Mrs. Suzanne DiRenno

    River Dell Regional High School

    Academic Year 2019-2020


    11th Grade English 


    Course Synopsis:

    English 11 challenges students to confront the psychological complexities of today's world and to analyze how authors use text to make sense of the human experience.  Students will evaluate and analyze how authors grapple with sociologically complex situations through various genres: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and drama. They will complete a synthesis essay, a personal narrative, a literary analysis, a research paper on challenging an assumption, and a college essay, as well as other formative assessments.


    Course Rationale:

    Text and other produced media are the ways in which humans assert identity, tackle confusing realities, and connect with each other. Students in this course will use and improve their reading and writing skills to understand more advanced texts with more complex and contradictory thematic material, as well as to organize and express their own thoughts on themes in which there is not only one right answer.




     Unit 1: Finding Light in the Darkness

    • Anchor Text: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
    • Core Assessment:  Reflective Essay



    Essential Questions:


    Why is literature used as a vehicle to remember?


    How does literature help to make sense of tragedy?


    What is the common ground of loss and grief that people share?


    How does the individual move forward and cope with disillusionment?


    How do authors use writing to create common ground with readers?




    Unit 2:  Reimagining the Normal

    • Anchor Text: Macbeth
    • Core Assessment:  Literary Analysis


    Essential Questions:


    How are the concepts of "normal" and "abnormal" socially imposed ideas?

    How much of our identities do we sacrifice in order to satisfy another's definition of "normal?"

    How does literature explore these "abnormal" and "normal" human behaviors?

    How do readers and writers come to understand human nature through literature?

    How does a reader determine realities presented in writing if the narrator is unreliable?



    Unit 3:  Challenging Assumptions: Communities and Stigma

    • Anchor Text: Brave New World, 1984, or The Road
    • Core Assessment:  Synthesis Essay



    What is stigma and how does it affect ourselves, others, and the world around us?

    How does oppression spur rebellion?

    Why are some people celebrated for being different while others are vilified?

    How does tone and audience impact writer's voice?



    Unit 4:  Emerging Identity

    • Anchor Text: Outliers
    • Core Assessment:  Argumentative Research Paper



    Do we own our individual identities or are they socially constructed?

    How has my gender and culture impacted my development of self?

    How do we reconcile the notion of self in an ever-changing landscape?

    How do we define and communicate our identity?


    Grading Policy

    This course will operate on a point system wherein individual tasks will be assigned individual values. The following are components of the point system:

    1. Writing assignments
    2. Tests/Projects
    3. Reading Checks/Quizzes
    4. Classwork/Homework


     Course Requirements

             River Dell-issued laptop

             River Dell-issued Laptop carry case

             binder or notebook / folder   (for occasional handouts)


    Rules & Expectations

    Preparation is integral to the way this course operates.  This will require students to come to class prepared with a charged laptop in addition to the appropriate reading, class work, homework, and texts assigned.  Failure to be prepared will inhibit a student from participating in daily and/or weekly lessons, and as a result, will adversely affect the student’s average.


    Only school-issued laptops are allowed to be used in the classroom.  Laptops are to be kept on stand-by or powered off unless otherwise instructed.  Students who are using the laptop for anything other than academic use will receive a warning the first time, lose laptop privileges for the day on the second offense, and have the laptop confiscated on the third offense.  All offenses will be reported to the principal’s office and the parent/guardian of the student.


    If work is lost, damaged, or corrupted on the laptop, and no back-up copies of the file(s) have been made, the student will receive an automatic zero.  In the event that a laptop is damaged or out of service and a loaner is not available, the student will be accommodated, but all work must still be completed by the due date.  Technological issues will not be accepted as excuses, and no student will receive the opportunity to make-up the work as a result.  It is absolutely essential that all students back up files using email, one drive & the Y drive.



    Students are expected to be in class every day, for the duration of the period.  Students are expected to complete all assigned reading, writing, and group work in a meaningful fashion, and turn all work in completed and on time.   

    Students who miss English class must check One Note for the missed class work and homework.  Email must also be used to check for the homework reminder and communicate with the teacher.  All students are accountable for having the homework due on the day of return.  Twenty four (24) hours will be given to make-up missed class work.