Course Description (revised as of 11 Aug 14)

Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School 2014-2015

10th Grade English, Honors (World Literature)

Instructor:  Mr. Bill Brown

Course blog:

Required Texts:                             

Vocabulary from membean, online resource

Short stories and Poetry, online and photocopies

A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, online resource

Oedipus Rex/Antigone by Sophocles (trans. Robert Bragg)

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

The Tempest by William Shakespeare

Samurai’s Garden by Gail Tsukiyama

Course Description: 

In World Literature Honors we explore literature from many parts of the world with an emphasis on literature other than American, which you will study next year. We read, analyze, and write about various literary genres, including fiction (novels and short stories), drama (plays), and poetry.  We also compose original poems. In addition, since strong, flexible vocabulary is essential for the arts of writing and speaking, we build our working vocabularies by learning new words each week. Writing lies at the heart of this course. Therefore, we concentrate on the process of drafting and revising, in order to develop the skills necessary for effective writing. This course encourages you not only to learn about the literature from various historical periods and cultures, but also, as a result, to gain a new perspective toward and appreciation of people in other cultures and times. Literature opens a window on our human nature.  Through our collective literary studies, you develop greater insight into the people of the world and a better understanding of yourself in particular.  Our studies are guided by three ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS: Who am I?  What are my primary responsibilities to myself and to the communities in which I live?  What does growing wisdom look like?

English department mission: to teach students to read, write, listen, speak, and think with clarity and purpose.

Daily Materials:

1. Laptop–use it, when needed, for work pertaining to this class.  See school’s acceptable use policy, as well as the Handbook section called “Educational Environment.” Inappropriate use in class, risks your losing its use altogether—along with a detention. Loss of laptop is NOT an acceptable excuse for late work.

2. Paper, and a place to neatly store the paper, notes and handouts.

3. BLUE or BLACK pen

4. current text(s)

Turn off and put away your cell phone or other electronic devices before you enter the classroom. If you have your device in class and it rings or you are seen text messaging during class without my permission, I will take it and turn it in to the dean.

For other questions, consult Upper School Handbook section, “Electronic Devices, Toys, etc.”

Class Expectations:

 ATTENDANCE:  You are expected to be in class on time with all required materials.  Be present in class–both physically and mentally. You are a vital part of this class, and the quality of your participation and contributions matter to the group.   There are elements to teacher instruction, demonstrations, cooperative learning, hands-on activities, and group discussions that cannot be anticipated in advance or recreated upon the return to school. Therefore, your presence matters. For details about the school’s late policy, see the Upper School Handbook (21).  “Tardy to class” means after the bell has rung.


ABSENCES:  If you have an excused absence from class, typically you have the same number of missed class periods to make up missing work.  For example, if you are sick for three days, you have three days to make up any tests, hand in any homework, etc.  It is your responsibility to arrange make-up work, tests, etc.  Rarely will I remind you to make up your work.  If you come to school late or leave early, be sure to hand in any work you had due for that day before you leave.  Unexcused absences follow the policies set forth in the Student Handbook. Pay close attention to the absence policy outlined in the handbook.


LATE WORK:  I do not always accept late assignments, and certainly no late assignment can qualify as proficient (a “B” or above).  Homework, as well as major papers and projects, are due at the beginning of class, unless otherwise stated.  If you do not have the assignment ready on time,  you may lose credit for that work.  If you have an excused absence, please refer to the policy above.


Keep Up with Your Work.  Save all your work.  You will need it to review for the exam and may need a test or paper at any time.  These are valuable study tools!  Also, remember to back up your work.  Technological challenges are not a valid excuse for failing to complete an assignment.  backing up work has become a regular responsibility of the digital citizen.


Homework:  Stay current with your reading and other assignments from the very beginning.  Be serious and intentional about your responsibilities as a student in this class.  It will be difficult to learn and do well in this course, if you are always playing catch up.


  • Typically, assignments receive scores on a 4.0 scale, given the rubrics’ four-column design. (For example, see the often-used “content-writing rubric” below.) The default equivalents entered in the electronic grade book are as follows:  4.0 = 95% (A), 3.7 = 91% (A-), 3.3 = 88% (B+), 3.0 = 85% (B), 2.7 = 81% (B-), etc. In some cases, since the school handbook lists the A range as 93-100, an exceptionally masterful performance may warrant a number higher than 95%.
  • Assignments typically fall into one of three categories.  “Class Preparation” includes the shortest exercises like emails, quizzes and short responses.  “Minor Grade” includes medium-length exercises like paragraphs, developed short-answer sequences, poem or story analyses, early drafts, class-period presentations and regular reflections.  “Major Grade” includes work like full essays and developed presentations.  For the overall course grade, these categories are respectively weighted ten, thirty and sixty percent.


Tutorials:  I am available during regular office hours.  If these times do not work for you, however,  I am happy to arrange an alternate time.  Please just email me or see me in class to make an appointment.



1. In cases where you are clearly expected to produce your own work, be sure to acknowledge ANY contributions by people or sources other than yourself.  All reputable scholars do this.  Acknowledge these contributions in writing by naming the persons/sources and the specific nature of their influence.

2. Properly cite all outside sources (ideas AND words) in papers using MLA style. Reading supplements (e.g. Spark Notes) and unsubstantiated websites (e.g. Wikipedia) are NOT valid resources.

*Plagiarism: Literally “kidnapper” in Latin, plagiarism occurs when writers or speakers use words or ideas that are not their own, and fail to give proper credit to the source, according to the current edition of the MLA Handbook.

For more background philosophy on the issue of integrity, see the Student Handbook section about the “Integrity Code” (8).

Honors Recommendations: Promotion for students to Honors, or AP, for the 11th grade year follows the guidelines outlined in the student handbook. A key part of the promotion process is the teacher recommendation. If you believe you may be interested in pursuing an advanced course for next year, SHOW your intentions at the beginning of the school year through your attitude, participation, and hard work–by remaining consistently diligent throughout the school year.  An “A” (minimum 90% required for consideration) in College Prep does NOT guarantee advancing next year.



NOTE: This course description is subject to change at my discretion, but I will announce any such revisions.


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