Course Syllabus

Ms. Longabucco



English 10 Course Outline & Expectations


Course Description


Welcome to class! In English 10, we will work together to learn about literature and its connections to different cultures, societies, and identities. By exploring the important themes embedded in these relationships, we will strive to understand more about ourselves, the world around us, and the goals through which we would like to contribute to this world. In order to grasp the meanings behind our reading material and communicate ideas effectively, you will build upon your reading, listening, writing, and speaking skills. You will also become more fluent in developing your own perspectives on relevant issues.


A Shared Experience


We are going to discover some fascinating concepts, and I am excited to guide you through this journey. However, I also expect to learn from you and watch you guide and learn from your classmates. There are always more ideas to uncover, and collaboration will be our means of expanding our minds as much as possible. I look forward to an insightful, productive, and rewarding year together.


Literary Works


Throughout the course, we will read and analyze the following works:


The House on Mango Street (Sandra Cisneros)

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Sherman Alexie)

Every Day (David Levithan)

To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)

The Tragedy of Julius Caesar (William Shakespeare)

A Thousand Splendid Suns (Khaled Hosseini)

Things Fall Apart (Chinua Achebe)

A Raisin in the Sun (Lorraine Hansberry)

Night (Elie Wiesel)


We will also examine a variety of short stories, poems, and articles.


Course Units


Below is a list of units and key ideas that we will explore.


Unit 1: Personal Identity


Goals: Students will understand…

-how characterization contributes to story development. 

-how characterization constructs identities that we can relate to ourselves and other people in our lives.

-the role culture plays in creating personal identity.

-how a character’s role in a work of literature can illuminate our roles in the world.


Essential Questions:

-What role does characterization play in a story? 

-How can we relate characters to ourselves and those around us?

-What is culture and how does it shape our identities? 

-How can characters teach us about our places in society, our personal missions, and different cultures?


Unit 2: Literature as a Reflection of Society


Goals: Students will understand…

-the different purposes an author might have in mind when writing.

-how to identify central ideas in literary works.

-that style and literary elements influence our perceptions of central ideas.

-how writing (both fiction and nonfiction) can reveal various aspects of society.


Essential Questions:

-Why do we write?

-How can writing style and literary elements make a work’s central ideas more powerful?

-How can authors express ideas about cultures and issues in society?


Unit 3: The Role of Grammar in Writing


Goals: Students will understand…

-the importance of grammar in conveying clear, cohesive ideas through writing.

-the grammatical rules of standard written English.

-how the grammar of different dialects can enrich literature.


Essential Questions:

-Why is grammar important?

-How can different written dialects contribute to literature? 


Unit 4: Justice & Injustice


Goals: Students will understand…

-how literature can serve as a lens through which to view the injustice that burdens people and societies.

-how literature can act as a catalyst to promote justice on a personal and societal level.

-that active involvement is vital to addressing injustice.


Essential Questions:

-How can literature help us understand what is just and what is unjust?

-What different forms can injustice take?

-How does injustice impact individuals and societies?

-How can we identify injustice and promote justice?


Unit 5: Cultural Oppression & Resilience


Goals: Students will understand…

-how prejudice and imperialism shape intercultural relations.

-how oppression can influence attitudes and values within a culture.

-how literature can spark social activism to encourage equity and appreciation among cultures.


Essential Questions:

-What hardships do certain cultures inflict on other cultures?

-What kinds of privileges and disadvantages does oppression breed?

-How do cultures respond to oppression?

-What can literature teach us about respecting and advocating for different cultures?


Class Rules


I want to treat you all as mature young adults so we can engage in thought-provoking and interesting learning experiences. To make this high level of learning possible, I will need you to cooperate in the following ways:


  1. Respect your classmates and teacher at all times. We will have a safe, productive learning environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing their ideas. No rude remarks, aggressive actions, or disruptive behavior will be tolerated.
  2. Arrive at class on time with all necessary materials.
  3. If you receive permission to leave the room, be sure to sign in and out.
  4. Do not use your cell phone or any other electronic devices during class.
  5. Do not plagiarize or cheat (which includes allowing another student to copy your work). Academic dishonesty on any assignment, test, or quiz will result in a grade of zero and referral to the assistant principal.




Students will be given homework in order to reinforce lessons and prepare them for class discussions. When I assign homework, I will check it for completion and effort. If you do not turn in a homework assignment on time, you may submit it the following class for half credit.


Larger Assignments


Throughout the year, you will construct a variety of assignments that reflect ideas within our units. These projects will include essays, research assignments (including one full research paper/presentation), creative writing, and group presentations. You will have a wide range of choice in determining the topics you would like to pursue for these assignments, and you will have plenty of time to complete them. Late assignments will be downgraded five points for each day they are late, except in certain extenuating circumstances.


If you are unhappy with a grade you receive on an assignment, please see me to discuss possible re-do assignments or extra credit. I do not guarantee these opportunities, but I am always open to having a conversation about concerns over your grade.


Tests and Quizzes


One test will be given every quarter, including the midterm and final. All of these tests will have the same point value and will not be cumulative. Pop quizzes will sometimes be given to ensure that students have completed their reading assignments. The only other quizzes will be based on vocabulary and will be administered biweekly. Every student’s lowest vocabulary quiz grade will be dropped quarterly.


Grading Policy


A student’s overall quarterly grade will be comprised as follows:


Class Participation & Preparedness: 30%

Large Assignments: 40%

Tests & Quizzes: 20%

Homework Assignments: 10%


Notice that class participation and preparedness count for 30% of your grade! Active involvement and meaningful discussions, as well as thoughtfully prepared essays and other large assignments, will be valued higher than test scores.


Extra Help


If at any point you need help with class material – or if you would simply like to talk about any issue that is bothering you – please feel free to see me. I am here as a resource in your learning experience and I care about your success, happiness, and safety. I will post my schedule in class so you can be aware of my free periods. I am also available after school; just let me know if you plan on dropping by so I can be sure I am there. Remember: the best learning happens with collaborative effort!




The following teachers’ syllabi helped me in creating this syllabus:

  • Mrs. Heidi Harwitz (Valhalla High School)
  • Mrs. Caryn Stuart (John Jay High School)  

A curriculum map from Cornwall Schools also served as an inspiration.