Welcome to a new world.

    This year will be one of the most challenging, and hopefully one of the most rewarding, years of your school-life so far. You are learning new things. New routines. New faces, new names, new places. You are learning what it means to be you.

     Amidst this sea of change, you are also being asked to engage with some of the most challenging material you have probably seen in school so far, at a pace that is faster than you are used to. You have more homework and more responsibilities. But you also have a greater desire to take control of your own life—to be who you want and do what you want, rather than what someone tells you to be or do.

     The themes for this year in English I encompass your experience:




     In Pre-AP English I, we will explore what it means to be educated, who holds power or deserves to hold power, and what it means to challenge yourself, your world, and the people around you. We will do that through in-depth reading of complex texts, including books, plays, film, poetry, and non-fiction. We will apply what we learn from our reading to ourselves and our world. We will learn to communicate what we think effectively and clearly in writing. Throughout this year, you, as a student, should strive to embody the following ideas:

     "Responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and naming for you; it means learning to respect and use your own brains and instincts; hence, grappling with hard work."

    -- Adrienne Rich, poet

     “The playing adult steps sideward into another reality; the playing child advances forward to new stages of mastery.”

    – Erik H. Erikson, developmental psychologist


    To embrace these ideas is to embrace your own role in your education. Seek. Strive. Grow.


    Welcome to Carnegie Vanguard.



    1. Gradespeed

    Gradespeed is a tool to help you keep track of your current grade, but also to keep track of missing and upcoming assignments, specific strengths and weaknesses, and the level of importance assigned to a skill or task. It is expected that you will learn to use Gradespeed effectively and check it at least once a week. Consider also setting notifications for phone or email to know when you are missing an assignment or have failed a quiz or test. Please encourage your parents to access PSConnect (gradespeed) as well! Your parents can be a valuable ally in noticing problems and solving them before they get out of hand. We are all here to work together for your benefit!


    1. Late Work

    In ALL cases, the student has ONE WEEK from the day of the missed assignment to to turn in the work. The work must be turned in with a late work slip attached. The Timely Work grade will be a 0, but the work will be graded for objectives. If the late work is not turned in within a week, it cannot receive higher than a 50.


    Late work will not be accepted when no late work slip is attached. You will receive an automatic 0 for late work without a late slip. If the late work negatively affected a group’s ability to work, or in the case that it becomes irrelevant (i.e., vocabulary practice that is completed after the quiz, or a pre-writing activity completed after the drafting stage is complete). I reserve the right not to take late work, but I will provide you with an objective reason for that refusal.


    1. Absences

    If you know you are going to be absent, please speak with me so that you can get your assignments and remain on schedule. In the event you are absent, you are responsible for getting missed notes and for speaking with me about what you need to do to make up any work, quizzes, or exams. If no work has been turned in three days after your return (and no late work arrangement made), then you will receive a “0” for the missed work.


    1. Re-takes and tutorials

    Please find the Carnegie re-take policy for in-class quizzes and tests in the student handbook. This class will have a separate policy for re-writing major writing assignments. A face-to-face conference and complete a reflection will be required before completing the re-write. Writing under an 85 may be re-written for up to an 85. Certain assignments receiving lower than a 75 will be required a re-write.


    Some tutorials will be mandatory. In other cases, I am available at lunch or SSEP by appointment.


    1. plagiarism

    Plagiarism and academic dishonesty will NOT be tolerated in any form. Your work should always be your own. Absence of source citation is also an infraction. Working with a partner on a non-partner assignment is considered an infraction in some cases. When in doubt, get clarification on a specific assignment about what is allowed/not allowed. Plagiarism will receive a 0 and be referred for discipline.


    Grading Categories:

    Writing                                25%

    Grammar & Vocabulary         10%

    Analysis                               15%

    Academic Skills                    10%

    Skills Culmination                 40%

    Complex (layered) assignments will have MULTIPLE grades depending upon the standards being assessed.


    1. Writing Grades (WR) - (include, but are not limited to)
    2. Structure—using the correct format or process for the writing.
    3. Writing process—following the steps as outlined.
    4. Construction/process—following specific directions or steps about writing
    5. Sense/logic—use of particular pieces to help your writing make sense


    1. Grammar and Vocabulary Grades (GR) - (include, but are not limited to)

    In the fall semester you will have quizzes over grammar skills covered in the previous days. IF you fail a grammar quiz, then you will be required to show proof of additional practice BEFORE taking the retake. Additional practice will be available on the course website.


    In the spring semester you will have a quiz over 25 SAT vocabulary words (using the Sadlier-Oxford vocabulary system). Quizzes will draw words from previous quizzes AND have new words. We will use Vocabulary.com to complete homework/studying for these words as well.


    You may also be asked to demonstrate specific grammar skills or use specific terms correctly on an assignment, which will amount to a grade in this category.


    1. Analysis Grades (AN) - (include, but are not limited to)
    2. how literary devices affect meaning
    3. how rhetoric and rhetorical devices create argument
    4. how texts make meaning
    5. the quality of your explanation in terms of depth, complexity, and creative thinking.


    1. Academic Skills Grades (include, but are not limited to)
    2. Timely work (TW)
    3. Organization & Preparation (OP)
    4. Active Listening: taking notes, asking questions (AL)
    5. Group Discussion (GD)
    6. Creative & Thinking Risk (CTR)


    NOTE: Complex (layered) assignments will have MULTIPLE grades depending upon the standards being assessed. For example, an essay that analyzes a novel might carry FOUR or FIVE separate grades:

    1. WR - Writing (Jane Schaffer)
    2. GR - Grammar (1-2 specific skills)
    3. AN - Analysis (of literary devices)
    4. TW and OP - Academic skills (timely work, MLA, neatness)



    Grading for Each Standard:

    What are my grades trying to tell me??

