Freshman English

Welcome to English 9

This is a comprehensive course incorporating all aspects of the English and language arts curriculum and is aimed at developing experience and expertise in reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. Instruction will include but not be limited to the reading and writing of narrative, persuasive, informative, and technical materials; extensive vocabulary development; and introduction, review, and mastery of English grammar usage.

 Course Objectives:

 To expose students to a wide variety of fiction, non-fiction, argumentative, informative and technical reading and writing

  • To introduce various authors from a variety of historical periods, cultures, and genres
  • To develop strong written and verbal communication skills
  • To expand critical and analytical thinking skills
  • To improve students’ understanding and usage of the English language
  • To increase vocabulary knowledge and retention
  • To move toward mastery of Six-Trait writing components
  • To incorporate new organizational and study skills
  • To develop research abilities, documentation skills, resource and technology utilization
  • To compile a writing portfolio
  • To foster an appreciation and desire for lifelong learning and a love of reading
  • To utilize knowledge already possessed by the student and his/her classmates in order to further the learning experience
  • To develop intrapersonal and interpersonal skills
  • To prepare for a variety of local, state, and national exams including Measures of Academic Progress (MAP), Kansas State Assessments, and American College Testing (ACT)

 Academic and Classroom Expectations:

 Arrive on time to class, ready to begin instruction when the bell rings; bring pass from prior teacher, if late

  • Demonstrate respect for others and expect the same from your classmates and teacher
  • Ask for assistance as needed. That’s why I am here.
  • No food, gum, candy, snacks, or pop in class. Water is allowed in clear, reasonably-sized containers.
  • Wear appropriate clothing to school. You will be reported to the office in cases of indecent attire. See handbook (p. 17) for guidelines.
  • When school work is due, it is DUE. Academics supersede athletic practice. I will give you a pass to practice once your work is completed, if necessary. All assigned work is due PRIOR to leaving for an activity. Those who demonstrate resistance to this policy will receive a zero on the assigned work. TALK TO ME!
  • See the Student Handbook (pages 12-13) for information regarding attendance expectations, unexcused tardies and absences. A student who receives three unexcused tardies in a semester will receive a detention to be served the following school day. Parent(s) will be notified. This supersedes any athletic practices. Note that tardy guidelines are based on the semester for ALL classes, not individual classes. Unexcused absences will result in a zero for any work due that day, including daily work, quizzes/tests, major term papers/essays, or other projects.
  • Cheating or plagiarism on any type of assignment results in a zero. A student who allows someone to cheat by using his/her paper/information will receive a zero as well. Plagiarism is the willful copying of another person’s work without giving credit to the rightful author.It gets you nowhere but into trouble.
  • Computer use is a privilege, and we use computers several times per week all year long. Inappropriate use of a computer will result in suspension of that privilege for whatever period of time the teacher and principal deem appropriate, up to the rest of the school year. Computers are to be used only for school work. No games or access to social sites are allowed, including but not limited to Facebook, IM, SnapChat, Instagram, etc. Additionally, expressed approval to send personal email must be cleared with the instructor beforehand. This is the only warning you will receive. Consequences for circumventing blocked websites or damaging equipment will be severe.
  • Cell phones and other electronic devices are not to be used in the classroom without expressed approval from the instructor. Keep any such device turned off and in your book bag, not on your person, unless permission is given. Any devices confiscated will be turned over to the principal. You may or may not get the phone back that day.
  • Students are expected to use their class period for English/Language Arts only. Once work is completed, a student may work on assignments from another class, BUT ONLY AFTER RECEIVING PERMISSION from Ms. Strnad. (Should you desire to work on English assignments during another class, you MUST receive permission from that instructor first. A student working on an English assignment in another class without permission will receive a zero for the assignment. This includes reading for A.R. Be courteous to each instructor.
  • I am at school by 7:45 a.m. and usually remain until 4:00 or after. See me if you are having difficulty with an assignment, require clarification on any issue, or just need to talk. I want to hear from YOU if there is a problem. Do NOT wait until class time to seek information or explanation regarding an assignment due that day. (I talk pretty fast, so ask me to clarify or repeat information as needed.)
  • Parental, administrative, or counselor involvement will be sought as the need arises.

 Grading Policies:

 Student grades will be available to students and parents on a daily basis via GoEdustar or by request.  Although I do not plan to give extra credit for those who fail to be productive, I will offer extra credit to the entire class on occasion. I encourage you to take advantage of it when you can. Grades are based on journals, daily assignments, writing assignments, homework, tests, projects, presentations, and other activities.

