English I

English I Syllabus First Semester

Mrs. Gage


Welcome to English I.  The goal of this class is to experience challenging literature that will prepare you for your high school English classes.  We will use our reading to prompt discussion and writing.  We want to work on all aspects of communication in this class, so that also includes speaking and listening.  We will even try some acting! Participation, both vocal and silent, is essential to success. Many of the things we do first semester are listed below.


Introduction of literary terms—I will provide a two-sided list of terms and definitions. We will spend a day discussing these terms and trying to come up with examples of each to demonstrate understanding.  We will delve further into their study by reading the stories “The Necklace,” “War” and “The Sniper,” using the stories as a springboard for discussion.


Facing challenges—each story in this unit has a character who faces a mental, physical, or emotional challenge.  Friendship seems to be a common theme in these stories, as friends help each other face difficult situations.

Stories this unit include:

  • Of Mice and Men
  • “Tularecito”
  • The Boys Next Door
  • What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
  • “Philbert”

Grading for this unit will be based on study guides, class discussion, quizzes, tests, group projects, essays and participation.

Lord of the Flies—We will read the novel, complete a study guide to help us understand the significant symbolism in this allegory, and take quizzes to check our understanding.  We will also write essays about  the novel and complete an artistic project. We will read the short story “The Most Dangerous Game” and compare it to the novel.

The Memoir—We will read Truman Capote’s  “A Christmas Memory” and discuss his work.  We will also write our own short memoir and present a version of it to the class (without just reading it.)

In addition to these first semester units, we will be studying literary terms throughout the semester, which will be discussed with every piece of literature we study and will find their way onto tests and quizzes, including the semester and end-of-year final exams.


Independent Reading (Due Oct. 8 and Dec. 16)

We will also require ONE outside reading book of your choice PER QUARTER—fiction or nonfiction—that is NEW TO YOU and appropriate for high school level.  You will be required to write a review of that book on your Shelfari account. (We will learn about/ review Shelfari.com next week.) We will spend most of our Fridays in class reading independently.  For the outside reading portion of your grade, you will be required to

1) Review one book to begin with that you have read in your past. It can by anything! (10 points)

2) Read a book new to you and review it on your Shelfari account. (10 points)

3) Add at least two books to your “plan to read list.” (10 points)

Late work must be turned in within two weeks of the assigned deadline to receive credit.  Late work will be docked 10 percent (one grade) per day late, to a maximum of 50 percent off.  Shelfari reviews, study guides and small worksheets that we check in class might not be accepted for late credit, but it is always worth checking to see!


Please have a parent or guardian sign this syllabus to show that he or she understands the curriculum and that you have a book review due on Oct. 8 that cannot be turned in late. (It would be good to put this on the calendar!)



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