Course Syllabus

Become a Canvas Observer





Advanced Inquiry and Research

Fall 2021, 4th Block

Course Description

This course serves as a basis for upper-level English courses (AP Language, AP Literature, and IB English Literature). It is designed to enhance close reading comprehension with increasing text complexity, hone synthesis writing along with documented research skills, build on interdisciplinary informational and literary texts, and prepare students for multimodal presentation skills. With the intention of challenging students to expand their knowledge and skills, this course will prepare students for higher intellectual engagement by starting the development of skills and acquisition of knowledge as early as possible.

Course Syllabus


Contact Information:    Room G111                                         Email:  



  • 1 Notebook (college-ruled)
  • 1 Folder
  • Pencils
  • Pens in at least 2 colors
  • Highlighters in at least 5 colors



  • Respect everyone’s participation and time.
  • Be actively present.
  • Keep the space safe.
  • Promptly communicate problems and questions.
  • Be responsible for whatever is within your control. (It is often more than you realize.)


In order to have a safe environment, please remember the following:  

  • No hateful commentary or language will be tolerated.
  • Nothing goes airborne, including saliva. Cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue.
  • Practice active listening and let other finish before speaking.
  • For anything not covered here, refer to the school handbook.


Academic Integrity: You are expected to respect the work of your classmates, other writers, and yourself. Therefore, cheating and plagiarism will not be tolerated. Ask questions if you are unsure about citations or to what extent you are allowed to collaborate with others. Cheating is never worth it. An F can be overcome or replaced. A record of cheating cannot.


The expectations listed above are in place to ensure your success.  If you do not meet the expectations, you will face the following consequences, which may vary in severity depending on the seriousness of the infraction:

Teacher – Student Conference:  If you violate one of the rules listed above, I will ask to speak with you outside of class to gain a better understanding of the situation and remind you of the policy.

Phone Call Home:  If you are unable to turn your behavior around or resolve the matter through communication, I will contact your parents.

Office Referral:  If the problem persists, I will refer you to administration or the intervention team which includes your guidance counselor.   



Grading: This course will be graded on a points system. Grades will be updated on PowerSchool at least once per week.

Late Work:  Assignments are due at the beginning of class unless otherwise stated.  If you are absent the day work is due, you must turn it in on the day you return.  If you miss class for a performance/field trip, your work is due before you leave unless we have discussed an alternate arrangement. Homework cannot be submitted late. Classwork cannot be made up, but it can be excused for an excused absence. Major assignments and papers may be turned in late for a penalty of one letter grade per day. If you are absent on the day of a performance or presentation, we will make a plan on a case by case basis.

Restroom Use: If you need to use the restroom during class, please do not leave during instructional time. During individual work time, you come see me to get a hall pass. Please use the sign in/out sheet when leaving and returning.

Computers: Your Chromebooks will be required for some classwork and readings. You are responsible for making sure that your computer is charged and that your text is accessible to you during class. We do not have enough outlets for everyone, and cords can create a tripping hazard. During class, do not navigate to websites or programs that we are not currently using.

Cell Phones: Per school policy, please store your cell phone in one of the pockets located by the door. Make sure you turn it off or put it on silent first to prevent any interruptions.

Media: I will occasionally supplement lessons with videos. Your parents will be asked to sign permission slips for any films rated PG-13 and above and any television media rated TV-14 and above. Any student not given permission will be offered an alternate, equally weighted assignment.

Absences: When you are absent from school, it is your responsibility to immediately find out what you missed and make up your work outside of class according to the school’s policy.  You should choose someone in your class to be your partner.  In the event of an absence, the partner will take notes on the classwork, discussion, and assessments that take place. Always check the calendar and handout folders for anything you might have missed.

Exams: High School students will not be required to take a teacher-made final exam in a course in the following situations:

  • The student has an average of 90 or above the week prior to the administration of the exam and has no more than 2 unexcused absences in the class; or
  • The student has an average of 80 or above the week prior to the administration of the exam and has no more than 1 unexcused absence in the class.

Formatting: Please format all written assignments using the MLA 8 guidelines. Purdue OWL, Easybib, and OSLIS have accessible guidelines and templates. Please do not use online citation generators for sources.





Course Outline



What will we learn?

Why should we learn this?

What will we do?

How will we prove mastery?

Unit 1: Rhetoric

Everything is an argument! You will begin to understand how analyzing oral and visual rhetoric means taking into account many factors: speaker, audience, occasion, purpose, subject, context, types of appeal, and logical fallacies.

●  To become more effective communicators

●  To become smarter consumers of ideas and products

Analyze the use of rhetoric and logical fallacies in advertising, music videos, and documentaries

●     Rhetorical Triangle

●     SOAPSTone

●     Rhetorical Analysis

●     Rhetoric and logical fallacy vocabulary


1) Analyze the rhetorical situation in an advertisement

2) Create an oral analysis of the rhetoric in a music video

3) Write a written analysis of the rhetoric in a documentary film  

Unit 2: Research

Arguments need valid supporting evidence.  Gaining this evidence is a systematic process that requires you to evaluate the validity of sources and information in order to more effectively craft your own argument.

●  To become more effective and finding and evaluating sources

●  To be able to support your claims

Research an “issue” that matters to you that you believe should matter more to the rest of the world.

●        CRAPP Test

●        Note Taking

●        Bibliographies

●        Thesis Statements

1) Create research notes

2) Create an annotated bibliography of sources

3) Generate a thesis based on your evidence

Unit 3: Public Speaking

The art of public speaking is an important rhetorical transaction between audience and speaker that relies on style, invention, memory, arrangement, and delivery.

●  To feel more confident when speaking in front of people

●  To be more effective at making an oral argument


Analyze the rhetoric of famous speeches. Study and demonstrate the rhetorical skills.

●        Analyze speeches

●        Rhetorical Device vocabulary

1) Convince the class that the issue you researched matters by crafting a persuasive argument in a creative mode.

Unit 4: Close Reading

Reading closely means moving beyond the content (what) to grapple with the effects of literary conventions (how) and how those devices create meaning (so what).

●  To appreciate the complexity of written expression

●  Becoming a better reader will make you a better writer.


Analyze poetry using various methods of explication and analysis.

●        TPCASTT

●        DIDLS

●        Tone Vocabulary

1) Write TPCASTT and DIDLS for multiple poems

2) Write a formal poetry explication

Unit 5: Critical Theory

There are many lenses through which to question what and how we read. You might choose to analyze a text based on a single element or multiple elements. 

●  To recognize more factors that influence readers and writers

●  To become better at writing about literature

Read a novella and various forms of literary criticism about the novella.

●        Close Reading handout

●        Schools of Theory

1) Participate in a Socratic seminar on the novella

2) Analyze and respond to literary criticism of the novella

Unit 6: Literary Criticism

There are many ways to write about literature.  Literary analysis, like all forms of writing, follows a specific set of guidelines.

●  To be better prepared to write about literature in high school and college courses

In small groups, you will choose a novel from the AP novel list to read.  Together you will host formal literature circle meetings to study the novel.


1) Literature circle records

2) Write literary analysis of the novel

Unit 7: Synthesis

Authentic learning and writing will require you to synthesize or pull together information from a variety of sources in order to support your own argument.  You must be able to address counterarguments.

●  To be able to develop stronger arguments

●  To be successful on the ACT, SAT, and AP exams


Practice writing essays in response to ACT, SAT, and AP prompts.

1) Write a synthesis essay

2) Pass your final exam which requires you to synthesize what you’ve learned during the entire course


Course Summary:

Date Details Due