Freshmen English Co-taught

Course Overview

Mrs. Sanderford/ Ms. Bosch
Room 705     816-736-5340, Ext. 2808     816-736-5340, Ext. 2958

Welcome to Communications Arts, also known as English Language Arts (ELA)! This is your first year of high school and credits count! In this course we will be reading a variety of text types and working on important writing skills.  While investigating these topics, we will also improve reading comprehension, oral communication skills, critical thinking, and teamwork.  By the end of this class, you should appreciate different genres of literature, be better writers, and communicate more effectively with others.

This year Liberty Public Schools will be fully implementing the Common Core Standards for English/Language Arts.  These national standards represent a slight shift in the focus of the English/Language Arts classroom.  While students will be reading literature, there is a much greater focus on informational text, writing, grammar, and vocabulary.  Many of our units of study will be focused around a writing piece, and students will be using mentor text to determine what makes writing in that genre clear and effective.  Students are encouraged to learn through inquiry rather than through direct instruction, and we will spend a great deal of time learning to reserach, evaluate, and analyze information.

Course Goals  

This year you can look forward to learning:

1.  How to effectively read short stories, poems, novels, informational text, and other genres of literature.

2.  How to interpret, analyze, share, and discuss (both written and orally) these writings.

3.  How to model your own writing after these mentor texts and complete the writing process.

4.  How to use the conventions of standard English grammar and usage to communicate effectively.

5.  How to develop skills in determining the appropriate technology to solve various problems and present ideas.

What we will be reading:

The Odyssey by Homer, Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Lord of the Flies by William Golding, independent reading books, various short stories, and various non-fiction pieces.

What we will be writing:

We will focus on an argumentative research paper as emphasized by the Common Core Standards.  However, we will also be doing a great deal of writing to analyze literature, explore topice and ideas, practice grammar and usage, and share information.


1.  Do not disrupt other students from learning.

2.  Be respectful to your peers and teachers.

3.  Come to class prepared.  This includes always having your laptop and having it fully charged.

4.  Give your best effort every day.

Course Materials  

Materials you will need to bring to class every day:

1.  Binder with lined notebook paper and dividers

2.  Writing utensil

3.  Your Mac fully charged and ready to go with earbuds

4.  Independent reading book.


Students are expected to assume responsibility for completing assignments in a timely manner.  However, late work for daily assignments and projects will be accepted up until the end of the unit for no more than 60% of credit.  NO WORK WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER THE UNIT TEST OR COMPLETION OF THE UNIT.  Major papers such as the argumentative research paper may be turned in late, but will incur a 10% grade reduction each day that it is late.  Each assignment will be worth a number of points reflecting in a final grade.  Points will be totaled and converted to a letter grade using the following scale:

A=100%-90%;    B=89%-80%;    C=79%-70%;    D=69%-60%;    F=59%-0%.

If you are absent from class on the date of an assignment, I will record this in the grade book with a "missing" comment as a reminder to the student and myself that the work needs to be completed. You will have one additional day for each day absent to make up missing assignments without a late penalty.  All assignments not turned in on time need to have a blue late sheet attached to receive credit.  If you are absent, you must check my Blackboard website for the agenda from the missing day and any handouts or assignments you missed.  I will not track you down for missing assignments.


A classroom website will be maintained on Blackboard.  Please access this site for course information, assignment postings, weekly schedules, etc.  It is YOUR responsibility to check it, and check it often!   Email communications should be written using complete sentences and in standard English.  Technology, including cell phones, should not be visible in class unless we are using them for an assignment.  If I conclude that cell phones, ipods, etc. are distracting from the work in the classroom, I will take away the device until the end of the class period.  Repeat offenders may be referred to the office.

Guidelines To Help Us Reach Our Goals

RESPECT:  Respect is the most important thing I will ask of you all year.  I will show each of you respect, and I expect you to be respectful of your classmates, your school, and your teachers at all times.   Any behavior that interferes with learning will not be tolerated.

RESPONSIBILITY FOR LEARNING:  I will do everything I can to help you learn this year, but I also expect you to take responsibility for your own learning.  This includes talking to me when you need extra help, contacting me about make-up work, and ensuring that you have no missing assignments.  Check my Blackboard website, and check it often so that you are up to date.  If you are assigned to Liberty Hour for tutoring, you are expected to be there.  Ask questions!

PREPARED FOR CLASS:  I expect you to come to class with the proper materials, have your reading and homework completed, and be in your seat working on bell work when the bell rings.  We will work from bell to bell.  Make sure your Mac is fully charged and ready to go! Earbuds are needed.

Learning is what you choose to make of it.  Come to class with a good attitude, ready to learn and we will have a great year!