I. Course Overview

Through critical readings of hero tales and literature of social critique, this course helps students explore the concept of civic engagement. By reading and discussing canonical and contemporary texts, students will consider not only what it means to be an engaged community member, but also how to prompt change in their community. Investigating various representations of heroic action and vilification, as well as individual efforts to voice dissent, will help students to identify the values of various societies and discuss what to do when there is a discrepancy between individual and social beliefs. Through investigation of challenging texts, students consider the class’s core question: What does it mean to be a hero? By exploring a range of societies through literature, from honor cultures to totalitarian regimes, students will think about how to act with nobility and selflessness, no matter what society dictates. This type of inquiry drives both intellectual and emotional learning, and helps students solidify their understanding of self and society.

II. Successful Learning                    III. Student Learning Expectations

To find success in this course, students will                                In this course, students will

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  • be attentive, curious, and diligent
  • put forth authentic, dedicated effort
  • ask questions
  • take notes
  • contribute to the learning community
  • manage their time
  • focus attention on a task
  • stay organized
  • prioritize their well-being
  • advocate for themselves
  • act with integrity
  • find their passions

IV. Expected Outcomes

By the completion of the course, successful students will be able to:

  • compose a literary criticism essay supported by original insight and integration of primary and secondary sources
  • write a compelling personal narrative that demonstrates a process of introspection
  • read for information, analysis, interpretation, and evaluation
  • plan for, conduct, and record expert interviews
  • complete a sustained research project that includes a multimodal digital presentation
  • authentically participate in a collaborative learning community
  • use new vocabulary and grammar concepts confidently
  • write for a variety of purposes and audiences

V. Topics/Content

The core texts for this course include Beowulf translated by Seamus Heaney, The Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare, 1984 by George Orwell,  A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift, and Frankenstein by Mary Shelly.  In addition to exploring these major works, students will also read a variety of short stories, poems, essays, and articles that are connected to the driving themes of the course. Other content includes vocabulary units taken from the literature, films and podcast episodes that correspond with the readings, and a variety of digital texts.

Please note that all students enrolled in British Literature are required to successfully complete the senior research project in order to graduate.

VI. Assessing Progress

Student assessments will be weighted and recorded based on the following categories:

  • Contributions to the Learning Community: 25%
  • Homework Completion: 15%
  • Quizzes and Minor Assessments: 25%
  • Major Projects, Presentations, and Essays: 35%

VII. Classroom Expectations

  • Students will demonstrate integrity in all academic endeavors.
  • Students will show respect and kindness to themselves and others.
  • Students will adhere to all rules and policies outlined in the student handbook.
  • Students will do their best to keep an open mind and to work to find joy in all classroom experiences. 

VIII. Homework and Make-up Policies

  • Because homework assignments are reviewed, discussed, or corrected in class, they are not eligible for late submission. I expect homework to be completed before the beginning of the class period.
  • Students who have an excused absence on the day of a test, quiz, or other in-class assessment are responsible for scheduling a time to make up the assessment within five days of their absence or they will receive a zero on the assignment. Students who have extended excused absences should see me to develop a plan for make-up work. If a student has an unexcused absence on the day of an assessment, they will receive a zero for all work due on and completed during that class period. 
  • All major assessments are due at the beginning of class on the assigned due date. Students who submit these assignments late will lose 10% credit for each late day and lose full credit after five school days. 
  • Any student who submits work that does not adhere to the school's academic integrity policy will receive zero credit for that assignment. 
  • I understand that students have lives outside of this classroom and that sometimes circumstances arise that prohibit their ability to complete their work on time. If students are experience such circumstances, they should schedule a time to meet with me to discuss alternatives to these policies. 

IX. Additional Information

I am available for extra help by appointment both before and after school or during free periods. When possible, students should request an appointment 24 hours in advance. Students and parents can reach me through email at janovitz@bpsk12.org or by phone at 781-273-7645.