    While specific instructions and feedback will be provided on individual assignments, this general guide will tell you what you should understand from a number grade.


    Score 95-100                      Level: WOW


    100= MATURE and INVENTIVE use of skill

    95-99= DEMONSTRATES increasing degree of maturity and inventiveness ________________________________________________________________________

    Score 90-94 Level: EXPERIENCED


    90-94= ADVANCED use of skill: No flaws in demonstration of skill knowledge ________________________________________________________________________

    Score 85-89 Level: EXTREMELY Competent


    85-89= Minor flaws decrease as skill mastery increases ________________________________________________________________________

    Score 80-84 Level: COMPETENT


    80-84= SATISFACTORY use of skill: Minor flaws still present ________________________________________________________________________

    Score 75-79 Level: EMERGING


    75-79 = Flaws decrease in number or severity ________________________________________________________________________

    Score 70-74 Level: DEVELOPING


    70-74= PARTIAL grasp of skill, SOME sufficiency: Flaws overshadow skill demonstration ________________________________________________________________________

    Score 60-69 Level: NOT YET


    61-69 = Attempts build towards some skill demonstration

    60= ATTEMPTS use of skill, NO SUFFICIENCY demonstrated _____________________________________________________________________________________ Score 0-50 Level: NOT DEMONSTRATED


    50= NO EVIDENCE of skill understanding/use


    Other grades:

    √+ = 100 (mastery)                        √ = 89 (competent)                       √- = insufficient (did not accomplish)






                    Binder [separate for English]

                    Dividers (Labeled: Vocab/ Grammar; Readings; Dialectical Journals; Tests/ Projects

                    2 packs of college-ruled lined paper

                    Blue/black pens + at least one other color


                    Flash drive


    Bring your binder and your laptop to class EVERY DAY. If you choose not to get the HISD Power Up laptop, please be aware that you will still need a computer in class. In addition, personal computers tend to have trouble connecting to the school wireless, which you will need to be able to do to complete writing assignments via google docs and to access texts via the HUB or websites.


    Required Memberships

    There are several websites or programs that we will use repeatedly this year. Please join the following:



    Class Code

    Enrollment Key

    Period 1



    Period 2



    Period 4



    Period 5



    Period 6



    Period 7




    https://classroom.google.com Students will be invited. Assignments and classroom materials will be posted here.



    https://www.remind.com/join/msleep1 Remind.com for Ms. Lee- English 1 (parents welcome!):




    P1: http://vocab.com/join/127A9XH

    P2: http://vocab.com/join/2G1XCEW

    P4: http://vocab.com/join/290WZZ6

    P5: http://vocab.com/join/1TYKXD

    P6: http://vocab.com/join/25S4Q4W

    P7: http://vocab.com/join/28T71A1



    P1: https://www.noredink.com/join/sweet-hamster-97

    P2: https://www.noredink.com/join/festive-flag-99

    P4: https://www.noredink.com/join/many-fuel-28

    P5: https://www.noredink.com/join/useful-brake-51

    P6: https://www.noredink.com/join/narrow-owl-26

    P7: https://www.noredink.com/join/roasted-joke-78




    Fall Semester

    Unit 1: The Power of Education

    We will explore what it means to be educated and who determines what an education looks like. We will set goals for our own learning and begin to understand the routines and requirements of the class.


    Major texts:

    Summer Reading assignments


    Unit 2: Belonging and Becoming: Analysis with Short Stories

    We will explore the themes of identity and growth through short stories; learn how to use different strategies to analyze a text’s literary craft and connect it to its meaning; and learn strategies for writing about literary fiction.


    Major texts: Short stories packet


    Unit 3: The Hero and the Human Condition- Past and Present

    We will study the classical text The Odyssey and connect it with modern multimedia adaptations of the text in order to understand the connective threads in art and literature. We will learn how synthesize and analyze a comparison and contrast of different textual and visual mediums.


    Major texts:

    The Odyssey, Robert Fagles translation


    Unit 4: Dystopia

    We will explore what makes a dystopian society, in literature and in life. We will apply our examine how authors craft dystopian texts to highlight contemporary issues.


    Major texts:

    Brave New World, Aldous Huxley

    Other dystopian short stories


    Fall Skills: Annotation, discussion norms, literary analysis, visual rhetoric, grammar skills, vocabulary building, writing process, identification and use of literary and rhetorical devices, essay writing


    Spring Semester

    Unit 4: Art and Activism: Poetry

    We will discuss poetry as an art form and connect it to other forms of expression. We will discuss how art, including poetry can be used expressively and subversively by activists to promote change. Students will be exposed to and use a multitude of poetic forms.


    Major texts:

    Poetry packet will be provided.

    Unit 5: Shakespeare—Romeo and Juliet

    We will study the play as a way to discuss themes important in our own lives. We will also discuss the form of Shakespearean drama and why it is still considered a necessary piece of English language education. Finally, we will think about how directors adapt plays to the stage or screen and how that affects the themes communicated.


    Major texts:

    Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare


    Unit 6: Shifting Lenses- Applying Various Literary Theories to Textual Analysis

    We will use different theoretical lenses, including feminist, psychoanalytic, cultural materialist, postcolonial, and formalist to analyze and explore the Poisonwood Bible.


    Major texts:

    Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver


    Spring Skills: expository writing, poetry writing and analysis, research and citation skills, critical thinking, analysis of literary devices for meaning, literary theories