Introduction to Literature and Composition

Course Syllabus

Brian J. Buddenhagen
Teacher, English

Room 221

Course Description:

"This one-semester language arts course is designed to develop and challenge student ability in reading, literary analysis, writing, and presenting at the high school level. Students develop strategic reading skills while investigating the literary genres of expository essay including historical documents, poetry, short story, and the novel. Extended reading and literary selections are taken from adopted texts and the recommended reading list for grade nine. Students produce writing in a variety of formats and genres including well-developed paragraphs, literary response items, expository essays, short stories (narrative), historical documents, and technical documents. Students continue to develop skills in the correct use of grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. This course is required for high school graduation."

— Denver Public Schools course description

Contacting me:

Please contact me at the phone number or e-mail listed in the top right corner. You can reach me at these times:

  • M: 7:15 – 8:15 a.m., 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
  • T and Th: 7:15 – 8:55 a.m., 2:45 – 3:00 p.m.
  • W and Fr: 7:15 – 7:30 a.m., 1:20 – 3:00 p.m.

If a student needs to speak to me regarding complaints or concerns, he or she should speak to me personally at these times, or before or after class. Students should not disrupt instruction time.

Grading Scale:

All grades are cumulative (I don’t average the six-week grades), so poor performance early in the semester can harm the final semester grade. Grades are awarded on the following scale:

  • 90 –100 = A
  • 80 – 89 = B
  • 70 – 79 = C
  • 60 – 69 = D
  • 59 - = F
Homework Policy:

Students will have homework at least once a week, especially reading assignments.

Make-up Work:

Students are allowed to turn in one assignment late without penalty; to do this, they should fill out the attached form and give it to me. This can be used for any assignment, excluding the final exam.

Otherwise, the scores on all late work are halved. Students have one week, from the due date, to turn in late assignments.


I fail any student upon their tenth unexcused absence, unconditionally. Please ensure that you excuse your child for their legitimate absences, as excused absences carry no penalty.

It is the child’s responsibility to ask for make-up work.

As stated in the school policy, five tardies equal an unexcused absence.

Classroom Rules and Discipline:

I follow South High School rules, regulations, and discipline policy, as stated in the student handbook.

Required textbooks, first semester:
  • The Language of Literature, McDougal Littell.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.
  • A dictionary – the school does not provide copies, so you must provide one of your own.
Suggested/useful books:
  • A thesaurus.
  • A writing / grammar handbook.
Class Organization:

In Introduction to Literature and Composition, the students will concentrate on reading, writing, vocabulary, and grammar. They will also learn note-taking, research, and presentation skills. I’ve organized the class as follows:

1.) On Mondays, the students will work on special projects (such as research), elaborate on certain topics, and to take review tests or quizzes.

2.) On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, the students will concentrate on reading skills, as well as vocabulary.

3.) On Thursdays and Fridays, the students will develop writing skills, which includes grammar.

I will distribute a list of assignments to the students at the start of each new grading period. A description of the first six-week period, during which they will read portions of The Odyssey, is attached.


Detach and redeem this pass to excuse a late assignment. You may use this once in a semester.

Name: Date:

Assignment: Assignment Due Date:



Mr. Buddenhagen's Syllabus Page

South High English Faculty

South High Reading and Writing Center