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Devon Collins

WJHS English/Drama Teacher

Drama Coach


English IV British Literature


Ms. Collins


Required materials for this course:

Please have paper and pencils readily available every day in class. While I will not deduct points for writing in pen this is an English class and much of our work will be based on note taking and revision so pencils with good erasers will minimalize the mess and make everything easier for teacher and student. If you do choose to write in pen please stick with blue or black. If I get assignments written in abnormal colored pen I will not grade them until they are rewritten in a different colored ink. This is simply because colored ink makes it difficult for me to see the revisions or notes that I have made on your assignments and can lead to errors in my grading.

** If you need to borrow a writing utensil from me then please ask. In order to ensure that I get them back at the end of the class I will ask for a piece of personal collateral- prepared to give me anything that’s in view- It will be something you simply won’t be able to forget.

Students are required to keep a binder/folder for this class to be taken as a grade at the end of each 9 weeks. As a class we will do a lot of daily writing prompts and discussion notes. These things will be required in each binder check along with many daily assignments, handouts, class notes and anything else we may do during the course of study. I will clearly state which assignments need to be kept and will keep and updated list.

Standards Based Grading Grades are weighted as follows:

Summative Assessments-including formal papers and binder checks- 70%

Daily Work/Participation In-Class Projects or Formative Assessments 20%

Final Project/Presentation: 10%

I will know students have mastered content by how they perform on formative and summative assessments. As a class, we review formative/summative assessment performance and I will gladly re-teach standards throughout duration of year. Students have countless opportunities to show mastery throughout the year and also each given unit. NO SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENTS MAY BE TAKEN UNTIL ALL FORMATIVE ASSESSMENTS HAVE BEEN COMPLETED. Students can re-take summative assessments, within a two week period, after they have completed all formative work for the unit. The retake will need to be scheduled with me in advance to occur before or after school hours. The retake will be essay or aural format.  No individual extra credit will be given under any circumstances.

Grading Scale:

This scale is standard to the entire school.

A 92-100 B 83-91 C 74-82 D 65-73 F 0-64

Remember: I don’t give grades. You earn them! You will certainly get out of this class whatever you put into it!

Late Work: There will be a 20% deduction of the given grade once it is considered late. After one week it will be a 50% grade deduction. I will not accept any work two weeks after the due date has passed. Projects and papers are due on their assigned days unless the absence is cleared in advance.

Daily work will be tracked every day in the “Make-Up Work” binder. Students will be responsible for getting these assignments to me to be copied and getting any notes they need from a friend. For each absence the student has they will be given two days to turn in the assignment and receive full credit. After that time has expired the original rule will be set into place.

**If an absence is presented to me in advance or there is a special circumstance then accommodations may be made. Please do not be afraid to talk to me. I’m here to help.

Cellphones: Keep the cellphones out of sight during instructional time. During free work times or if we have finished early I will give a clear verbal statement that they may be used. We may also use them to research and further our discussions. Unless told otherwise, they are not to be used. First offense will be a verbal warning, but after that warning I will confiscate the personal technology and send it to the office with a referral. Repeated offenses of cellphone misconduct will result in contacting of parents to discuss alternative ways to reduce the problem.

When leaving the room: Please, remember to always ask permission before leaving the room or you will receive an immediate referral. Only one person will be allowed to have the bathroom pass at a time. After you have asked for the bathroom pass please remember to sign out. If you need to see a nurse, another teacher or someone in the office specific permission may be asked and a pass may be written. If you abuse your pass privileges, I retain the right to revoke them temporarily or permanently.

Participation: The success of this class will depend greatly on your participation. I expect all students to be actively participating during all class discussions. Many of our lessons will be strictly discussion based. Students will show respect for the comments made by their peers. Students are expected to be prepared to speak every day in class. Each semester I will count 10 days as participation grades at 10 points each for a total of 100 points. I will not let you know when participation is being graded, so it’s best to be on your toes. Participation may be shown in a variety of ways. For those who may be shy in class by the door will be an “exit slip” bowl. If you have something to add to the day’s conversation or a question about what we discussed place them in this bowl with your name and class period on your way on the door and this will count for a participation grade also. Once again, it’s better to be safe than sorry so anytime you have something to add I would suggest putting it in the bowl.

