Mrs. Brownlee

English Language Arts- Gifted I & II
Room 912

Contact Info:
(816) 736-5500 ext.2945

Course Overview

Communication Arts Gifted is a year-long interdisciplinary seminar course which gives identified gifted students the opportunity for enrichment in subjects unavailable in other course work as well as in the English Language Arts curriculum. In this concept-oriented course, students will explore current issues, rhetorical approaches to society's problems, and models of writing on contemporary topics.

Because the Common Core standards are shared for grades 9 and 10 and  Gifted students exhibit a wider range of interests and abilities, our 9th and 10th grade students at North are combined into one Gifted class. Even though this is a writing- and reading-intensive course, the enrichment nature of much of the subject matter will enable the students to work within their academic strength areas in choosing topics for papers and independent projects. Additionally, an emphasis on creativity will allow students to choose from a variety of modalities and intelligences.

Course Materials

The materials for this course are chosen for their complexity and their ability to provoke critical thinking and articulate communication. The focus of this course will be on the integration of reading, writing, speaking and listening. Students will develop the necessary skills to read and analyze selected pieces from current periodical and other enriched materials including various poems, essays, short stories, dramas and novels. Students will learn to write proficiently for a variety of purposes using advanced tenets of writing and appropriate levels of diction for the demands of the writing. Students will work on their presentation skills and their higher order thinking skills including their ability to analyze materials in research and synthesize a variety of resources. 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 textbook or novel

Independent reading book

Pen or Pencil

Post-It notes

Folder or binder to keep papers

Course Goals

  • Learn and employ the elements of rhetoric
  • Think critically about contemporary social issues.
  • Analyze the research on a historical topic.
  • Communicate articulately and accurately on ideas related to the study of contemporary topics.
  • Develop the ability to determine a significant and relevant topic for sustained study.
  • Apply a structured process for research as well as critical and literary analysis.
  • Decide which of the various sources for research and retrieval systems are the most appropriate.
  • Develop skills in determining the appropriate technology to solve various problems.
  • Increase their ability to write proficiently, using the level of diction appropriate for the demands of the writing and the audience.
  • Create a formal works cited page, using the MLA format.
  • Meet a quality level of expectation in presenting a final project to a varied audience.
  • Additionally students will:
    • Read a variety of materials for a variety of purposes
    • Write with correct conventions for a variety of purposes and audiences
    • Speak for a variety of purposes
    • Exhibit critical understanding of, appreciation of, and ability to analyze genres of literature
    •Research and cite sources effectively

Units of Study

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 email me 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.

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