You will be required to complete 15 Accelerated Reader points per quarter. This will comprise 15% of your grade! Grading is based on the number of correct answers received upon taking an AR test in my classroom or in Mrs. Bruna’s classroom (when she is available). In addition to the library, there are books in Mrs. Strnad’s classroom that may be checked out directly from her. Do not take a book from the classroom without checking it out through the instructor. Do not hand off any book to another student. It must be checked back in and then rechecked out. This protects you from being responsible for a lost book you are no longer reading. Reading time will be set aside periodically and also occurs indiscriminately. All class members will be expected to have reading material with them at all times. This is a great time to read for A.R. points. Anyone who cheats or plagiarizes on an A.R. test will lose ALL points for the nine weeks, including any previous A.R. points received during that period.  Parents will be notified. Novels read in class are sometimes available for A.R. points. Ask me!

Each grade in this class is based on the length and difficulty of the assignment. Research papers, other writing assignments, and daily homework grades will vary from 2 to 300 points (or more, if appropriate). Grades are available online or by asking the instructor. Updates to grade books are completed each week.  Rubrics for major assignments will be hung on the board. If you want a copy of the rubric, please ask. Questions cannot be answered unless they are asked. Please notify me of any questions you have concerning your grades, assignments, or other expectations. I have made mistakes, so don’t hesitate to question me if you believe a grade has been entered incorrectly. SERIOUSLY!

 Late Work:

 Work is to be completed and turned in when due. The only exception to this will be in the case of an excused absence based upon illness or other extenuating circumstances. Communicate with me! If you are to be gone for any reason, you must hand in your daily assignment and ask for the next assignment PRIOR to the absence. This includes all early dismissals for athletics, club activities, doctor or court appointments, etc. It is YOUR responsibility to get and return the completed assignment ahead of time. No excuses unless I have discussed the issue with you either personally or in class. Do not expect that excused absences marked “Parent Permission” means you may turn in work upon your return. Make plans to e-mail the assignment or to drop it off in my mailbox in the office. Remember: Absences marked “Parent Permission” are not necessarily excused absences. (See Student Handbook, p. 13.)


Assignment Example: If you are to be dismissed early for an athletic competition/extra-curricular activity or a doctor/court appointment, etc., the assignment for that day MUST BE turned in PRIOR to leaving. If it is not turned in prior to leaving, you will receive a ZERO on that assignment unless arrangements are made with the instructor on a case-by-case basis.


I want you to succeed. If you haven’t, than neither have I. But, “no man is an island.” We must work together, be honest, straightforward, and communicative. If you believe I have been unfair in some way, or that there is a problem within this classroom, it is your responsibility to discuss the issue with me. In addition, I will reciprocate on all classroom issues. You will, unquestionably, know how I feel—and I feel great just having you here.

Topics and Projects

 Selections and activities from a variety of sources will be implemented throughout the year, involving a variety of reading, writing, vocabulary, grammatical, and analytical skill building.

 First Semester


Introduction to English I


Grammar and Skill Building

Poetry for Bee-Ginners

Book Buffet

Analysis, vocabulary enhancement; text types and structures, editorial cartoon dissection; variety of non-fiction readings and related skills

Reflective essay on a selection of quotations


 Greek Mythology Unit: Background information on The Trojan War; mythology research, poster construction, and presentation, introduction to MLA citation.

The Odyssey; Homeric epithets, exploration of the “journey” archetype; note-taking skill introduction; two-part final test

“Journey” narrative

“Words are Tricky!” paired exercise; test

Introduction to validity in argument; essay writing


 Two fictional selections to compare and contrast in a 4- to 6-page essay

Identification of plot elements, symbolism, text types and structures, characters, conflicts, mood/tone, etc.

Poetry Unit including poetic elements vocabulary and figurative language; bio and narrative poetry assignments

The Highwayman” with vocabulary analysis and review of poetry techniques and figurative language; personification: “Incident in a Rose Garden”

Vocabulary exercises; grammar and conventions practice

Descriptive and argumentative writing assignments including letter writing

 Second Semester


 Non-fiction Narrative: “Angela’s Ashes” excerpt from author’s memoir; expository writing assignment, a personal memoir; historical account of “Typhoid Mary” with “cause and effect” graphic organizer; analogies

Descriptive Writing: spatial description

 Novel Unit: Lord of the Flies by William Golding; “Seven Deadly Sins” novel connections; characterization, plot structure; symbolism; chapter quizzes;  novel test; essay test; vocabulary test; journalistic writing assignment. (Alternative novel: The Hobbit)


Edgar Allan Poe Unit: biographical non-fiction information; primary/secondary sources; “Annabel Lee” and connection to Poe’s life; two short stories, “The Cask of Amontillado” and “The Tell-Tale Heart”; vocabulary; character analysis and expository essay

Persuasive Writing: Appeals to reason (ethos), emotion (pathos), authority (logos), popularity; fact vs. opinion; rhetorical questions; conceding and refuting a point; summarizing

Shakespeare Unit: “Shakespeare’s World” Research Project into Elizabethan Era, theatre, poetry and sonnets (iambic pentameter); costuming, famous quotes, Shakespeare’s life; handouts, visual aids; Romeo and Juliet  with film version; content and quotation tests: research and presentations, and “Who Said That?” game