Course Syllabus

English 9

Iowa City High School


Course Objective

  • To explore how writers construct messages using tools readers can identify and analyze.
  • To become empowered through the use of effective communication

We’ll do this by

  • improving critical reading and thinking skills
  • analyzing literature & media
  • engaging in the writing process
  • expanding our vocabulary
  • practicing formal and informal speaking skills.


Essential Questions

In order to get to the big understandings in English 9, we will explore the following essential questions:

  • Reading:  How do authors create meaning for their audiences?  How do authors achieve their purposes?  How do readers access those meanings and purposes?
  • Writing:  How can I create meaning for my audience?  How can I achieve my purpose in writing?  What helps me thrive as a writer?  What makes writing worth reading?
  • Thematic:  How do power dynamics impact human relationships?


English 9 Honors  

Students who choose to take English 9 as an Honors class will do the following:

  • Show sophistication in thinking and writing.
  • Compile pieces and compose reflections each trimester for a graded portfolio.
  • Participate in class in a mature, productive manner.
  • Keep a list of Independent Reading Books throughout the year.
  • Work to develop leadership skills throughout the school year.
  • Submit a Letter of Intent and the Honors Declaration Form to me by the deadline (to be announced).

Areas of Focus


You will write persuasive, expository, and narrative texts, and use the writing process to practice researching, organizing, supporting, and revising your ideas.


You will practice skills such as comparing, contrasting, interpreting, analyzing, and evaluating a variety of fiction and nonfiction texts, using fiction and nonfiction signposts as tools.  You will respond to your reading in small and large group discussion and various writing assignments.


You will practice grammar, usage, capitalization, and punctuation.  In addition, you will use word learning strategies and apply new vocabulary in speech and writing.


You will participate in discussion and presentations to develop your skills in evaluating, comprehending, and organizing information.



“Soft” skills matter.  Throughout the year, you will assess your own strengths and weaknesses and, where necessary, work on improving the skills in relation to communication, collaboration and work ethic.

Grading and Assessment

  • In all areas of study, both you and I are responsible for identifying monitoring your strengths, weaknesses and growth.
    • Standard grading percentages apply (100-90% =A, 89-80% = B; 79-70% = C, and so on).
    • Final Grades will reflect an assessment of your performance, progress and learning.  


    • 45% of your grade comes from Major Learning Assessments (ex: essays, speeches presentations, tests).
    • 30% of your grade comes from Daily Work--homework, classwork, SSR, informal writing.
    • 15% of your grade comes from Vocabulary and Terminology quizzes.
    • 10% of your grade comes from your “Participation and Life Skills.”  In this area, we will track your progress on meeting deadlines, working collaboratively, and participating productively.
        • If you choose to take English 9 for Honors credit, these percentages shift slightly. 10% of your trimester grade will be based on your end of trimester portfolio.  
    • Extra credit is not available; most essays can be revised and resubmitted.



    • Always work hard and be kinder than necessary.
    • Be an active participant in all discussions and assignments.  Embrace new ideas.
    • Get here and get here on time.  Must be present to win!
    • Submit your assignments on time.
    • Take responsibility for finding out what you missed when you were gone.  Class website and Google Classroom are good places to start.
    • Unless instructed otherwise by me, keep cell phones secure and silenced.  
    • Come to class prepared.  Each day you’ll need  a writing utensil, paper and a three-ring binder.

    Course Summary:

    Date Details