what you see when out to sea

Monday, September 5, 2011

MDIHS Course Overview: Honors Junior English

Grade 11 Honors American Literature

Keith Eaton

288-5011 ext. 109

Block B

Fall/Winter 2011-2012

MDIHS Mission Statement

The mission of the Mount Desert Island High School community is to provide a safe, supportive environment in which all members are held to high academic and ethical standards. The faculty, staff, and administration, supported by the community, guide students as they acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to become responsible, self-directed learners and healthy, productive citizens.


Students and parents, welcome to Honors Junior English with Mr. Eaton. Having spent the previous 11 years teaching at the North Haven Community School on North Haven island in Penobscot Bay, I have a lot to learn at MDIHS. Chief among them are the electronic grading systems (Power School), First Class and Google Docs. Once I’m up to speed with these tools, they will become more and more integrated into our curriculum and daily lessons. For now, I will be relying on gmail as a primary means of communication.

This semester’s Honors Junior English will be centered around one Guiding Question: How does American Literature reflect the national identity and culture of the United States? Embedded in this question is the theme of the American Dream. These are broad concerns, but they will provide a common language for our discussion of literary themes in class texts. Reading prior to class discussion is an essential for a successful honors English class.

This will be a writing intensive course, preparing honors students for college writing. Therefore, there will be frequent writing assignments. However, as I am a believer in writing as a process, students will be given several chances to improve each longer writing piece through the drafting process. Short homework assignments and in-class, on-demand writing tasks will be completed in a single draft. Juniors are required to complete two common assessment, portfolio tasks: the transition speech and a thesis paper. For the latter, each paper will be a thesis-driven essay and will provide students with ample opportunities to meet the standards.


Attendance is mandatory. Attendance will be taken during the first 10 minutes of class. Three tardies will result in an automatic detention.

Essays and Deadlines

Final essays must be completed and printed before class on the day they are due. Drafts will be passed in electronically (via e-mail) before class on they day they are due. This is a level of professionalism expected in the workplace, and, for now, school is your job!

Critical Review

These tasks require students to read and report back on literary criticism of a given work.

  • There will be one on-demand writing about Huckleberry Finn at the beginning of the year to be followed by a critical review.

• There will be four longer writing tasks this semester.

    1. Literary analysis of comparable themes in Mistress Bradstreet and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short stories.
    2. An historical analysis of the American Dream as presented by Rebecca Harding Davis. This will require research of secondary sources accessed through MARVEL!, Gale’s Opposing Viewpoints and our library’s other on-line databases and print resources.
    3. Literary analysis essay on symbolism in The Great Gatsby.
    4. Screenplay writing based on The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. (Note: if the standards have not yet been met for the thesis essay, student will be required to address that standard.)
  • Presentation on a Supreme Court case, noting how it relates to the American Dream theme.
  • One short book review, based on independent reading due before the holidays in December.
  • Students will end the semester by presenting their transition speeches.
  • Throughout the semester, there will be shorter, on-demand writings, including a final exam.


Students will be required to provide a three-ring binder which will house all work from the semester. This binder will act as an English “portfolio.” All completed tasks will be neatly stored here in order that a final assessment of student work and effort may be reached.


This course will focus on building vocabulary through the study of Greek and Latin roots. Chapter assignments will be issued on Fridays. On Wednesdays, tasks will be due, and there will be a short vocabulary quiz.

Texts & Tasks

  • How to Read Literature Like a Professor Foster, Thomas C.
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Twain, Mark (On-demand writing & Critical review)
  • Mistress Bradstreet Gordon, Charlotte (On-demand writing)
  • Selected Short Stories from Nathaniel Hawthorne (On-demand writing & thesis essay)
  • The Crucible Miller, Arthur (On-demand writing & Critical review)
  • Life in the Iron Mills Davis, Rebecca Harding (Thesis essay on the American Dream)
  • The Great Gatsby Fitzgerald, F. Scott (Literary analysis thesis essay)
  • Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven Alexi, Sherman (Screenplay or replacement task)
  • Free choice reading from selected texts (Book Review)
  • Personal transition speech (Common Assessment)
  • Supreme Court Case presentation


Homework: 10% On-demand writings: 10%

Papers/Projects: 40% Vocabulary tasks: 10%

Class presentations: 20% Class participation: 10%

Some of the Common Core Standards Assessed in this class:


RL.11-12.1. Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.

RL.11-12.3. Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed).


W.11-12.5. Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.

W.11-12.6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information.

W.11-12.8. Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the task, purpose, and audience; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance on any one source and following a standard format for citation.

Student’s name: _______________________________

I have read and understand the Senior English course overview. I know that I can reach Mr. Eaton via email or telephone if I have any questions regarding my student’s progress in this class.


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