Cultural Perspectives Syllabus

Course Description:

This course is intended for students with average reading and writing skills.  This course examines cultural themes in American literature to enhance students’ awareness and appreciation of the multi-ethnic nature of the American culture.  Students will engage in close reading, discussion, analysis, and interpretation of texts written by individuals from a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, including: the recent immigrant cultures, African American culture, Jewish culture, Native American culture, Asian-American culture, and Hispanic-American culture.  Students will write essays that examine cultural themes including the ethnic identity, cultural assimilation, general conflict and predjudice.


Course Enduring Understandings:

After successfully finishing the course, students will understand that:

1.       A variety of cultural groups have contributed to American culture.

2.       Beliefs about American society can be culture-dependent

3.       Written literacy criticism is essential when judging and analyzing text

4.       Culture impacts every aspect of society: social interaction, politics, and education

5.       In order to have a democracy in which all are treated equally, it is imperative that we learn about cultures in America.


Credit Hours for course: ½

Prerequisites:  A fourth year student who has taken American Literature (Course 132) or Studies in British and American Literature (Course 133)



Participation:  Be an active part of what’s going on in class.  Keep an open mind as we discuss interesting, and perhaps new topics that you may have never heard of or given much thought to in the past.  Take some initiative with your own learning!  Participate in class discussions and be an active member of the class.


Materials:  Each day, you are expected to bring your notebook, pencils, notebook paper, and calculator to class.  All work in this class is to be done in pencil unless otherwise instructed by Mrs. Gorzycki. 


Spiral Notebook/Journal:  All students must have a journal.  This will stay in the classroom and you will use it every day for bellringers.


Bellringers:  We will use warm-up bellringers everyday.  This will count toward your daily participation grade.


Grading Procedures/Late and Absent WorkWe follow the district guidelines so that there is no question and everything remains fair.  If an absence is excused, students receive 2 days per absence BEGINNING THE DAY THEY RETURNIf an absence is unexcused, they may make up the work, but NO CREDIT will be given.  I usually DO NOT accept late work (any work not turned in at the BEGINNING of class when collected from everyone else.  Basically, if I've put the paper clip on the pile and someone's work isn't clipped, I'm not taking it).  Its up to you on how you want to handle this, but late work becomes a major hassle and can get away from you. 

1.      Completion:  Each day I will walk around the classroom and check your homework for the night, or I will collect your homework.  I understand that you may not get every problem, but an honest effort must be made to receive credit.  At the end of the chapter, I will collect your binder and grade your homework. 

2.      Accuracy:  When an assignment is graded for accuracy, I will collect it and grade it like I would grade a quiz or test.  Each problem will be worth a certain number of points and how well you do will determine your grade on the homework assignment. 


Quizzes & Tests:  Quizzes & tests will be given throughout the semester.  Quizzes can come at any time during a chapter.  If you are absent, it is your responsibility to ask the teacher if a quiz/test was scheduled while you were gone.  Students have one week from the date of the absence to make up missed quizzes and tests.  Quizzes and test will vary on the amount of points they will be worth.   


Projects/Presentations:  Throughout the semester, we may do various projects and presentations.  These projects and presentations may be done in a group setting.  More detailed information about the projects and/or presentations will be provided when appropriate.   


Small Group Expectations:  While in small groups, there are several expectations that the class must know and understand:

1.      Students will stay on the assigned task until it is completed

2.      Students will cooperate with each other, helping when needed and seeking help when needed within the group. Students will allow equal opportunity to participate in the group.

3.      Most importantly, all students must take an active role in the project/presentation.  If all of the group members are not involved, points will be deducted from the group’s grade.