what you see when out to sea

Monday, September 5, 2011

MDIHS Course Overview: Senior English

Grade 12 English: Literature and Self

Keith Eaton

288-5011 ext. 109

Blocks A&C

Fall/Winter 2011-12

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 Senior 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 Senior English will be centered around one Guiding Question: How does literature reflect culture and self? Embedded in this question is the issue of social responsibility. 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 essential for a successful English class. It is expected that all students prepare for the days’ lessons with the same dedication as would be expected of the classroom teacher.

This will be a writing intensive course, preparing seniors for life beyond high school. 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. As seniors do not have a specific portfolio task required of them, it is essential that they are working with their advisors (and me) to ensure that they have met the standards in all portfolio tasks. In the event that a task (or tasks) have not met the standards, I will work with the student to develop a related assessment.


Attendance is mandatory. Attendance will be taken during the first 10 minutes of class. Students arriving late during Block A will be sent back to the office. 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!

• There will be one shorter college essay/personal narrative piece at the beginning of the year.

• There will be three longer essays this semester.

    1. Literary analysis of Rebecca Harding Davis’s Life in the Iron Mills, focusing on the issue of social responsibility, economics and ethics.
    2. Analysis of a selected Raymond Carver short story in light of a current social, health or moral issue. This will require research of secondary sources accessed through MARVEL!, Gale’s Opposing Viewpoints and our library’s other on-line databases. Students will also report out and present to their peers on this topic during class.
    3. Persuasive writing based on Lord of the Flies and What Happened to Lani Garver? Students will examine themes related to peer pressure and bullying while attempting to persuade audiences of the validity of their positions.
• One short book review, based on independent reading due before the holidays in December.
• 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 Mondays. On Thursdays, tasks will be due, and there will be a short vocabulary quiz.


Homework: 10% On-demand writings: 20%

Papers/Projects: 40% Vocabulary tasks: 10%

Class presentations: 10% Class participation: 10%

Texts & Tasks

  • Personal/College Essay
  • “The Yellow Wallpaper” Gillman, Charlotte Perkins
  • Life in the Iron Mills Davis, Rebecca Harding (Social Responsibility Essay)
  • “Letter from Birmingham Jail” King, Jr., Martin Luther (On-demand writing)
  • “The Lottery” Jackson, Shirley (On-demand writing)
  • Night Wiesel, Elie (On-demand writing)
  • What We Talk About When We Talk About Love Carver, Raymond (Social/Health issues essay/presentation)
  • Lord of the Flies Golding, William (Persuasive essay)
  • What Happened to Lani Garver? Plum-Ucci, Carol (Persuasive essay)
  • Hamlet Shakespeare, Bill (On-demand writing)
  • Free choice reading from selected texts (Book review)

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).


RI.11-12.6. Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is particularly effective, analyzing how style and content contribute to the power, persuasiveness or beauty of the text.


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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