English II ~ 10th Grade



INSTRUCTOR: Ms. Rachel Finkelstein ROOM: 210

EMAIL: rfinkelstein@woodscharter.org finkenglish



English II explores key works of world literature alongside a variety of retellings and adaptations. We will study the literary elements that make texts "classic" and question what makes a work of literature relatable to the generations that come after its creation. Additionally, students will study classics retold by other writers and artists and how they've adapted the material at a different time in history.


In conjunction with deep reading and writing, students will exercise ownership in their learning process––they will create grading rubrics, quizzes, and writing prompts. Students will approach writing as a process that incorporates inspiration, creativity, drafting, and revision. 



  • Why study classic texts and their adaptations or retellings?

  • What themes, issues, and dynamics arise from the convergence of all of our texts and their adaptations?   

  • Why is a story considered a "classic"? What determines its staying power? 

  • What is the relevance of studying multicultural texts?



  • Personal Inquiry

  • Creative Adaptation 

  • Literary Analysis 

  • Research Methods 



We will read the following books in class this year. Please note that some of these texts will be available digitally in PDF form. 


How To Read Literature Like A Professor, Thomas C. Foster 

The Epic of Gilgamesh

Gilgamesh II, Jim Starlin 

One Thousand and One Nights: A Retelling,  Hanan al-Shaykh

Forbidden Wish, Jessica Kahoury 

Oedipus The King,  Sophocles 

Antigone, Sophocles 

Home Fire, Kamila Shamsie 

Boy, Snow, Bird, Helen Oyeymi 



Remote Instruction Notes

This course requires each student to have regular access to an  internet connection and laptop or computer. Please let me know if this will be a problem for you and I will make accommodations. 


This course will often allocate the use of laptops and even cellphones. If a student owns a personal laptop, I suggest regularly bringing it to class. However, note taking, bell ringers and other writing exercises must be composed using pen (or pencil) and your notebooks. Laptops and cellphones are only to be used during specific activities with instructor permission. Outside of these designated times, cellphones and laptops should be stowed in backpacks and out of sight. Please refrain from checking emails, using social media, or texting. Repeated patterns of disruption will result in a lower engagement grade. 



Remote Instruction Notes

Synchronous instruction will allow time for group discussion and activities. Students will complete written assignments during asynchronous, independent work time. 


Some of the assigned weekly reading will be done inside of class, but students should expect to complete the majority of the assigned reading outside of class. It is highly recommended (and in some instances, required) for students to take notes, highlight, and “sticky note” the text as they read. All other homework assignments will vary on a day-to-day basis. Homework (both electronic and hard copy) is due at the beginning of class. 



Remote Instruction Notes

I will use google classroom to assign readings and daily work, Students will also engage with a variety of online platforms, including (but not limited to) Flipgrid, Padlet, Loom and Goodreads.  


Almost all of your assignments (with the exception of annotations and journal assignments) should be turned in electronically through google classroom. Google classroom assignments range from literature circle and book club work, in-class warm-ups, mini-projects, long-term essays as well as discussion and reading questions.



Remote Instruction Notes

All work––including journal assignments––will be assigned via google classroom.


Students will keep a journal where they will take notes and respond to prompts throughout the year. These journals may be collected periodically. 


A journal entry will be awarded the maximum points if it fulfills the following two criteria:

      1. The entry is complete (all steps in the directions have been responded to), and

      2. The entry is written with high standards (an obvious attempt has been made to dive deep), and you have generated at least 250 of your own words in response.



Remote Instruction Notes

Quizzes will occasionally be given during remote instruction time. They will test the student's ability to critically respond to the text at hand. As per usual, quizzes are student generated. 


On occasion, reading quizzes will be given to assess the quality of student reading. Students are to create quiz questions that are informed by the factual and analytical aspects of the text. Make-ups for tests and quizzes must be made up within one week of the original date of the test or quiz. 



Remote Instruction Notes

Every so often, students will be asked to write an essay during the allotted class time. These essays are not graded for quality––they are meant to generate content for upcoming essays. 


Students will receive a guiding question that helps them draw connections between the reading and their personal interests. The goal of the Inquiry Essay is to explore our essential question. Students will formulate their answers through research, literature circles, classroom activities and reflection. The end result is an in-class essay that relates the text to their chosen point of relevance. 



Remote Instruction Notes

See the standards outlined below. 


Students will reference their notes, journals activities, and other classroom documents to approach writing as a process. Consequently, students will compose outlines, rough drafts, and essays that interpret and analyze the text. Students who use class time wisely often finish their essays in class and bring very minimal work home with them. Final essays should examine literary elements, analyze the author's craft, and illuminate the overall message of the novel. For each of the required novels, you will:

  • Write a 3 page essay

  • Abide by the standards presented in the assignment rubric 

  • Present an argument—a.k.a. your opinion, not a summary

  • Incorporate textual details and examples from the text

  • Include observations of the book's structure, style, or theme 

  • Follow the MLA Format guidelines outlined in class

  • Submit the essay to the google classroom assignment

  • Turn in annotations (honors only)

In the instance that a student is unhappy with his/her grade, they’re welcome to approach me to discuss a rewrite.



