or before the beginning of the class on its due date to avoid a late penalty.

As per the WHS English Department Grading Policy:

  • Major assignments are due at the beginning of class on the assigned day whether the student is present or not. Work handed in after that time is considered late.
  • Major assignments handed in after the appointed deadline are penalized in the following manner:
    • One calendar day late = maximum 90
    • Two calendar days late = maximum 80
    • Three to five calendar days late = maximum 70
**For example, the maximum achievable grade for an assignment due on Friday but not received until Monday will be a 70.**
  • Daily assignments handed in late (up to five days including weekends and holidays) may receive a maximum score of 70 and is not accepted thereafter unless otherwise specified by the teacher.

Consistent with the district policy, students will be given opportunities to retest or redo assignments that have been submitted on time for a maximum grade of 70.  As per the WHS English Department Grading Policy, English I students are permitted to redo one major grade and two minor grades per grading cycle.
As a member of this class, each student should contribute to a productive learning environment 

  • Being prepared.
    • Submit assignments at the BEGINNING of class.
    • Start the warm-up activity as soon as possible upon entering the room.
    • Bring all necessary materials to class daily.
  • Being respectful.
    • Listen carefully when a teacher OR student is speaking.
    • Raise your hand and wait to be acknowledged before speaking.
    • Use appropriate language.
    • Behave appropriately for a substitute teacher.
    • Accept responsibility for your actions:
      • Apologize for inappropriate comments and behavior.
      • Pick up and dispose of trash in your area.
      • Return borrowed materials to their proper place.
      • Respect other people’s property. 
  • Being positive and open-minded.
  • Being honest.
  • Being involved.

  • 3-ring binder.  Students need a separate notebook—a 1 ½ inch binder—for this class.
  • A planner. 
Students must have a permanent place where they can record their homework.
This planner needs
to be a grid-style calendar that spans the academic year—from August to May. This planner can be as complicated as the Westwood High School planner or as simple as a free planner distributed by the bank.
  • Loose-leaf notebook paper
  • Navy blue or black pens.  Exotic colors are NOT permitted.
  • Highlighters
  • Dividers
  • Sheet Protectors
  • 1 GB (min.) USB Memory Stick (optional)
  • The text the class is currently studying.
  • An email address that is checked regularly.

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Students do NOT need to bring their textbooks to class everyday; there is a set for in-class use.
For this course,
students will use the following textbooks.
  • Literature Texas Treasures (Glencoe)
  • Writing Coach: Writing and Grammar for the 21st Century (Prentice Hall)
However, students will need to acquire copies of the following novels and bring them to class everyday during the appropriate units:
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  • Mythology by Edith Hamilton
** Students can obtain a used OR new copies of these texts. Furthermore, the PTSA offers one-stop shopping in purchasing the books needed. The books will be offered during all three lunches for two weeks at the beginning of the school year, at Open House, and at the various parent nights. **

**Overview subject to change based on student/course needs.**

Freshmen will study three strands in English this year including reading, grammar, and writing.  Grammar instruction, while focused on writing with various sentence structures, will be customized by each teacher to accommodate student needs and to correlate with the writing curriculum.  The reading and writing strands are detailed in the units below.


Unit One: The Creation of a Story

Core Readings:
  • Various teacher selected short stories
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • Short Answer Response Writing (chunks)
  • Solid paragraphs incorporating textual evidence and commentary
  • Visuals using propaganda

Unit Two: The Art of Creating a Voice
  • Core Readings: Various non-fiction pieces selected by teacher
  • Writing/Projects: Style analysis / Timed writing

Unit Three: The Power of Perspective
  • Core Readings: Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  • Writing/Projects: Literary analysis focused on story telling

Unit Four: The Challenge of Making an Argument
  • Core Readings: Student selected articles based on social issue of interest
  • Writing/Projects: Formal research paper

Unit Five: The Language of Poetry 

Core Readings:
  • Selected pieces of poetry
Writing/Projects: Style analysis / Timed writing

Unit Six: The influence from the past

Core Readings:
  • Excerpts from Mythology by Edith Hamilton)
  • Excerpts from Odyssey by Homer
  • The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet (William Shakespeare)
Writing/Projects: Creative writing

**Please note that units of study vary in length and do not necessarily begin or end at the beginning or ending of a grading cycle.**

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Students should heed the following suggestions to increase their success in this class:
  • Carefully read the directions of all assigned work. If they are unclear or require additional information, then ask for help.
  • Seek extra help when needed.
  • Maintain a system that organizes handouts, class work, and assignments.
  • Submit assignments ON TIME—at the beginning of class on the day that it is due.
  • Develop a personal system for previewing, studying, and reviewing course work.
  • Avoid procrastinating.