Course Syllabus

English IV

Karen Harper

Contact Information:

Office Hours: Mornings 7:40-8:10

Education:  University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Master of Arts in Literature 

Ohio University, Bachelor of Science in Education; Bachelor of Arts in English

National Board Certified Teacher


 Course Overview and Requirements

This course is designed to strengthen and to develop your language skills in the areas of reading, writing, and interpretation.  Because the title of this course is British Literature, we will be reading literature among many different genres, authors, and time periods throughout British history.  We will visit a number of units while reading short stories, poetry, and novels.  Students in Honors English IV are expected to read high-interest books of their choice throughout the semester.   In our class, we refer to this as "Book Love".  We will discuss this more specifically in our lessons.   These books can be obtained from the Media Center, the local public library, my collection, or your own collection.  Please click here for my letter to parents about Book Love.

Instructional Philosophy

I feel strongly that all people have the right to an education.  In my classroom, I strive to grant access to an education that will provide my students with the best possible future as a member of the global world around them.  I also strive to create an environment in my classroom as a place where I can reach all levels of learners.  I work hard to create a positive and welcoming atmosphere where students can grow and work to their full potentials.  I also feel that learning never ends.  As much as I want to teach, I also want to learn from my students, and I want my students to teach one another, which is why it is absolutely imperative that all students are respectful to each other and to me at all times. 

Course Standards

Honors English II will be aligned with the Common Core State Standards.  These standards are available through the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction website.  I have highlighted below what I feel are the most critical and applicable to our course.  Please feel free to review the comprehensive list at

1.        CCSS.R.&RL. – By the end of grade 10, read and comprehend complex literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, at the high end of the grades 10th grade text complexity band independently and proficiently.

2.        CCSS.RI – Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in an informational text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language of a court opinion differs from that of a newspaper).

3.        CCSS.W. – Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

4.        CCSS.SL. – Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source.

5.       CCSS.L. – Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.

Overview of English IV Course Readings:

The Anglo Saxons (449-1066):

  • Beowulf

The Middle Ages (1066-1485):

·         Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales

The Renaissance (1485-1660):

  • “To the Virgins to Make Much of Time” by Robert Herrick
  • Shakespeare
    • Sonnets
    • Hamlet and/or Macbeth
  • John Donne’s poetry
  • John Milton’s Paradise Lost


The Restoration and the 18th Century:

·         Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal

·         Alexander Pope’s “The Rape of the Lock”

·         Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women

The Romantics:

·         William Blake

·         William Wordsworth

·         Samuel Taylor Coleridge

·         Lord Byron

·         John Keats

·         Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

The Victorian Period:

·         Elizabeth Barrett Browning

·         Matthew Arnold

·         Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest

The Moderns:

·         T.S. Eliot

·         Winston Churchill

·         George Orwell’s 1984

In addition to our literature studies, students will study grammar, will complete projects, and will write throughout the semester.  Students will be evaluated based on their in-class participation, completed homework assignments, and tests and quizzes given throughout the semester. 

**Syllabus is subject to change based on time requirements and class participation.**

Assessment and Grading Plan

All English department members will arrange grading procedures that are fair, and students will have an adequate number of assignments in a reporting period to ensure their grades adequately reflect performance.

Grading System

All assignments receive a point value, which means the larger the assignment, the greater the number of points available.  The grades for all three marking periods will be averaged together to determine the student’s course grade.  The course grade counts for 75% of the final semester grade.  The End-of-Course test counts for 25% of the final semester grade.

English Department Policy on late work:

  • Daily homework will only be accepted 1 day late and will receive a 30% deduction.
  • Large Projects will lose 10% of total points daily up to a maximum deduction of 30%.
  • Per county policy, students have two days for each day absent to make up work. Students are still accountable for assignments given prior to the absence, however, and they must meet the original deadline.
  • If the student has missed a quiz, test, or another assignment that cannot be taken home, the student will need to schedule a time with me to make up the assignment.  It is the student’s responsibility to see me when work has been missed and to remember to turn it in when it is due.

UCPS Grading Scale      90-100= A          80-89 = B            70-79 = C

                                                  60-69 = D           0– 59 = F

Office Hours for Tutoring:

I am available Office Hours: Mornings 7:40-8:10.

Extra Credit

One extra credit book is available each quarter.  Books must be approved by me in order to receive credit.  If this is something that interests you, please refer to Canvas for the assignment and see me with any questions.

Classroom Rules and Expectations

1.  Respect:  This is my number one policy for a reason!  Your experience in this class depends greatly on your attitude toward Mrs. Harper, your colleagues, and most importantly, yourself.  Neither harmful remarks nor any form of physical contact toward or with anyone will be tolerated.  There is plenty of room for opinions, but only if they are voiced intelligently and with acknowledgement of how others in the room may feel.

2.  Bringing materials to class and attendance:  You are required to have the book we are discussing and reading.  You are also required to have your own pen or pencil and paper to take notes and to use for quizzes and class work.  In addition, more than half the battle of high school is showing up.  You need to be in your seat and ready for class when the bell rings.  If you are not here, you will not do well. 

3.  Tardiness:  Tardies will not be tolerated and are documented by the office.  Unexcused tardiness is to be marked without exception.  Whatever work was missed while not in class cannot be made up. 

4.  Hall Passes:  Ask to use the pass only at appropriate times; passes will not be given during instructional time.

5. Make-up work:  It is up to you to make up the work you miss.  If you miss a day, you must talk to me before or after class – NOT during class!  IT IS UP TO YOU TO MAKE UP YOUR WORK!  I will not remind you that you have to make up work.  If you are absent on the day of a long term project is due then you are to turn it in when you return.  According to the county website, you have 3 days to make up work after you have been gone, unless we have discussed special circumstances.  If the work is not made up in the required days, it will result in a zero.

6. Turning in homework:  If we are in class, you must turn in all assignments to the tray in the front of the room before the bell rings each day.  Most assignments will be submitted through Canvas.

7.  Cell phones:  Cell phones are not to be seen or heard me.  If I hear or see any use of cell phone I will confiscate the phone and turn it in to the office.  If I ask for the phone and do not receive it without any questions it is regarded as insubordination and will result in a referral. 

8.  Plagiarism: Cheating, copying someone else’s work, trying to pass off someone else’s work as your own, not documenting sources, or giving someone else your work are all acts of plagiarism.  If I should catch you doing any of these acts, it will result in an automatic zero for that assignment, as well as further disciplinary action.  DO NOT LET THIS BE AN ISSUE FOR YOU!


  1. Verbal warning
  2. Conference with me and an After School Detention
  3. Parent contact
  4. Referral to the office


Parents:  Click Here for directions on how to become an Observer in the Canvas Course for this class.


Course Summary:

Date Details Due