Remote Instruction

See the standards outlined below. 


All assignments must be turned in by their scheduled deadline. If a student would like to receive credit for a late assignment, they may do so for half credit. Essays that are not turned in on time will receive a 25 point deduction for every day that they're late. I will not accept any work from the previous week. This rule, of course, does not apply to students with certain accommodations. 


Please, please, PLEASE send all late work to me via email. Google classroom does not notify me every time a student turns an assignment. 


In the event that a student misses class, they’re encouraged to contact me and a classmate to receive homework instructions for the next day. Additional time for make-up work will be granted for excused absences only. Make-ups for tests and quizzes must be taken within one week of the original date of the test or quiz. 



  • Contact a classmate to find out what you’ve missed and receive homework instructions.

  • Check google classroom for deadline updates or homework (may be subject to change)

  • If all else fails, you’re welcome to email me. I’d love to help you, but I can’t promise that I’ll see/reply to your email in time. Typically, I respond to emails sent during the week within a 24 hour time frame

  • The day that you’ve returned from your absence, you should:

  1. Personally deliver your late work to me.  Please do not put late work in the class outbox, my office mailbox, or on my desk 

  2. See me for extra copies of classroom materials, if applicable

  3. Make arrangements with me to take any missed quizzes/tests during lunch  


If you’ve been absent for two or more consecutive days, please arrange a time to talk with me. Similarly, please see me in advance (the week before is fine) if you have plans that will cause you to miss class for two or more days. 



Remote Instruction

See the standards outlined below. 


Trimester Categories 

T1: 25% Classwork and Homework: 40%

T2: 25% Essays and Tests: 45%

T3: 25% Engagement: 15%

Midterm: 5%

Final (E.O.C.): 20%



Remote Instruction

See the standards outlined below. 


Students will receive a bi-monthy participation grade. They will also have a chance to reflect and evaluate their engagement. Grades are determined by the following criteria: 


  • Respect

  • Self-Awareness

  • Contribution

  • Preparation

  • Participation



Remote Instruction

See the standards outlined in the Technology section of the syllabus.


To ensure success, students will rely on their notes, homework, class supplies, and the current reading. Failure to have all of the necessary materials and supplies each day will result in a loss of credit. Students are required to attend class each day ready to learn, which includes having all of the following items:

  • Pencils and pens (black or blue ink)

  • Spiral or composition notebook dedicated to solely to English 

  • Planner/homework diary

  • Binder or section in binder dedicated to English 


Students should have all of the necessary materials and supplies by the end of the first week of class.



Remote Instruction

See the standards outlined below. 


Grades are entered and updated on a regular  basis. I encourage students to be responsible for keeping up with their grades on powerschool. Questions and concerns concerning a student’s powerschool grades are welcome.



Remote Instruction

See the standards outlined below. 


Students must demonstrate academic integrity in this course by: 1) completing all assignments to the best of their ability, 2) completing assignments independently (unless otherwise noted), 3) avoiding plagiarism in all its forms, and 4) avoiding cheating, such as copying from other students or by obtaining answers for assignments in advance. All assignments must be turned in with a minimally acceptable level, even if half credit is earned because of lateness, in order to receive a grade for the trimester.



Plagiarism is defined as taking credit for another’s ideas or words without attribution. Plagiarism and cheating for any assignment will result in a 0 grade for that assignment and detentions.


Cheating is defined as falsifying one’s academic work or assisting another student to falsify academic work. The following are examples of cheating:

  • ●  using hidden notes, copying from another student, or helping another student during an assessment or in­ class essay

  • ●  giving assessment questions or answers to a student from another class or obtaining assessment questions or answers from students in another class ●  stealing assessment questions or answers

  • ●  changing answers, comments, or grades on an assessment already graded

  • ●  copying from a student or allowing another student to copy homework (unless collaboration is explicitly encouraged for the particular assessment or assignment)

  • ●  using technology in any way to share assessment questions or answers with other

  • students, or to communicate with other students during an assessment



Feeling overwhelmed, confused or stressed out? Maybe you want extra feedback on a rough draft, or you have questions about a grade on an essay? I’d love to sit down with you and offer my help. Schedule an appointment to see me during lunch or after school. You’re also welcome to drop by. Just don’t wait until it’s too late!  



Students and parents are required to sign the course agreement form to accept the course syllabus and expectations set forth. The course agreement form is posted on our google classroom and should be electronically submitted no later than Monday, August 26th.