• English 4 Syllabus---Harnett Central High School

    Dr. Michael Zan Crowder

    Rm. # 824

    Fall, 2017




    Welcome to Honors English 4!  This course is designed to expose students to a wide variety of the literature of the United Kingdom.  Students will read fiction, non-fiction, poetry prose and drama.  Because the literature of Britain has been so influential in American culture, World Literature, and Western History, the course will include the major writers of England from the Beowulf poet, through Shakespeare, the Romantics, the Victorians, to the Modernists and Post-Modernists. 


    To begin the class, we will read Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World.  This reading is intended to establish the level of attention that we will give to readings for the rest of the semester.  We will spend two weeks establishing and reinforcing these expectations, particularly in terms of classroom time but thereafter, much reading will be done by students as homework.  Students will almost always have reading homework.  Course readings will include 1-2 Shakespeare plays and at least two other novels.


    The course will include an Internet research project and presentation and a final web-based project.  There is also a final exam for the class that is standardized for all English 4 classes across the state.  This exam will constitute 25% of your final grade.


    Classroom Expectations----“It’s a Half an inch of water and you think you’re gonna drown”   John Prine


    Students are expected to exhibit the following four traits at all times:


    Perseverance.  The semester is a marathon, not a sprint.  The path to success lies in dutiful effort on a daily basis.  A student’s grit and determination are always related to their level of success.


    Resilience.  Learning takes effort but it also takes an ability to maintain a positive attitude in the face of adversity and disappointment.  No one can learn to do something without many failures and hardships along the way.  Students must arrive every day ready to do better than the day before.  I promise that I will do the same.   


    Integrity.  All students are expected to own their own names and their own work, no matter the quality.  I would much rather have subpar academic work attempted honestly than to have a student attach their name to someone else’s work.  The level of character associated with our names is critically important.


    Respectfulness.  Students will respect their teacher and their classmates.  Raised voices, profanity or talking when the teacher is talking will not be tolerated and will be viewed as a disciplinary offense.  There is a difference between honest debate and disrespect.  Again, I view disrespect as a punishable offense.



    Classroom Procedures


    Tardy Policy---I will follow the HCHS policy strictly.  Students must be in their assigned seats when the bell rings.  After the second tardy, I will notify parents that write-ups and detention will follow for additional offenses.  Furthermore, students may not leave their seats until the bell at the end of class.  There is no lining up at the door prior to the bell.


    Late Work---Students are always encouraged to complete work even after the official deadline but this is your responsibility.  Penalties are dependent on circumstances; assignments completed while a student is absent are entirely the responsibility of the student to make-up.  Points deducted will depend upon whether the student was excused or not.  Quizzes and assignments made during excused absences may be completed without penalty.  Again, this is the student’s responsibility and will not be discussed during class time.  Students must speak to me about make-up work before or after class. Do not count on me to tell you what you are missing.


    Bathroom Passes---Students are allowed bathroom/water fountain passes twice per week.  There is a sign out/in sheet at all times near the door.  They may not leave the classroom more than once during a single class.  They may not be gone for an unreasonable amount of time.  No more than one student is allowed out of the room at a time.  Students are not allowed to leave the immediate classroom area.  There are no passes out for the first and last 20 minutes of class.  Failure to abide by these rules will result in revocation of the student’s bathroom privileges.  Any request for a pass out of class will be denied if the student interrupts the teacher or another student when making the request.  Please wait until there is a lull in instruction.


    Food/Drink---Except on special occasions or with medical necessity, there is no food allowed in the classroom.  It will be confiscated and thrown away.  Students may have water bottles with a lid (no cans). 


    Technology---I am a fan of technology in the classroom and our classroom is supplied with a one-to-one laptop cart.  Students will be assigned a laptop on the first day of school and this will be the only technology that they will need. Smartphones, Cellphones, Personal tablets, Ipads, Earphones, Earbuds, Headphones and the like are expressly forbidden.  They must be out of sight before the bell rings or they will be taken by myself or an administrator.  Students will be assigned a pocket into which they must deposit their personal electronics (either silenced or turned off) upon entrance to the classroom.  Students may not charge electronic devices in the classroom.


