English 11
Syllabus 2009-10

Willa Cather

Semester 1 | Semester 2

This syllabus is subject to change.

General Course Information:

Grade level (s) offered: 11
credit (two semester course)

Prerequisites: Students must have taken English 9 and English 10. This course is required for all 11th grade students not enrolled in Accelerated English 11.

Brief Course Description:

This course is a survey of American Literature that stresses literary and cultural themes. This course includes a variety of literary genres. A thematic approach is used. There is a strong emphasis on writing, speaking, and discussion.

Curriculum Strands:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Language
  • Media
  • Technology
  • Career

Thematic Lenses

Course Outcomes:

  • Students will have a good overview of the prevalent themes in American Literature.

  • Students will improve their skills as critical thinkers.

  • Students will continue to develop their skills in writing, discussion, language, and technology skills.

Methods of Instruction:

Discussion is the primary way in which students come to understand a particular issue or work of fiction, drama, or poetry. Discussion is both large group and small group. Discussions are sometimes student led. Cooperative learning groups are also used in this class. There are projects and assignments done individually as well. Students can expect to read and complete other work outside of class.

Resources/Major Texts:

  • Elements of Literature: Fifth Course. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc. (Note: Unfortunately, we do not own enough books for you to be issued your own. Links in this syllabus to literature online are provided to help with this problem).

  • The Crucible, Arthur Miller

  • Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck

  • A Raisin in the Sun, Hansberry or Our Town, Thornton Wilder

  • Independent novel/play with lit circle group (semester

Various Web Resources

Assessments/Major Assignments:

  • Unit Tests (100 points each)

  • Essays, 2 major essays per semester (100 points each)

  • Response journal, turned in every four weeks (100 points each time)

  • Seminar Presentation, one presentation per semester; participation ongoing (100 points)
  • Independent group project (one per semester)
  • Semester exam


  • Standard English Department Grading Scale

  • Grades are calculated using total points.

  • Semester exam is worth 10% of the semester grade

Course Outline:

Page numbers refer to Elements of Literature text.

Semester 1

Overview of English 11/Semester 1

2009 Unit One: Freedom and Oppression (6 weeks)

Slavery in America:

    • The Middle Passage: A Narrative, Olaudah Equiano
    • Slave Narratives: web site University of Virginia
    • The Battle with Mr. Covey, Frederick Douglass



Unit One: Puritan/Colonial & Revolutionary Literature (7 weeks)

Unit Two: Romanticism & Transcendentalism (3 weeks)

Unit Three: Realism (5 weeks)

Semester Project (1 week)

  • Work on project and prepare presentation

Semester 2

Overview of English 11/Semester 2

Unit Four: American Women: 1850-1950 (3 weeks)

  • A Century of Women
  • The Yellow Wallpaper, Gilman
  • The Revolt of Mother, Freeman
  • O' Pioneers (movie)
  • Independent story
  • Unit Test

Unit Five: Modernism (7 weeks)

Unit Six: 1945-The Present (4 weeks)

  • Introduction

  • Creative Nonfiction
  • American Language
    • Introduction, p. 1078
    • "Little Red Riding Hood Revisited," Russell Baker
    • "School vs. Education," Russell Baker, p.1001
  • Two views on war:
    • "Speaking of Courage," Tim O'Brien, p. 934
    • from "Dispatches," Michael Herr, p. 105
  • Apocalyptic literature
  • Diverse voices
    • "What it Means to Say Phoenix, AZ" and Smoke Signals by Sherman Alexie
      • 350-400 reflection, typed
  • Unit Test

Semester Project (2 weeks)

  • Work on project and prepare presentation for exam

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