My Syllabus

  • SYLLABUS: English 9/ ELA I 2017 - 2018  

    Mr. Spitler (   210-2300 x6608)

     1.         Introduction:            During this academic year, students will conduct frequent in-depth examinations of literature, and will practice extensive self and peer evaluations in order to improve already developed skills.  Included in this process, students will be afforded several opportunities to improve writing skills via practice, self and peer editing. 

    2.         Expectations:         Students will be required to take notes, participate in classroom discussions, write essays and peer evaluations, and read extensively.  In any literature class, mature and sensitive issues arise on a regular basis.  It is with this in mind that I expect all students treat their peers with respect, regardless of popularity of professed opinions.  Additionally, please be respectful when I’m talking so those around you can hear.  Finally, be on time to class.  If you’re late, you disturb your classmates, and your class participation grade will drop for the day and, consequently, for the semester.  

    3.       Materials Required:

                       a)       Three-Ring binder (minimum 2”, no larger than 3” as they 

    occupy a great deal of space in your locker).

                       b)       Loose-leaf paper.

                       c)       Black/Blue ink pens, pencils.

                       d)       Highlighter(s).

                       e)       Flash/Thumb/Jump drive (2G is sufficient). 

    4.         Assessment:           Students will be required to take frequent quizzes, write essays, complete major unit exams and projects, and be prepared daily for class.  Student's grades will be adversely affected should students regularly be unprepared for class, or not participate in class discussions.  Alternatively, students demonstrating exceptional effort in class discussions, or who exhibit attention to detail in assignment preparation will be rewarded for their academic commitment.  Class participation, therefore, is a component of the student’s final grade. 

    5.         Grading Policy:        During each quarter of the academic year, students will be graded on a total point system.  Approximately 500 - 600 points will be available per quarter.  The final grade for the year will give equal weight to each quarter grade, and the year-end final exam (20% each).    

    6.         Attendance Policy/Procedure:   Students are expected to attend class every day.  This should not be a surprise.  Should a student miss a class due to a legal absence, no points for class participation will be lost.  Should a student have an unexcused absence, the two-points awarded for attendance/participation will not be awarded and will no opportunity to regain these points will be afforded.     Additionally, all students are expected to be engaged in the material being discussed during class to receive credit for participation that day. 

    Recommendation: Each student should have at least one “Study Buddy” selected at the beginning of the year.  In case of absence, the buddy can provide class notes, a copy of materials distributed, etc.  As such, buddies must be certain to collect another copy of materials if a buddy is absent.  Two buddies may be a better idea.  

    7.         Missed assignments/Make-Up procedures:        If you are absent when homework is due, it will be due the next day you are in school.  If you are absent when an assignment is given, that will be assigned to you the next day you are in school, and due the day after that.  If you miss a quiz, you must make it up the next day you are in school.  If a test is given on Thursday and you miss school on Wednesday, you still must take the test on Thursday.  I do accept late assignments, but I will only give you 50% credit.  Also, you only have 3 school days to bring me the late work, otherwise it will be a 0. 

    8.         Extra Credit:             Extra credit is not offered, so don’t ask.  To me, extra credit implies that you completed everything, yet now are doing something extra.  Completing extra credit assignments at the end of the year to make up for the times you did not complete your homework in an effort to rehabilitate your grade is not the same animal.  

    9.         Teaching Methodology:      I encourage the use of partners and active learning in class. I believe that learning from each other is more beneficial than learning from me, as no one in the world outside of school is successful without having the ability to work with others.  I will use different teaching methods, including group work, lecture, projects, and class presentations.


    10.      Curriculum: 

    a)    Summer reading - Choice of either:



    b)    Summer reading – Mandatory

                            Travels with Charley

    c)    Greek Mythology

    d)    Homeric Epics (The Odyssey and The Iliad)

    e)    Anthem by Ayn Rand

    f)    Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

    g)    Passages from: “St Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves,” “Black Swan Green,” “Letters to a Young Poet”

    h)    Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex

    i)     Poetry – “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “I Felt a Funeral in My Brain”

    j)     Passages from: “True Crime: The Roots of an American Obsession,” “How Bernard Madoff Did It,” and “The Wizard of Lies; Epilogue”


    11.      Academic Dishonesty:        Academic dishonesty includes such things as cheating, inventing false information or citations, plagiarism, and helping someone else commit an act of academic dishonesty.  Cheating is the act of obtaining or attempting to obtain credit for work by the use of any dishonest, fraudulent, or unauthorized means. Plagiarism is the act of taking the specific substance of another and offering it as one’s own without giving credit to the source. We will be using a website ( that will spot plagiarism.  Accidental plagiarism will be noted, but can be corrected.  Intentionally plagiarized documents will receive a “0.”   

    12.      Office Hours:                   Monday & Tuesday (alternate day Wednesday)