Seminar Syllabus_Lakani_2013-14

Freshman Seminar 2013-2014
English I/Patterns in World History
Mr. Lakani
Phone: 224-765-2127 Office: A333 Email: [email protected] Free periods: 4, 5, 6, before and after
school. Appointments are typically needed. Emails/phone calls will be returned within 24 hours.
Mr. Garza
Phone: 224-765-2305 Office: A311 Email: [email protected] Office Hours: By Appointment
Emails/phone calls will be returned within 24 hours.
Welcome to Freshman Seminar! This course will introduce you to important historical and literary
patterns throughout time. We will be exploring themes together that transcend time and space, historical
periods and literary works. Our main focus this year centers on the question:
How does my understanding of multiple perspectives shape my identity?
The following guidelines will help you to be successful in this course:
Our course is designed around learning targets for English and Social Studies. Targets address the skill
areas of analytic thinking, reading, writing, speaking, and grammar as well as the concept of multiple
perspectives. The learning targets are shared through instruction, rubrics, evaluation criteria, and
examples. The main emphasis is to use learning targets with formative assessments in order to practice
skills and develop competency to succeed on summative assessments.
For English and History major writing assessments will carry the most significant weight in
determining quarter grades, but you will be assessed formally and informally in other ways as well
(selective response questions, short answer responses, paragraph responses, in class essays, fishbowl
discussions, presentations, etc.). Expect assessments on a weekly basis. As a rule of thumb, we take
the same amount of time to read and return an essay as you were given to complete it. For more
information regarding History assessments please see the web page:
The best place to learn is a classroom that is open to all ideas. No one should feel uncomfortable
sharing their thoughts or making mistakes. We all play a part in making this classroom a comfortable,
interesting, and challenging learning environment. Being fully engaged is equally important and
means different things: participation through class discussion, encouraging others to participate when
appropriate, developing quality listening skills, thoughtful and timely completion of all work, being
respectful of others (even when you disagree with their ideas and opinions), and being inquisitive
about the task at hand. Our community works best when everyone stretches themselves: take
academic risks, ask questions, make mistakes, challenge yourself, and open your mind to different
ideas and perspectives. If something happens in class that offends or upsets you, or if we do
something that offends or upsets you, please let us know so we can determine together what we can do
make it better for you.
In addition to helping create a respectful atmosphere, positive participants come ready to speak, listen,
and share. All materials must be with you in class each day. Also, all assignments must be completed
so that you can participate to your fullest in the class activity.
For each class, you will need:
 A three-ring binder or folder large enough to hold everything for the semester
 Blue or black pens
 A bound journal notebook that should be purchased in the HPHS Bookstore.
Being on time is essential. A pattern of tardies will result in a dean’s referral. Turning in assignments
on time is also essential, so it is imperative that you plan ahead and, if necessary, ask for an extension
well in advance of the due date. It is easier to work out special arrangements before an assignment is
due rather than after. All assignments are due at the beginning of the period unless otherwise stated.
Our motto, however, is “better late than never.” Some late work will receive reduced credit
depending on the assignment. Turning assignments in for late credit is better than having a zero in the
gradebook. Avoid the problem altogether by keeping up with your work. If you are absent from class,
check the English portal: and
the History site: to determine what you missed.
One thing many freshmen struggle with when transitioning to high school is taking personal
responsibility for their learning. The expectation in Seminar is that students are independent learners.
Daily attendance is crucial – one important aspect of this is taking responsibility for making up work
when you are absent. Please contact a classmate immediately after an absence to find out what was
missed. If more detail is needed, email us.
Please save all papers (along with all drafts) that you write for this class until the end of the school
year. Save both the paper copies and the documents on the computer. We will want to have all of
your papers saved to review your growth as a writer over the course of the year.
Another aspect of taking personal responsibility for your learning is coming to us if you need
assistance. You can always email us at [email protected] or [email protected] with
questions. Please feel free to make appointments with us if necessary. Mr. Garza can be found in the
social studies office (A311) and Mr. Lakani in the English office (A333). The Learning Center
(A220) is a valuable resource and we encourage you to use it for academic support.
We here at Highland Park High School expect all work that is turned in to be your own. Working
together (collaboratively) is very different than using someone else’s work. We will define the
difference even further with one another this year as you learn strategies to make your work your own.
Distinction Between Honest And Dishonest Collaboration
You are encouraged to work with your classmates on many assignments. In fact, sometimes you will
be required to do so. It almost always helps to talk about assignments with other people, whether
parents, peers, tutors, or teachers. When it comes to putting words on paper, however, the words you
write must be your own. Unless the teacher gives explicit instructions for an assignment to be
written collaboratively, assume that – even if you work on it with a friend or receive help from a tutor
– you must do the actual writing by yourself. If you are ever in doubt about what the expectations are
for a given assignment, ask me – that’s the honest action to take.
You will receive separate grades for English and History, and we both grade cumulatively.
A = 93-100%
C+ = 77-79%
A- = 90-92%
C = 73-76%
B+ = 87-89%
C- = 70-72%
B = 83-86%
D+ = 67-69%
B- = 80-82%
D- = 60-66%
F = 0-59%
Following this scale, your quarter and semester grades are determined by the percentage of total points
earned. Note that your semester grade is determined by the percentage of total points earned for the
entire semester; thus, the quarter grades serve as a benchmark for your progress at that point in time.
If there is a final exam at the end of either semester, it will count for approximately 10-15% of the
total semester grade. Grades are rounded up at .5 or above at SEMESTER only.
8. MISCELLANEOUS is a web-based program that provides us with the opportunity to comment on papers
electronically. It also verifies the originality of all student work submitted. You will have your own
account and you will be required to submit certain assignments through the site.
Emailing a teacher is not the same as texting a friend. It is, essentially, a business letter. Be
professional. Use a greeting, attend to spelling, write in complete sentences, be respectful, and sign
off with a signature.
We do not accept assignments via e-mail unless there are extenuating circumstances.
 A faulty home printer is not an extenuating circumstance. Have a plan for when your printer
breaks that guarantees you will have your printed copy of the assignment with you when class
begins (i.e. print at a neighbor’s house, email the document to yourself and save it to a flash
drive so that you can come to school early and print it in the library, etc.).
We look forward to a challenging, interesting, and fun year together! Get ready for success…
Mr. Garza & Mr. Lakani
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