• The mission of the Strath Haven English Department is to empower students with the skills and strategies to communicate effectively, analyze diverse and challenging texts, understand individual and societal complexities, and develop personal values and perspectives in order to foster academic, professional, and personal success.


    Course:  English 10 – American Studies

    Teacher:  Mr. Robert Zakrzewski

    Semester:  Spring 2013


    Course Description:  American Studies provides the structure for all tenth grade students to learn and experience the unique values of America’s societal, technological, and cultural evolution. The course emphasizes reading and writing, as well as varied learning performance opportunities such assimulations, projects, and group work. The development of the course is thematic and chronological.  Prominent themes are Shaping the American Dream, Facing the American Challenges in a Changing World, and Restructuring for a Better Community. The course introduces students to selected works of 19th and 20th Century American literature. Students read selections from authors such as Hawthorne, Poe, Steinbeck, Fitzgerald, Hurston, Hughes, and many others. Students respond orally and in writing to literature and related sources. Teachers provide instruction in grammar, usage, and mechanics in the context of students’ writing.


    Learning Objectives: While fostering an appreciation for literature and different perspectives, the course will help you to develop skills needed for academic and professional success.


    Standards Emphasized:

            Use knowledge of root words and words from literary works to recognize and understand the meaning of new words during reading.  Use these words accurately in speaking and writing. 

            Identify, describe, evaluate and synthesize the essential ideas in text. Assess those reading strategies that were most effective in learning from a variety of texts.

            Demonstrate understanding and interpretation of both fiction and nonfiction text, including public documents.  

            Analyze the relationships, uses, and effectiveness of literary elements used by one or more authors in similar genres including characterization, setting, plot, theme, point of view, tone, and style.

            Analyze the effectiveness of the author’s use of literary devices.

            Analyze how a writer’s use of words creates tone and mood and how choice of words advance the theme or purpose of the work.

            Read and respond to nonfiction and fiction, including poetry and drama.

            Write complex informational pieces (e.g., research papers, analyses, evaluations, essays).

            Write persuasive pieces.

            Write with a sharp, distinct focus.

            Write with controlled and/or subtle organization.

            Write with a command of the stylistic aspects of composition.

            Revise writing to improve style, word choice, sentence variety, and subtlety of meaning after rethinking how questions of purpose, audience, and genre have been addressed.

            Edit writing using the conventions of language.

            Speak using skills appropriate to formal speech situations.

            Participate in small and large group discussions and presentations.

            Locate information using appropriate sources and strategies.

            Organize, summarize, and present the main ideas from research.


    Assessment: There will be at least one formal writing assignment and test for each unit of study, as well as periodic timed essays, quizzes, and presentations.  Grades on papers, projects, and presentations will be based on rubrics that reflect the learning targets being assessed.  Participation grades will be based on teacher and self-evaluation.


    Each marking period is worth 45% of your semester grade and the final exam is worth 10%.  Students who are not demonstrating basic mastery of the content standards must attend teacher office hours during 5th block or after school to receive additional academic support.


    Submission of Assignments: To receive full credit, work must be ready at the beginning of class on the due date.  For each day that an assignment is late, there will be a 10% deduction.  Unless otherwise noted, all written assignments should follow MLA formatting guidelines.


    Revision of Assignments: You may opt to revise an assignment for a higher grade, and it is recommended to meet with the teacher first to review how it can be improved. Your final grade for the assignment will be the average of the scores you receive on the original and revised versions.  All revisions must be completed within one week from when the assignment was returned.


    Materials:  You are required to bring the following materialsto class each day:

            Agenda or planner

            Binder with paper

            Notebook for this course only

            Current core text(s)


    Absences:  You need to be in class and on time every day.  It is your responsibility to make up any work missed due to an excused absence.  In order to avoid falling behind and be able to participate in class when you return from an absence, you should contact a classmate to find out what work you missed and, if possible, come prepared to class.  You will have one day for each day absent to receive full credit for missed work, and you will receive a zero for any work missed due to an unexcused absence.


    Expectations for Academic Honesty & Behavior:  Cheating and plagiarism, the act of misrepresenting someone’s ideas as your own, are strictly prohibited.  This includes copying answers, ideas, or text from your classmates, the Internet, books, or any published material. Academic dishonesty is a serious offense and will result in a zero on the assignment and disciplinary action.


    Everyone in this class is entitled to learn in a place where he or she feels safe and respected.  It is your responsibility to help establish and maintain a productive and congenial learning environment.  For this reason, the number one rule of this classroom to show respect in the following ways:


            Respect yourself:  Learn as much as you can, share your thoughts, and take an active role in your education.

            Respect others: Respect the right of others to learn.  Respect their personal property, opinions, and dignity.  Do not interrupt or talk while others are speaking or bother them when they need to concentrate.  Please note that “put-downs” or derogatory comments based on gender, race, religion, culture or sexual orientation are prohibited in this classroom.

            Respect your surroundings: Help to maintain the physical appearance and cleanliness of the classroom we share.


    Contact Information: Email is the most effective way to reach me promptly.  Please note that the syntax, diction, and tone of your email should be professional, and it should have a clear topic in the subject line. 

    I am also available to meet in my office located in Room 208 during 5th block or before/after school.


    Myemail address is: rzakrzewski@wssd.org