After finishing the “What I’m Teaching This Week” series for last year’s freshman English classes, several folks asked if I’d also share my agenda for my junior-level American Literature course. It’s been a year since I taught that junior class, but now that summer’s here I’ve had time to dig through my old calendars and pull everything together for you.
A couple of things to keep in mind:
• To make things easier on myself, I just modified the month-at-a-glance calendar that I use in real-life instead of writing out the weekly explanation notes as I did for Eng. 9 series. (Summer hours are precious and I
want need to get back to the pool.)
• My class periods are 55 minutes and we meet five days a week. I tend to overstuff my daily agenda because I dread dead air, that terrible moment toward the end of the hour when I’ve run out of material and the kids think they don’t have to do anything. Nothing good ever happens during dead air; in fact, that’s usually the exact moment my principal is standing in the hallway about to pop in for a (surprise!) visit.
• The calendar is my guide, not my master. To fit in everything, there’s usually some sort of spillover of lesson material that eats into our SSR reading time on Fridays. Occasionally, I’ll need to cut part of a lesson to keep things flowing smoothly. Yes, it hurts, but there’s always next year.
• This class is taught to college-prep juniors at an academically competitive high school. It is not an A.P. or honors class, but it is demanding. If I were teaching in a different environment, I’d likely want to slow things down a bit.
• My district requires four major writing pieces per year, preferably one per quarter. I add in a bit more and have six major pieces, but there’s also a lot of smaller writing tasks along the way. Feel free to remove or add more writing to your program, as needed.
• I build a lot of my own class materials (those items are marked with a * on the calendar), but I do still use our textbook and district resources here and there. If an item on the calendar doesn’t have a * next to it, chances are it’s something owned by my district and I obviously can’t share those things. Sorry.
• Yes, I realize that the lack of diversity on the reading list is ridiculous. Our district is working on not just approving more titles, but actually buying class sets of those books for us to use. In the meantime, these are the novels/plays with enough copies available in the bookroom and the show must go on. (My list of approved SSR books is a more inclusive (but not perfect) sample of America’s contemporary literati. When I teach the class again, the list will get a fresh update.)
• If you have questions, feel free to email me (look for the “Contact” button at the top of this page) or leave a comment below. I have an American Lit. section of my TpT shop you can scroll through to learn more about individual lessons, and pretty much everything else is posted here in my general collection.
Hope you’re enjoying the last gasp of summer. Teach on, everyone!