In my classes students will be reading, writing, and responding in a variety of ways to  literature and other types of presentation media. Students will have homework assignments, tests, quizzes, essays, and other forms of assessment so that they can demonstrate their mastery of the material. All students will be held accountable for completion of the assignments on time and penalties will ensue for late work or failure to complete the assignment. All tests and essays will be scheduled in advance to give adequate time for study and completion of the work. The class syllabus is flexible and tentative. I have planned several different types of activities including video for the classes. Depending on my time schedule, I hope to have web pages and assignments available for the units we study. Below you will find a general syllabus, class information, and, when complete, links to specific class pages. These pages are designed to help you with the material in class and provide a reference of notes for material you may have missed or material you want to check for accuracy. When possible I will also provide homework, essay, and project assignments.






Word of the day



Classroom deportment

Daily Grades

Student responsibility

Themes in Literature

Mrs. Westenskow's Home Page

Tentative Schedule and Reading List




Throughout the year we will be using the textbooks Elements of Literature, Literature and Language,  and Adventures in Appreciation to explore different themes in literature and genres. We will also be reading Animal Farm, The Pearl, Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar," and one other novel. When possible, I will supplement the text with other selections of literature, and video. 



Every classroom day you will receive two words for a vocabulary section in your notebooks. Most of the words will be new vocabulary for you. I will give you the part of speech, a definition, and a sentence for each word. You will need to learn the words and their usage. After two weeks you will have a total of ten new vocabulary words which you should have memorized. At this point, you will have a usage test over the words . It is your responsibility to get the words if you are absent. If you are absent for the test, you must make up the test on the day of your return to school.  If you have missed several class days and do not have all of the words, you will have two school days to make up the test. Make up tests may be taken before school, after school, during the lunch hour, or during my prep. These quizzes are a part of your grade. Students can earn bonus points by using the vocabulary words in classroom discussions (when appropriate) and in writing. When a vocabulary word is used in a writing assignment, the word must be highlighted.


I give homework and I expect you to do the assignments and hand them in on time. The type of homework and grading will vary depending on the unit of study. In general, homework turned in one school day late will receive half credit. I will not accept assignments later than one day unless extensive absence is the cause. Homework not turned in is a "0" and counts against your final grade, so remember half credit is better than no credit. Occasionally, homework is of such critical necessity (the work for the day is dependent on the assignment completion) that the failure to complete the work for the prescribed day will result in academic insubordination. At such times, the student will be expected to spend his/her following lunch hour or after school in my room making up the assignment. Students will be notified ahead of time when an assignment is critical.


Writing is an essential part of the English curriculum. You will be required to write complete five paragraph essays based on the work we are studying. As the term progresses, you will learn skills to help you write better essays. The writing process is threefold; prewriting, writing, and revising. You will hand in all papers associated with your writing. Because writing is a learning and relearning process, you will have the opportunity to rewrite your essays for a better grade. You can raise your grade by one letter grade, up to an A-. I will explain this more as we go.
Prewriting Prewriting is the process of gathering and organizing information, and developing a thesis. We will explore a variety of methods for prewriting and organizing our ideas.
Writing This is the pen to paper part of writing, starting with a rough draft and moving through several more drafts until we have a satisfactory product. Then we will complete a computer draft of the essay.
Revising Revising is a two step process. The first step is global revision. This is taking a long hard look at the essay to see if it makes sense, is complete, goes together. Students will do this first with their own essays and then find a peer editor to do the same thing. I have editing sheets which will help with the revision process and we will work together the first time. The second revision step is for mechanics, spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc. Use the spell check and grammar checks on the computer to help with this step.
Form Once the revision has been completed and corrections made, the paper must be in the proper form to be handed in. All papers, prewriting, drafts, editing sheets, etc. will be turned in. The final draft must be word processed, 12 or 14 pt. type, no fancy fonts, 1" margins, cover sheet with your name, class period, and title. The copy you wish me to read must be on top with the remaining materials stapled to it. Remember to highlight vocabulary words for bonus points.


Your grade is your reward for learning. In general, I grade on the product, not the effort; however, hard work usually produces a better product. Your grades will be based on your daily work, tests, and writing. I will use the school grade scale for letter grades. The percentages listed below for daily and test grades may be revised as the term progresses based on the class work; writing will always count 50% of your grade.
daily work (25% of grade) classroom work, homework, outside reading
tests (25% of grade) quizzes, major tests, vocabulary
writing (50% of grade) all essays and major writing assignments



As young ladies and gentlemen I expect you to behave in the appropriate manner. Show respect for your teacher and classmates, and keep your hands and feet to yourself. If inappropriate behavior occurs, there will be one warning. A second offense will result in isolation, and a third will necessitate a phone call to parents. If the behavior persists, stronger measures will be taken. Students will not be issued hall passes unless it is an absolute necessity, so visit the restroom, your locker, and water fountain between classes.  No food or beverage in the classroom. Food and/or beverage brought into the classroom will be confiscated. All cell phones must be turned off before entering class. Any phone or disk player used during class time will be confiscated.



Students will come to class prepared to work with the required supplies.
  notebook for class notes, vocabulary, homework, and essay work
  black or blue pen
  place for handouts
  positive attitude
Students should have access to a dictionary and thesaurus at home.
Cell phones will be turned off in class, or they will be confiscated until the end of the day.
Students not prepared with books and materials will be penalized daily participation points (10 pts. daily). Students who are tardy will be penalized 5 pts. each time. Parents will be notified after three absences or tardies.



Students will receive 10 points a day in daily credit if they come to class on time, prepared to work with essential materials (books, paper, writing utensils, assignment book, etc.), and actively participate in the classroom discussion or work. Each absence will reduce the final attendance total by 10 points. Usually classroom work will total more than 10 pts. Each tardy will reduce the daily total by 5 points.
In addition, all students will receive two absence or daily work passes and two tardy passes for each six week period. These passes may be used at any time, but are not transferable and will not be reissued if lost. The passes, presented to me, excuse a student from an absence or tardy.
Upon the third unprepared day, the student will call his/her parents from the classroom and explain why he/she is losing credit. Each successive failure to be prepared will result in continued phone calls to parents at work or home.


Rather than specific dates, below you will find an order for study and an approximation of the work to be done. All units will include classroom discussion. For specific assignments when you are absent check the voice mail. Grammar and writing skills will be interspersed throughout the readings. Most of the units below have linked web pages on the net. See the themes in literature page for links or click http://geocities.com/westenskowdorf/10home.html. This is an ambitious undertaking, but with students' cooperation, we can succeed.
review of literary elements in short story and essay development class notes, reading, discussion, writing, homework
(reading list: "The Monkey's Paw", "The Most Dangerous Game"," Chee's Daughter", "The Interlopers", "The Cask of Amontillado", "Through the Tunnel")
Greek Drama & Medea or Antigone notes, oral reading, homework, essay, test
The Pearl reading, discussion, worksheets, notes, quizzes, project, essay, homework
Non-fiction outside reading biography or autobiography, oral report, essay
Animal Farm reading, journals, worksheet packet, notes, test, project, essay, discussion, (maybe video)
Arthurian notes, tests, writing, discussion, (maybe video)
Le Morte d'Arthur selections from texts, supplemental selections, videos, homework, group work, projects, test, essay
Shakespeare notes, test
Julius Caesar reading, video, notes, homework, test, essay
additional novel (choices: The Loop, The Hobbit, Her Majesty's Wizard, Talking God reading, work sheets, discussion, writing
research writing project