Mrs. Brownlee
American Literature & Composition

Mrs. Brownlee and her son Jonathan at the Coliseum, Rome, Italy - July 2013

Contact Info:
816.736.5500 ext.2945

Course Overview

American Literature I/II is a yearlong survey of the contributions made by the diverse groups of the American tradition. The course begins with early selections of fiction and non-fiction and progresses through Civil War era literature and the modern era. Students will read, analyze, and respond in writing to various literary genres. The course will emphasize process and analytical writing.

Course Materials

The materials for this course are chosen for broad representation of the literature and culture of the American people.  Students will develop the necessary skills to read and analyze selected pieces from the excellent course text, including various poems, essays, short stories, dramas and novels. Students will learn to write proficiently for a variety of purposes using advanced methods of writing and appropriate levels of diction for the demands of the writing. Students will work higher order thinking skills including their ability to analyze authors' purposes and motivations, evaluating their works' place in American Literature. Learning will be discovered through problem solving, authentic assessment, and advanced use of technology whenever possible.


Laptop (charged and ready to go!)

Notebook paper

Appropriate resource or novel (Our textbook is online)

Independent reading book

Pen or Pencil

Post-It notes (you WILL need these for coursework)

Folder or binder to keep papers

Units of Study

1: Early American Writing
-Arthur Miller's The Crucible
-Persuasive Writing
2: American Romanticism
3: From Romanticism to Realism

4: Regionalism & Naturalism
-Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
-Literary Analysis
5: Harlem Renaissance & Modernism
-F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby
-Open Research Essay
6: Contemporary Literature
-Death of a Salesman

Evaluation & Assessment

Students are expected to assume responsibility for completing assignments in a timely manner. Late work for daily assignments and projects will NOT be accepted. Major essays may be turned in up to 1 day late, but will incur a 30% grade reduction. In the event of an approved absence, please let me know that you will be missing our class so that we can work together to be certain you do not fall behind. Our course grades are weighted as follows: 40% Assessment, 40% Writing, 15% Classwork & Homework, 5% Responsibility Scores.

The following grading scale will be used: A= 100% - 90% B= 89% - 80% C= 79% - 70% D= 69% - 60% F= 50% - 0%. Academic dishonesty of any kind is unacceptable and will result in a grade of zero for all involved. Unless you are specifically directed otherwise, all written work should be in final draft form (this means neat, legible, proofread, and in complete sentences) and ready to hand in when you enter the room at the beginning of your class period. Work not meeting these requirements will not be accepted.


Our classroom website will be maintained on Blackboard. Please access this site for course info, assignment postings, class calendar, etc. Check it, and check it often. If you are on twitter, follow @_MrsBrownlee. Email communication should be written using complete sentences with proper punctuation and grammar. Cell phones will not be seen or used during class unless directed by the teacher. iPods, etc. may be used in certain circumstances, but you need to ask permission first. This year we will be trying to use  technology in many varied ways!


I am available before or after school by appointment or during Eagle Hour to assist with your academic needs. Be sure to schedule an appointment so I know to be available in the classroom.


We will engage in a wide variety of activities and learning strategies in our classroom and beyond as we strive to meet the needs of every learner. To make this happen, students are expected to be respectful of themselves and others, to communicate effectively (which means listening effectively!), and to follow the protocols provided. Any student who disrupts the learning of others or who shows disrespect to others will be removed from the classroom and provided an alternative environment.

All school rules will be followed and enforced.

Comment Stream

3 years ago

Awesome! We teach the same course and would like to chat about late work and responsibility grades.

3 years ago

Neat! What are your thoughts, Valerie?