Junior English, Syllabus 2017-2018
Instructor: Heidi Udall, Room 246

Email:, Phone: 480-472-8107


I am excited to be your teacher! I love English with a passion and am addicted to teaching. I will prepare myself thoroughly and will be highly motivated to teach you each day. I’m excited to know you.

English skills are like athletic or musical skills; they take consistent and focused practice to strengthen. Like athletes and musicians, some people more naturally acquire the talent--but with practice everyone can become proficient. I will give you daily opportunities to strengthen your English skills of critical thinking, reading, writing, and speaking; however, your consistent, diligent practice will determine how much growth you earn during the year. Be prepared to commit to a minimum of five hours of coursework per week outside the classroom. This will often involve long-term reading and writing assignments, so effective time management is crucial. My job is to teach and coach you. Your job is to practice and perform. Together, we’ll make a great team.  Please meet with me on an individual basis or email me if you ever have questions or concerns.


My goals for this class are:

  • Prepare you for the next step (senior year and after)

  • Develop and strengthen your communication skills (thinking, reading, writing)

  • Provide a safe, respectful environment for everyone to learn

  • Foster life long learners

What are your goals for this class?


  • Blue/black pens, one colored pen (for editing), and pencils

  • Highlighters--3 different colors

  • Lined composition book

  • Plenty of notebook paper

  • MPS issued device

  • Novels throughout the year--see list below


Assessments: English students will be required to take department reading and writing assessments, district benchmarks (if required), and the state assessment (AZ Merit) to determine correct placement, to assess skill level, to determine proficiency, and to plan curriculum/intervention/enrichment:

  • August: a department reading and writing pre-assessment will be administered within the first three weeks of school.

  • October: a department reading and writing post-assessment will be administered at the end of first quarter.

  • December: a grade level final will be administered at the end of first semester.

  • March: a department reading and writing assessment will be administered at the end of third quarter.

  • April: a state mandated test will be administered during a state testing period

  • May: a grade level final will be administered at the end of second semester.

Please encourage and support your students by making sure they are in school on these important days.

Attendance: Be at school. Be on time. Be present. Be prepared.

Cell Phones:

  • Use of cellphones in the English classroom is strictly prohibited unless the Teacher has given specific permission for an academic use. Cell phones must be turned off (or set to silent mode) and put away during the entirety of class.

  • Some English classrooms may require students to place their devices into a cell phone holder during the class period.

  • Violations will result in cell phones being confiscated and held until the end of the school day. It is the students’ responsibility to arrange pick-up of their devices after school. The instructor is not responsible for damage or loss of these devices.


  • Plagiarism means taking someone else’s words or ideas and passing them off as your own. This includes paraphrasing, so even if you put it in your own words, it is still considered plagiarizing. To avoid this, always give credit to the author of the words or ideas you are utilizing.

  • Students caught plagiarizing will receive a ‘0’ grade on the assignment. 

Grading: Grades in an English class primarily reflect a student’s proficiency on adopted state standards. However, if a student consistently has missing or late work, the grade will be affected.

  • A= 90 -100% (mastery or highly proficient)

  • B= 80 - 89% (proficient)

  • C= 70 - 79% (proficient or partially proficient)

  • D= 60 - 69% (minimally proficient)

  • F= 59% and below (not proficient or not enough evidence to determine proficiency)

Semester grades will be fully cumulative. Each assignment will fall into one of the following standards-based categories and will be weighted according to the following scale:

  • Speaking and Listening = 15%

  • Language = 15%

  • Reading = 20%

  • Writing PROCESS = 20%

  • Summative Assessments (including final exams and final essays) = 30%

Finals - All English students will be required to take an academic final each semester. All English teachers will administer the grade-level approved final for each semester on district designated finals days for both fall and spring semesters. Early finals will not be given, so please plan vacations accordingly.

Late work: Students will be expected to turn in work on time on assigned day. Students will be rewarded for completing assignments on time.

Late work, make-up work, missing work, and revised work will be accepted under the following conditions:

  • ALL late work must be accompanied by a department or PLC generated “pink” cover sheet stapled to the top left corner. There are two separate cover sheets--one for late work, make-up work, missing work and a separate one for revised work.

  • With an excused absence, you have one week to complete any missed work.

  • If you are absent, it is your responsibility to find out what you missed by asking your peers, your teacher, and/or checking Canvas.  

  • Late work submitted for any other reason than an excused absence will be docked.

Lion Time:

  • Lion Time has been designated for academic growth and will be used in the English classroom for reteaching, retesting, tutoring, practicing, and independent reading time.

  • Students will not be allowed to watch movies or TV shows (Netflix), youtube videos, or participate in unsanctioned non-academic activities during Lion Time.


Course Unit Overview: The District adopted new textbooks this year called Collections by Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt (HMH) that contain 6 collections of literature. This year, we are studying four of the collections. Along with the textbook, each quarter will include a novel study, a major writing assignment, vocabulary/grammar skill building units, and assessments found in the HMH online portion of the textbook.

Collection 1: Coming to America, Novel: Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston

Other works/excerpts:

  • “Of Plymouth Plantation” by William Bradford

  • The Tempest by William Shakespeare

  • “Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan

  • various poems

Major writing assignment: narrative

Collection 3: The Individual and Society, Novel: Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Other works/excerpts:

  • Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson poetry study

  • from Walden by Henry David Thoreau

  • “Against Nature” by Joyce Carol Oates

  • “The Pit and the Pendulum” by Edgar Allan Poe

Major writing assignment: argument

Collection 4: A New Birth of Freedom, Novel: Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane

Other works/excerpts:

  • “Emancipation Proclamation” by Abraham Lincoln

  • Lincoln’s 2nd Inaugural Address

  • “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July” by Frederick Douglass

  • Declaration of Independence

  • “Declaration of Sentiments” by Elizabeth Cady Stanton

  • various poems

Major writing assignment: informative research (career)

Collection 6: The Modern World, Novel: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Other works/excerpts:

  • “How it Feels to be Colored Me” by Zora Neale Hurston

  • Harlem Renaissance/Robert Frost poetry

  • “Ambush” by Tim O’Brien

  • Tinker vs. Des Moines Independent School District opinions

  • The Crucible by Arthur Miller

  • “The Coming Merging of Mind and Machine” by Ray Kurzweil

  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Major Writing assignment: argument


Please complete a Google Form linked here acknowledging your understanding of these classroom policies for Junior English Literature taught by Heidi Udall at Red Mountain High School. By submitting the Google Form, you also grant your student permission to read, watch, and discuss the outlined novels and plays listed in this syllabus.


Please complete a Google Form linked here acknowledging your understanding of these classroom policies for Junior English Literature taught by Heidi Udall at Red Mountain High School.