Course Outline

“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.”  
– Mark Twain
 
What is the purpose of this class?

The purpose of this class is to help you become a better reader, writer, communicator, and, most importantly, thinker. All of these skills will help you in each of your classes this year and beyond.
 
What do I need for this class?

• A 3-subject spiral notebook
• A folder that will remain in the classroom
• A folder or binder that will stay with you (binders are much neater!)
• Pens and/or pencils
• An open mind and a sense of humor
This class has a textbook, but it remains in the classroom. You will be given novels and handouts throughout the year that you are responsible to bring with you to class. If you do not return them, you will be charged for the cost of the book.
 
What are our classroom procedures?

Respect the speaker…………………………………………Only one person speaks at a time.
Expect each other’s best…………………You should expect my best. I always expect yours.
Always be prepared……………Come to class with all materials, supplies, and assignments.
Directions should always be followed………………Directions make our class run smoothly.
In class – on time…………We don’t have all day; let’s make the most of our time together.
No bell runners…………Class doesn’t end when the bell rings. Please wait to be dismissed.
Give!......................The more you contribute, the better class will be! I want to hear from you.

What will we be doing in this class?

Reading (and lots of it)
Our plan is to read the following novels:
• Call of the Wild by Jack London
• The Giver by Lois Lowry
• The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
• Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
• I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier
• Hamlet by William Shakespeare
• The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
We will also be reading lots of short stories, nonfiction, Greek mythology, and poetry (by such authors as Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, Robert Frost, and others). Plus, you will be reading books on your own that you will be responsible for reviewing for your classmates.
 
Writing (lots of that too)
Be prepared to write a lot this year. The more we write, the better writers we become. We will be working on writing persuasive essays, news articles, original stories, poetry, letters, and more. Plus, you will be learning how to write a formal research paper.
 
Having FUN!
Yes, we end up doing this frequently in this class (and outside of it). Come with an open mind, and you will really enjoy this experience. Come with a willingness to work and participate, and you will definitely become a better writer, reader, communicator, and thinker.
 
What do I do if I need help?

If you need help, ask. I am always willing to assist you in whatever way I can. I can meet before school, during lunch, or after school. I want you to be successful – but, more importantly, I want YOU to want to be successful. We are a team in a learning community, and we will work together so that you have the best experience possible. Work hard, help your classmates, and let’s have a great school year.
 
Homework/Projects

Homework is very important and is a major (and easy) part of your grade. If I ask you to do something at home, please do it. Otherwise, you will lose points, and nobody wants that. Your grade will drop one letter grade for every day that an assignment is late.
 
Grades

Grades are derived from your in-class work (journal entries), homework, test and quiz scores, projects, and graded essays. You will know the point value of each assignment when it is given. (50 points is the highest score for a project/exam.) This year you will have a final exam that is worth 1/9 of your final grade.
 
FINAL NOTE

We work frequently in groups in a cooperative learning format. This is a great opportunity to get to know the many different people in our class. However, I WILL NOT tolerate under any circumstances bullying, put downs, or taunting of any fashion. Our class is a safe, comfortable working environment, and I will not adjust this policy for anyone.
 
Let’s have a great year! – Mr. Langin