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American Studies
American Studies Policies


Cauthers American Studies Policies

Course Description:

Students choosing to take American Studies will begin their examination of the l iterature and the history of the U.S. in the 16th century and will complete the semester at the end of the 19th century. Second semester will continue from there to the present. Current issues will be examined in the context of historical and cultural perspectives, relating Americas past to the present with anticipation of the future. Class activities range from reading and discussion, to roleplaying and simulation.

Challenging works of classic and contemporary literature are examined in depth using a variety of critical approaches, including traditional moral and philosophical, mythic and archetypal, psychological, textual, political and sociological, historical, formalist, and other viewpoints. Assessment is based on a wide range of writing experiences, with an emphasis on literary analysis.

Classroom Policies:

The Classroom Community- The primary ethic of my classroom is that we will all treat each other with the respect we would ourselves like to receive. Civility and good cheer are qualities I value. Behavior in the classroom is evaluated in the light of how it supports or disrupts learning. So, here are the two main class rules: 1. Treat others with respect. 2. Don't interrupt anyone's learning.
Attendance and Make-up Work- If you are absent, you are responsible for assignments and information covered during your absence. It is your responsibility to find out what you missed and what my expectations are for make-up work; please see me before or after school. If your absence has been excused, you will generally have as many days to make up work as the number of days you were absent.

Late Work- An automatic one-grade deduct will be levied if work is late because of an unexcused absence or for no particular reason. In addition, be ready to write a "Why My Work is Late" composition. Unfortunately, I cannot guarantee when late work will be read and credited to your account; I get to it when I can. (Sometimes this may mean an "Incomplete" grade; that is the risk of late work.) No late work will be accepted the last two weeks of any quarter. If a problem or conflict arises, particularly with a major or long-term assignment, you may request an extension without penalty if you do so prior to the due date. Plan ahead!

Tardiness- Being late interrupts learning for the individual and the class, and I find it extremely irritating. Students are expected to be on time

Food- You can't bring food or drink into the room, unless specified for a specified classroom event. Water in a clear bottle is acceptable. It has been my experience that a sticky mess is created which the students do not take responsibility for. There is adequate time between classes to eat a snack as one chats with friends; just plan ahead.
Miscellany- Regular school rules about everything else apply in my classroom. In all matters, I am willing to discuss personal circumstances or emergency situations. I am an teacher; communicate with me!

Grading Guidelines:

I structure this class on a common model, where the lion's share of your grade rests on your performance over the whole semester, not just on a few major tasks. Accordingly, your grade in this class will be based on the following factors:

Class participation grade. This mark is earned by completing homework and coming to class prepared, being on time, doing all in-class assignments, keeping up with all language study or reading journal entries, participating in discussion, and helping the classroom community work by showing respect, involvement, cooperation, and leadership in group activities. Expect to have something to be entered in grade-wise every class session. (33%)

Grades on major written assignments. This includes major papers and projects. It is important that you understand what I am looking for when grading your assignments and tests, so evaluative standards for papers and projects will always be shared (and often developed together in class) when the assignments are given. If you are ever unsure about grading criteria, please talk to me. I want the target you're aiming at to be clear! On some major assignments, I offer students a chance to revise for a better grade. (33%)

Quarter final exam covering material we have studied. (33%)
I use point systems or assign point values to papers. The final grade is an average of all the grades you have received.

Note: It is my habit to keep track of your ongoing performance with computerized point totals/spread sheets. However, it is my belief in treating you, a high school junior, as an independent, self-responsible person. I recommend that you work hard, try your best, turn in all work, turn it in on time, maintain class standards, and keep a record of all your letter grades on major written assignments. That way, you will have a clear idea of how you are doing. Save all your returned papers in a file at home to reconcile any possible error that might occur. Talk to me before school if you have a question about grades.

Grades are cumulative for the semester. In other words, I keep a running total of the semester, there is no restart at the end of the first quarter.

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