Introduction – Why do I need to know this? When am I ever going to use this?

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ENGLISH IV Curriculum Paper Dr. J. Thomas Son

Atlantic Coast High School Room 633

Introduction – Why do I need to know this? When am I ever going to use this?

You don’t. ... Maybe never. ...But that’s not the point.

English IV, or Senior English, combines the traditional senior year emphasis on British literature and World literature with an equal emphasis on reading and writing skills.  Through the course of the year students will become familiar with a diverse canon of English writing, both classic and modern, in a study of short stories, essays, novels, poetry, and plays. While a wide exposure to and knowledge of literature may enrich your humanity, however, the literature itself is not really the point of this course. What this course is really about is the development of your analytical and interpretive thinking skills and your ability to express yourself formally in writing. The literature we consider this year will be the means to that end. Through the analytical and interpretive consideration of a variety of texts this year, students will practice the analytical reading skills and academic writing skills they will need at the college level and in professional life. In other words, the point of the course is to grow your capacity as a thinker and a communicator. (And yes, I do think knowing these texts will make you a better person.)
This course is aligned with the New Florida Standards (aka Common Core Standards) and is organized into four major units for each of the four grading periods of the school year.


First Quarter: Narrative Text and Narrative Writing

Second Quarter: Poetry (Analysis and Interpretation) and Analyzing Dramatic Interpretation

Third Quarter: Nonfiction Text and Research Writing

Fourth Quarter: Short Fiction Analysis and EOC Review
Primary Text

Holt Elements of Literature: Essentials of British and World Literature (classroom set)


Possible Supplemental Texts

The Bean Trees, by Barbara Kingsolver

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Love in the Time of Cholera
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 Required Materials/Supplies

  • Blue or black pens for writing assignments and notes

  • Sturdy, three-subject, spiral bound notebook for in-class notes and other assignments

  • Single-subject notebook or composition book for daily journal writing assignments


In-Class Assignments 

Through the course of each Nine Weeks Grading Period, students will work on a variety of in-class assignments related to the objectives of the course.  These assignments will be graded on both quality and completion.  Students who give good evidence of serious engagement in completed work will receive the full points possible for the assignment.  Incomplete work and/or work that does not demonstrate serious attention to the assignment will receive only partial credit.


 Student Reflection Journal 

The purpose of the Reflection Journal is to provide you with regular exercise in thinking and writing (or writing about your thinking).  The Reflection Journals will be collected each quarter for grading.


Your journal will be evaluated on the evidence that you have taken these exercises seriously, engaging thoughtfully with each prompt, and using your writing to express your thoughts. This means, that your journal entries will be judged in part on their length. In other words, half a page of writing does not indicate that you have taken the exercise seriously. With each journal prompt, students should attempt to write a full page. The Reflection Journal prompts are designed to get you thinking about your own experiences. You are the expert on your own life, so you should have plenty to say.

MAJOR ESSAY ASSIGNMENTS In addition to regular in-class writing assignments, each semester of this course will include one major essay assignment.  These assignments will take the form of prepared essay responses to a specific prompt or instruction and are designed to enable students to demonstrate their growing mastery of concepts and skills addressed in the related unit.   The classroom instructional content leading up to each essay assignment will be designed to support your success in completing the assignment.

Essays will be graded based on “Scoring Criteria” specific to each assessment.  Scoring Criteria for each assessment will be explained to students when the assignment is made. These essays will function as Unit Tests, and will have a significantly higher points-possible value than daily classwork. 

Each essay should be written according to the following specifications:

  1. Each essay should be typed.

  2. Lines should be double spaced (no extra spaces between paragraphs).

  3. Font size and style should be 12 pt., Times New Roman.

  4. The essay should be two to three pages in length. (700 – 900 words)

English Grammar, Usage, Mechanics As seniors completing their final year of high school education, students will be expected to demonstrate growing confidence and consistency with regard to the conventions of standard English. An ongoing feature of this course will be a targeted study of specific problems in English grammar, usage, and mechanics. This will take the form of regular instruction and exercises, and Term (Quarter) exams.

Unit, Semester and End of Course Exams   Students will take a multiple-choice reading analysis and writing skills exam at the close of each term/quarter/nine-weeks period. These exams are designed to assess the students developing skills in relation to the learning objectives of the course and will factor in determining final grades for each term.


Student grades will be based on total points possible for assignments to date as follows:

  • 90% and above of total points possible = A

  • 80-89% of total points possible = B

  • 70-79% of total points possible = C

  • 60-69% of total points possible = D

  • less than 60% of total points possible = F


Attendance Policy (From the DCPS Student Code of Conduct)

  • Students who are absent shall receive a grade of zero (0) for work missed for the day(s) or class periods(s) in which the absence(s) occur. Students shall be responsible for making up missed work for each absence. Students shall receive 100% credit for the make-up work for all absences completed within the allotted time. The school principal shall determine the appropriate length of time for completion of assignments.

  • Students with unexcused absences shall be held accountable through provisions of the Code of Student Conduct. Other appropriate penalties, such as detention beyond the regular school schedule or appropriate counseling programs for students and parents, may be administered at the school principal's or designee's discretion.

  • Any student who misses more than eight (8) days of a course or four (4) days on a block schedule during one grading period must meet both criteria below to be eligible for a passing grade (A-D) in that course:

  1. The student passes the required comprehensive quarter exam or the required comprehensive project in the course. A comprehensive exam or comprehensive project will be given to all students in courses for each grading period; and

  2. The student has an overall passing grade in the course for the grading period.

Make-up Work Policy

Unless an extended make-up period is approved by the principal, students will have one week to complete make-up work following an excused absence. Following an absence, students should speak with Dr. Son directly to learn of any assignments missed. Make-up assignments may also be posted on Focus and/or the course website:

Academic Integrity

Personal pride and integrity are essential to Atlantic Coast’s dedication to academic excellence and are fundamental elements of the Student Statement of commitment. Cheating is a Class II offense as defined in the Duval County School Board Student Code of Conduct. Consequences may include suspension from school. Cheating, to include plagiarism, will not be tolerated. Plagiarism is the use of another person’s written work, in whole or in part, and representing that work as one’s own. (NOTE: It is understood that individual student work produced in a cooperative learning/small group context may be similar to the work of others within the group.)



School Address:                     Atlantic Coast High School

9735 R. G. Skinner Parkway
                                  Jacksonville, FL  32256


School Phone:              904-538-5120, x1633

Course Website: A link to the course website is available on the school website or through the OnCourse system.

Course website address:


Dr. Son will be available after school, by appointment, for students needing additional help with the content and/or expectations of the course.

Guidance Contact: To schedule a conference, the parent/guardian should call Guidance at 904-538-5120, ext. 1015 and ext. 1016

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