The number one rule in this classroom is respect. If you give respect, you will receive it. If you do not feel like you are receiving it from me or a fellow student please do not hesitate to talk to me and we will do everything in our power to fix it. This classroom is our community and it will be a safe and fun one. I’m very much looking forward to sharing this year with you all! Blatant disrespect for me or any classmate will not be tolerated and will be met directly with a referral. If disrespect becomes a problem further disciplinary action will be taken and can include, but are not limited to, parent/guardian intervention.

The world will always need heroes to combat human and natural imperfections. We can use literature to learn many things about history. Throughout this entire course of study students will be asked to look at characters and their stories for heroic qualities. We will analyze the society that shaped these heroes and attempt to historically understand what types of qualities each craved in a hero and why they may have glorified these qualities. We may also look at how the creation of these heroes by some of the great authors of the time may have shaped the society.

**Included in the binder check every quarter, students will be required to include one (1) outside film/television report. The report can be done based off of any film, show, documentary etc that you watch. The report will need to be 300-500 words. The report will answer the prompt: Who is the hero of this story? Why do you consider them “the hero”? What might his/her heroic qualities tell you about the author’s ideas of society? What literary devices does the author use to accentuate this point? If you complete all of these tasks you will receive full credit. It will not be graded based off of your ideas.


-1st Quarter-

Unit 1: Old and Middle English Literature

            Unit 1 will cover the beginnings of English literature. Students will complete various projects and daily assignments while reading key texts. Main texts to be studied during this unit will be Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. We will discuss main differences between epic poems, short stories and novels and learn to properly identify a theme.

            Assessment: At the end of this unit students will take a formal exam covering the three key texts as well as the information covered regarding literary forms.

Unit 2: mini unit covering proper MLA format and proper educational research protocol.

            Assessment: MLA format exam.

Writing Task: At the end of the quarter students will be asked to submit an analytical research paper. Topics will be chosen from a predetermined list. Students must use at least 4 outside sources for the paper and they must be cited properly in MLA format

-2nd Quarter-

Unit 3: Fate vs Free Will in Being the Hero

            Students will examine the idea of fate vs free will with an extensive analysis of Macbeth by William Shakespeare and (maybe) Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller. Both of these plays have been widely studied and performed. We will also extensively study the Globe theatre and take a deep look into Elizabethan drama.

Assessment: Students will take a formal exam on this unit.

Unit 4: Mini Unit on Speeches and Rhetoric

Assessment: Students will be asked to address the controlling argument of a resource and argue how rhetoric is used effectively (or ineffectively) in said example.

Writing Task: Research based persuasive paper- pick the major theme and prove using literary elements, rhetoric, research of scholars, tone/diction, proof from society or authors life.

-3rd Quarter-

Unit 5: Poetry Unit

Assessment: Written Exam: Students will be asked to explicate many lines poems we read in class as well as full poems they may have never seen before keeping in mind the moving ideal of the course- heroism. Students will be asked to identify multiple vocabulary words related to poetic and literary devices. Students will be asked to identify a few key poets, their works, and what literary period they belong to.

Unit 6: How does setting and circumstance affect the modern hero?

            This unit will begin with a brief look at the modern hero. Students will then read Lord of the Flies and examine how setting and circumstance change what modern people might look for in a hero. Students will also read exerts of The Road and watch the cinema version to compare the two settings and circumstances and the heroic qualities demanded in both for survival.

Assessment: Students will be assessed formally using a combination of reflective writing and traditional methods. Students will be assessed on how aspects such as setting, tone and society affect the modern hero especially in relation to heroes from past literary texts and societies.

-4th quarter-

Unit 7: Preparing For the Professional World

            Students will do a variety of things in this unit including; research on desired fields of study, research extended educational paths, find influential people in their interested fields, learn to create a resume and cover letter catered to their career goals and also take place in a mock interview centered around their career interests. This information will be compiled and presented utilizing technology at the end of the study.

Unit 8: Mini Unit- Popular Culture/Current Events

Unit 9: Autobiography Book Project

            Students will spend time in class both reading and creating an autobiography. I will ask students to choose an autobiography to read. They will read this autobiography and create a presentation around it. The presentation will be done as if you, the student, are the person whose autobiography you read. You will dress like them, speak like them and give a presentation educating us about your life and its importance including the lessons your autobiography is meant to teach its readers who may consider this person a “hero”. This information will be compiled in report form for a grade. During this time students will also be given time in class to create a “memory book” an autobiography of sorts which will be included in the final presentation. Your speech will be graded strongly on your ability to employ effective rhetorical devices to sway your audience. This presentation, along with an in class narrative reflection writing piece, will be your final in this course.