    Respectful Classroom Behavior---There will be ample time for students to discuss course material throughout the course.  However, conversation that is not on topic while the teacher is speaking is forbidden.  I expect everyone to pay attention during lectures and to take notes.  Refusal to comply with this rule will result in removal from the class, a write-up and a phone call to parents/guardians.  I will have no tolerance for individuals disrupting the learning experience of the rest of the class.


    Related to this, I will answer personal questions about grades, make-up work, tardies, etc. only during time that is not scheduled for a full class activity.  I am happy to answer any questions but will not take time away from class activities to do so.


    Grading Policy


    The HCHS English Department has a uniform grading policy. It is as follows:


    • Summative Assessments (End of Unit Tests, Major Projects)---40%
    • Formative Assessments (Daily Work, Participation, Student Progress Activities)---30%
    • Independent Learning (Reading Quizzes, Other Homework)---30%


    Grades are updated on PowerSchool weekly, and progress reports will be sent home regularly.


    Additionally, I use a grading system that is designed to give students positive grades.  I allow for revisions and resubmissions if a student would like to improve on their original grade.  Major tests are always paired with major projects in order that students may have a variety of tasks through which to demonstrate mastery of content.


    Journals:  In order that students strengthen their grade, they must complete daily assignments.  Refusal to perform an assigned task will result in a zero for the assignment accompanied by a note that disallows revision.  These daily assignments are graded on the following scale:


    Check Plus:  100%---Exceptional effort, above and beyond the required specifications. 

    Check:  90%---Very Good effort.  Somewhat surpasses requirements of assignment.

    Check Minus:  80%---Good Effort.  Completes assignment according to specifications.

    No Credit:  0%---Did not meet requirements of the assignment.


    ----Parents are encouraged to access the grade notification system through the Harnett County website in order to check students’ progress on a regular basis.


    Plagiarism and Cheating


    Using someone else’s work under your own name is not acceptable.  Anyone caught cheating or aiding someone in cheating will receive a zero for the assignment.  There are no exceptions.


    Plagiarism is defined as using someone else’s words or ideas without giving them proper credit---a citation.  For my purposes, more than four words together from a source not cited is plagiarism.  Furthermore, rewriting someone else’s ideas in your own words is also plagiarism.  If you do this, I will know.  You will receive no credit.



    Contact Information


    Please feel free to contact me at any time. I am always available to meet or speak to students and parents and enjoy doing so.  I am happy to answer any questions or address any concerns.


    • Before or after school in room 824
    • Planning: 2nd block
    • Email: mcrowder@harnett.k12.nc.us
    • School phone: 919-639-6161 x-824


    Course Outline (Subject to reasonable change)


    August 28th-September 5th


    Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World (Text provided)

    Grammar Review

    Introduction to Reading Literature (Critical Essays provided)

    Basic Literary Terminology


    September 6th-September 13th


    Excerpts from Beowulf and the early history of England (Literature Textbook)

    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Literature Textbook)

    The Renaissance Period---Poetry (Literature Textbook)


    Unit Test & Project


    September16th-October 10th

    The Renaissance Period---Poetry (Literature Textbook)

    Sonnets, Marvell & Raleigh

    Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth or King Lear (Text provided)

    Critical Essays on Shakespeare (Essays provided)


    October 11th-November 1st


    The Romantic and Victorian Eras---Poetry (Literature Textbook)

    Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein or Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations (Provided)

    Victorian Short Fiction (Literary Textbook)

    Critical Essays (Provided)


    Unit Test & Project


    November 6th-November 22nd


    Modernism---Poetry (Literature Textbook)

    Ayn Rand’s Anthem (Text provided)

    Modern/Postmodernism Short Stories (Literature Textbook)

    George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion


    Unit Test & Project


    January 6th-End of the Semester


    Literary Criticism and George Orwell’s 1984 (Text provided)

    North Carolina Final Exam



    In conclusion, I look forward to an exciting and fast-paced semester.  Because this course is required for Spring Graduation, I encourage students to keep up with all of their work and to keep their eyes on their upcoming diploma.  If there is any point in which the student feels overwhelmed or concerned about their own performance, they should immediately speak to me about their concerns.  I will do everything in my power to support their endeavors.  I also encourage parents and guardians to work in partnership with myself in order to facilitate their student’s eventual success. 


    Best Wishes for a Wonderful Fall,





    Zan Crowder, Ph.D.

    English Department, Harnett Central High School

    Harnett County Schools