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English 1B Syllabus

Critical Thinking and Writing about Literature


English 12

English 1B

Dual Credit


Sir Jeffrey Johnson

W) 916-652-7243 x. 1559

H) 530-885-6844


ENGL 0001B: Critical Thinking and Writing about Literature

Units: 3

Prerequisite: Completion of ENGL 1A with grade of "C" or better

Hours: 54 lecture Develops critical thinking, reading, and writing skills applicable to the analysis of prose, poetry, drama, and criticism from diverse cultural sources and perspectives. Emphasis on the techniques and principles of effective written argument. 6,500 words of formal writing and some research required.


This unique class has Sierra College's English 1B: Critical Thinking and Writing about Literature course material interwoven with standard coursework for English 12, so students will earn dual-credit: 10 credits of English for completion of high school requirements, and 3 units of college credit for General Education requirements at any college or university. English 1B requires 54 hours of instructional time, and this time will be interspersed throughout the course. A high school course requires more instructional hours than this college class, so the balance of additional instructional hours beyond the English 1B requirements will be used to cover the grade-level department objectives in English 12.


Students in this dual-credit class will be enrolled in Sierra College and will enjoy all the benefits of being a student there, including library privileges.

Be aware that students will receive separate grades for this course: one for their transcripts at Sierra College, and a separate grade for their transcripts at Del Oro. While it should be noted that performance in the Sierra College portion of the class will affect the Del Oro grade, the reverse is not true; the performance in the English 12 portion of the class will not impact the Sierra College grade.


English 1B:

Critical Thinking and Writing about Literature


This course will focus on writing, reading, and critical thinking skills that will be applied to the analysis of prose, poetry, drama, and criticism from diverse cultural sources and perspectives. It includes reading, discussion, and analysis of selected literary texts and literary criticism. Students will propose and defend original ideas in writing assignments totaling 6,500 words, including four essays.


You will:


1.     analyze significance of literary elements and techniques

2.     identify and analyze the intentions, biases, assumptions, and arguments of an author

3.     analyze and evaluate the significance of literary genres, forms, and critical theories in literary text

4.     identify unstated premises and assumptions arising from social, historical, moral, cultural, psychological, or aesthetic contexts of the literary texts

5.     evaluate patterns of reasoning in both literary arguments and outside critical sources

6.     evaluate research sources in literary criticism and related non-fiction in terms of fairness, accuracy, completeness, and effectiveness

7.     Write four essays:

a.     A literary analysis essay on A Separate Peace

b.     An analysis of poetry unified by a single theme

c.      Analysis of short stories using a perspective of literary theory such as feminism, Marxism, etc.

d.     A literary analysis essay of a major drama that synthesizes and evaluates several critical sources.



Grading Policy

  • Late work is penalized 20% per day, except in the case of excused absences. Students have the number of days they are absent to make up missed work.
  • Make-up work: Students have the number of days they are absent to make up missed work. It is the student’s responsibility to find out what assignments were missed and make them up in time. Check the Daily Log on the website for missed days. A missed test must be made up on the day of return or suffer late penalties. Work missed because of unexcused absences (for whatever reason) cannot be made up.
  • Cheating and/or plagiarism will result in no credit for the assignment, a phone call home, and referral to the office.
  • The essays and tests in English 1A will be combined for a final grade. As a reminder, the work in English 11 will have no bearing on this grade.


A = 90% - 100%

B = 80% - 89%

C = 70% - 79%

D = 60% - 69%

F = Below 60%


Required Texts

  • Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing, 13th ed. Kennedy and Dana Gioia.
  • A Separate Peace by John Knowles
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • Master Harold…and the boys by Athol Fugard
  • Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams


Office Hours

          I will usually be available before and after school on a drop-in basis. However, if meeting with me is important, I suggest you make an appointment so you will be sure to have as much time with me as you need.



          Mutual respect between all scholars is essential to foster academic freedom. Students are expected to come to class prepared. This particularly applies to reading assignments which will be discussed in class. A productive discussion is possible only when all participates have read the material, and are prepared to listen to and contribute to class discussions.


All Del Oro student policies will apply in the classroom at all times, including the policy prohibiting the use of cell phones for any reason during class.