Course Syllabus

English 9 Honors 

Course Syllabus + Expectations 2021-2022 

Ms. Tocci

Room 238


The BIG picture

What is 9th Grade Honors English all about? This year, you will think critically about literature and its significance in our own lives. You will be challenged to improve and strengthen your skills in vocabulary, reading comprehension, writing, speaking, grammar, and team building. As a community of readers and writers, you will learn how to read actively and write analytically and creatively. You can expect to read a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts including novels, short stories, and poetry. These writing pieces will model the different writing styles you will work on yourselves. Writing assignments will include journal writing, reading responses, essays, and creative pieces.

Our Essential Questions:

Who and what determine who I am (my identity)?

What does it mean to be ‘from’ a place? How does where we are from influence who we are?

How do we understand ourselves not only as individuals but also as parts of diverse communities? How are decisions made about who belongs and who does not?

What constitutes right and wrong in a changing world?

Throughout the duration of the school year you will:

  • read and write critically to foster a deeper understanding of the human experience
  • use a variety of thinking strategies to understand, analyze, and create text for personal enrichment, inquiry, and problem solving
  • collect, analyze, and cite specific evidence to construct arguments, reinforce thinking, and formulate questions 
  • analyze and synthesize information from a variety of resources to express information, clarify thinking, change perspectives, and make informed opinions 

Course Texts (subject to change):

  • The House on Mango Street (Sandra Cisneros)

  • Lord of the Flies (William Golding)

  • Romeo and Juliet (William Shakespeare) 

  • A Raisin in the Sun (Lorraine Hansberry)
  • Selected short stories and poems


What you need to bring to class every day: Laptop, 3 ring binder (or folder) for English only, spiral notebook for English only, mentor text (the short story or novel we’re currently reading), and pens/pencils.

Our Daily Activities

As English students, you should come to class expecting to dive into some kind of reading, writing, vocabulary, and/or grammar lesson each day. While we will do independent work, most of this class will focus on group discussions, so please come to class ready to share your thoughts and ideas with your peers. Each day as you enter this class, you’ll prepare for the learning ahead by finding your seat, writing down the homework, and taking out your completed homework. We will usually start each lesson with a writing prompt.


You should expect homework, either reading or writing, to be due at every class. You can expect about 3 major assignments (meaning a combination of essays, in-class writing, and projects) per quarter. As indicated by the course description in your Program of Studies, students in English 9H should expect an average of 30-35 pages of reading a night. Other daily assignments will include informal writing assignments, preparation for class discussion, and preparation for a vocabulary and/or reading quiz every few weeks. Your preparation is vital to your active participation in class.


All the rules are designed to help you take full advantage of your education as well as to be fully prepared for upper level courses. They will be strictly enforced.

Comes to Class Prepared to Learn

  • Comes to class on time
  • Brings required materials to class

Actively and Respectfully Participates in Class

  • Listens attentively and resists distraction
  • Contributes to the learning of the classroom community

Practices Time Management Strategies

  • Maintains a system to complete work and prioritize tasks
  • Completes and submits work on time
  • Maintains academic integrity 

Practices Resilience and a Growth Mindset

  • Puts forth best effort, using strengths to achieve goals
  • Is aware of weaknesses and seeks to address them to improve

I truly love teaching and I’m excited to learn with you all this year. Each day you walk into the classroom, my passion will be evident. Please carry yourself with dignity and respect. I promise to do the same. 


Grades are based on a point system. Papers, tests, essays, and projects usually range between 75-100 points. Reading quizzes, vocabulary quizzes, and informal writing are usually between 15-30 points each. Class preparation and participation is worth 50 points each quarter. Your term grade is determined by how many points you earn out of the total possible points. Late work must be submitted by the end of each unit of study or by the end of a grading period if a unit of study spans two grading periods. Grades are yours and yours alone. When students talk to others about their grades, it usually makes them or others feel bad. Consequently, you are expected to keep their grades private.


  • If you’re absent, it is your responsibility to get caught up on any missed notes, homework assignments, and tests or quizzes. All homework assignments and handouts will be posted on Canvas. You will have 1 extra day to pass in homework for each day absent. 
  • Assessment make-ups are to be scheduled by you. Message me through Canvas or email me to schedule an assessment make-up time.
  • In the event you are absent on the day a group assignment is due, the group is still expected to submit a completed project. Consequently, if you are going to be absent when a group assignment is due, you are expected to communicate with your group members to make plans for submitting the project on time.
  • Please talk with me before an assignment is due if you know you will be absent or must submit it late because of extenuating circumstances. In these events, we can work together to make alternative arrangements for the due date of assignments.
  • Excessive absences will absolutely diminish your potential for success in this class, so please be in class every day.


  • If I see your cell phone, I will hold onto it for the remainder of class. No exceptions!
  • No general use of laptops, iPads, chromebooks, etc. Technology, while an awesome tool for learning, can be misused in the classroom. These devices will only be used when announced by me. When I’m giving directions or your classmates are speaking, your computer should be shut or at 45 degrees. 
  • No use of headphones (this means Airpods too!) unless approved by me. 
  • Please wait until the end of class to use the bathroom. If you absolutely have to go, just give me the peace sign signal, and be speedy. 
  • Drinks are allowed, but you may not eat anything in class. Gum (NOT CANDY) is allowed--unless I can hear it or see it. If I find gum wrappers by your seat, you will lose this privilege! Please do not leave papers or any trash behind when you leave.

Academic Integrity

All assignments that you submit – unless specifically partner or group assignments – should demonstrate evidence of independent work and independent lines of thought. You should not work together on individual assignments to the extent that your work is the same, similar, and/or does not show evidence of independent thought. You are not permitted to copy or plagiarize any of the work you complete. This includes copying another students’ work, allowing another student to copy your work, and copying information from someone other than a student (i.e. a website or academic database). Any student who does not follow these guidelines for academic integrity can face consequences.

Extra Help / Office Hours

I’m happy to meet with you if you need extra help or have any questions at all. My office hours are during Block A (7:30-8:29 on Day 2-4.  I will also be in the Writing Lab during Block B on Day 3 and Block C on Day 6. If these days/times don’t work for you, please let me know and we can find another time to meet. 

Extra Credit

I do not offer extra credit work. This is mainly because I offer so many opportunities for you to “earn points” toward your grade throughout each term. Keep up with the regular credit and you shouldn’t be worried about your grade at all! I’m here to support you and help you learn, and I firmly believe that as long as you’re trying your best and putting in an honest effort that there shouldn’t be any reason for you to be worrying about your grade.

A Final Note

I am looking forward to embarking on the journey that is 9th grade English with you. We will explore ourselves and the world around us through reading and writing, two of my favorite things! Let’s have fun and learn some things this year!

Course Summary:

Date Details Due