Contemporary Lit Tentative Syllabus

Instructor: Anna Hamann
Email: su.nm.21k.ijdimeb|nnamah_anna#su.nm.21k.ijdimeb|nnamah_anna

Classroom: 2203
Office Phone: (218) 444-1600 ext. 63386

Course Description

This course explores themes in contemporary society as found in a variety of contemporary literary forms. We will be exploring these themes through a variety of assigned readings, discussion, and written analysis. Requirements for this class include participation in whole class and small group discussions, as well as academic analytical essays and projects.

We will be looking at the question of how we define contemporary culture. What do we value? What are we afraid of? What do we want to leave behind?

Required Texts

Selections from The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories
An excerpt from Friday Night Lights, by H.G Bissinger
I Am Legend, and various short stories by Richard Matheson
Code Talkers, by Joseph Bruchac
Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom


In this class we will:

  • Become familiar with the important themes and concerns of contemporary American writers how these reflect the culture;
  • Develop an understanding of how cultural forces influence the creation, production, and reading of literature;
  • Continue to develop the ability to write thoughtful and coherent texts, in a style appropriate to task, purpose, and audience; and
  • Continue to develop the ability to initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners and groups on a variety of topics.


You will

  • Engage in classroom activities and support your peers;
  • Stay focused and on task;
  • Finish assigned work (including reading assignments) by the established due date; and
  • Respect each other and differing life experiences and points of view.

You will not

  • Distract others from doing their work or disrupt the class;
  • Make verbal remarks targeted at disparaging another person’s gender, sexuality, spiritual beliefs, culture, or perceptions of physical or mental ability;
  • Engage in verbal or physical bullying; or
  • Engage in any other behaviors that compromise another person’s sense of safety and security.

Discipline Procedures

  1. Verbal reminder of expected behavior
  2. Private discussion in the hallway
  3. Removal from the classroom

Every situation is different, so please keep in mind that I reserve the right and have the responsibility to expedite this process given the specific infraction in question. Everyone in this room has the right to an accessible education, and that includes the right to feel safe and secure in this environment. Neither myself or your peers have the time or the responsibility to put up with disrespectful behavior.

Please see the Bemidji High School Student Handbook for more specific information about the consequences for inappropriate student behavior at this high school.

If you are struggling to feel safe and secure in this class, or in this school, please do not hesitate to talk to me right away. This is a safe space.


Whether you pass or fail this class is based on your attitude and willingness to do all of the work all of the time. To that end, I will ascertain your level of engagement through the following activities: in-class participation, informal and formal writing assignments, periodic quizzes, weekly vocabulary packets, and tests.

Quarter grades are based on a total number of points and a straight percentage. Your final semester grade is based on total number of points from both quarters and is also reflected as a straight percentage.

Assessment Scale

A = 95%-100%
A- = 90%-94%
B+= 88%-89%
B = 85%-87%
B- = 80%-84%
C+= 78%-79%

C = 75%-77%
C- = 70%-74%
D+= 68%=69%
D = 65%-67%
D- = 60%-64%
F = 59% and below

Fractions of a percent will be rounded to the next whole percent.

Late Work Policy

Assignments are due at the start of class time on the day that they are due. If you are running into trouble getting work done on time, you must talk to me to arrange for an extension before the due date.

School policy mandates that you have a two-day grace period for each day that you are gone. This applies only to work assigned on those days. Work that was previously assigned and due the day that you were gone will be turned in immediately upon arrival, or no credit will be earned.

The class website,, chronicles exactly what we covered and what was assigned each day we meet. It is your responsibility to check this website for missed work. If you do not have internet access outside of this building, remember that the Media Center has computers for your use before, during, and after school hours.

Make-Up Work Procedure

  • Check the website,, before class.
  • Ask a classmate for clarification, missed notes, etc.
  • If there is further confusion about assignments, announcements, deadlines, etc., talk to me before or after class.
  • Write ABSENT and the date(s) you were gone at the top of any make-up work.
  • Schedule a make-up time for missed tests, speeches, or quizzes before or after school.

Food and Drink Policy

It is the BHS policy that no food or drink (except water bottles) is allowed in the academic wing — that includes this classroom. The exception to this rule is the Second Chance breakfast during 2nd hour.

Phones and other PED

You may use the time between classes to check Facebook or watch cat videos, but once the clock says it is time to start, you need to have your phone put away (if there is an activity requiring you to use your phone, believe me, I will tell you). When the bell rings you should already be working on your free write for the day.

  • First week I will remind you to put it away.
  • After the first week, if I see your phone out it will spend the rest of the hour in the phone caddy behind my desk.

Academic Integrity and the Bemidji High School Plagiarism Policy

Students are expected to practice the highest standards of ethics, honesty and integrity in all of their academic work. Please be sure to carefully and properly document the use of outside sources. Any form of academic dishonesty (e.g., plagiarism, cheating, and misrepresentation) may result in disciplinary action.

B.H.S. English Department Plagiarism Policy

Using someone's thoughts, words, or actions without letting others know that these are not your own is not legal in business, and it is not permitted at this high school. According to the student handbook, students who choose to plagiarize risk failing any course in which they plagiarize. Here is a definition of plagiarism that the English department approves. lt was taken from the University of Michigan's undergraduate policy statement. lt reads:

Plagiarism occurs when the student…

l) Does not properly attribute (give credit for) words or ideas to a source;
2) Quotes from another author's writing without citing that author's work;
3) Cites, with quotation marks, portions of another author's work, but uses more of that work without quotation marks and without attribution;
4) Takes a paper — in whole or in part — from a site on the Web, or a "library" of already written papers;
5) Steals a paper from another student and then submits that paper as original coursework;
6) Submits the same paper twice or more for two or more different assignments;
7) Takes the results of another's research and attempts to pass those results off as his or her own work.
(Whittier-Ferguson n.p.)

lf students have ANY questions about plagiarism, or how it is perceived here at Bemidji High School, please ask your teachers now. lf you wait until you've turned something in and been caught, it is too late to ask for clarification. lt is also too late to plead ignorance. Parents with questions are encouraged to contact their son or daughter's teacher at the earliest convenient time. This also must happen prior to an actual instance of discovered plagiarism.

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