Hard to believe just how quickly our summer months flew by! Hopefully your summer was filled with adventures and relaxation. I know that I enjoyed some time away to spend with my own family. I had opportunities this summer to travel to Wisconsin and Oklahoma to visit with my extended family. I also enjoyed a trip to the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City in early July, and also participated in a professional development opportunity with local teachers in August. And of course, I got a TON of reading done this summer which I am excited to share with our incoming sophomore students.
As we begin our new year together, I wanted to give both students and parents a peek at what to expect from our 10th grade American Literature course. First, you will find a great deal of information about our class posted to this site. Clicking on the "Class Links" menu option above will show you our daily agenda slides with links to all our daily class activities and homework for both our Honors American Literature (HAmLit) course and our Composition through American Literature (CTAL 10) course. You will also find copies of the syllabi outlining units, expectations, and grading policies for both courses on the "Class Links" page.
The successful American literature student will demonstrate a willingness to persevere in the face of initial difficulties and will develop the ability to work through the following steps more or less independently:
As the American writer David Carr once wrote, “In order to have a chance at making great work, you have to consume remarkable work.” In other words, students should plan on reading frequently in this class! However, the GHS English Department values the idea that students need to be able to choose some of what they read in a course. We also value volume, variety, diversity, and text complexity in this particular course as well. This can all be accomplished with independent choice reading.
Students will have time in class each week to read a novel of their choice. But life-long reading habits are not just built in the classroom. Students need to be reading outside of school as well. The expectation is that students will read at least two hours outside of class each week. If we break that into manageable chunks, it comes out to about 20 minutes of reading, six days a week. We will track our reading progress, share our choice novels through book talks and class discussions, and at the close of each semester, students will complete a reading reflection which will address the accountability factor of your independent reading. A student’s independent reading will also be assessed each semester through their semester exam.
Speaking of assessments, it is important to know how students in our class will be graded. Our coursework is broken into formative and summative assignments. Formative assignments are those activities designed to help students improve and practice essential skills. Summative assessments are those end-of-unit writing assignments and tests designed to measure student achievement and skills level. Per our GHS handbook, students must successfully pass all required summative writing assessments in order to earn credit for this class. Late work for a unit will NOT be accepted for a grade once the summative assessment for that unit is due.
It's going to be a great year studying American literature together! I'm excited to jump into our studies together. See you soon!
Ms. Jen Ward
An interest in helping young people discover and define their writing voice and reading interests drives Ms. Jennifer Ward to cultivate a student-centered learning environment, one that supports individual learning goals and incorporates purposeful use of technology. In March 2017, Ms. Ward was named teacher of the month by Michigan's 86th district state representative, Thomas Albert. In March 2016, she was named a TED-Ed Innovative Educator and is also a Google Certified Innovator, National Writing Project Consultant, and a 2014 PASCD Emerging Leader. Ms. Ward taught for 13 years in a Philadelphia suburban district and returned to her home state in 2015. In 2017, she joined the Grandville High School bulldogs!