• "All learning floats on a sea of talk."  John Dewey

    Ms. Sellenriek                                                                    JenniferSellenriek@claytonschools.net
    English Teacher                                                                                  Office:  CHS, Room 3
    Literacy Curriculum Coordinator                                                        (314) 854-6661
     "You force people to stop asking questions, and before you know it they have auctioned off the question mark, or sold it for scrap.  No boldness.  No good ideas for fixing what's broken in the land.  Because if you happen to mention it's broken, you are automatically disqualified."
                                                                                                                                                     Artie from The Lacuna by Barbara Kingslover

    What is College Prep. English IV?

    This culmination of our college-preparatory program is designed to foster independence and creativity within our reading and writing community. The motif of “social dialogues” emphasizes the role of communication in social issues. Reading selections will feature emphasis on diverse voices and student choice. Students will select, evaluate, synthesize, and respond to sources. The course features a capstone research project and presentation. Students are required to write, conference, and revise a minimum of five compositions each semester, including a reflective piece that may serve as the basis of a college application essay.  

    What is the big idea?

    The big idea is to figure out the big ideas about the world we live in...and to help shape that world as we ready to leave high school for our next adventure.  We will consider the world through four different lenses, or units.

    Unit One:  Power Plays

    How does an individual attain and maintain power? How does an institution attain and maintain power? How do our positions in a power structure shape our opportunities and our perspectives?  Who or what defines justice within a power structure? How should we react when we witness the misuse of power?  What role does dialogue play in challenging unjust power structures?

    Unit Two:   Constructing Identity:  Gender

    How does society impact an individual’s understanding of gender?  How do individuals form and maintain their authentic identities within gender stereotypes?  How do societal expectations of gender impact how individuals communicate?  How does an individual’s gender identity shape opportunities and perspectives?  How should people react to the ways gender roles lead to inequity?  What role does dialogue play in promoting gender equity?

    Unit Three:  Humanizing the Dehumanized

    How do outside forces influence our judgements about other people?  How do we come to recognize and rectify mistakes in these judgements?  How does dehumanizing the other lead to injustice?  

    Unit Four:  Looking to the Future

    What's Your Mission?  What is success?  How is defined?  Are there alternative views of success?  How do we define our future and the future of the world?  

    What will we read?

    We’ll be reading a lot...a lot of pages but also a lot different types of writing.  Beyond opportunities for readers to select texts, we will use our shared reading to examine the world together:   Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Hamlet by William Shakespeare, The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, Citizen:  An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine.

    What will we write?

    The focus of our writing will be to identify the good in the world and explore it and to recognize the unjust and uncover it.  We will write across genres:  reflective, narrative, definition, persuasive, analysis, poetry, fiction, and researched argument.  (And, a college essay!) Most importantly, we’ll learn to amplify our strengths as writers and grow in our areas of improvement.  And, we’ll give voice to what we are passionate about.  


    Class Rule
    1. BE PRESENT.  (I mean present, as in “be present” not as in “don’t be ,” although that is very important.)

    What does it mean to be present?  Class Expectations

    • Each person in our class and any visitors to our class should feel comfortable saying what they believe, sharing what they know, and asking when they don’t.  Members of this community strive to contribute positively to the learning of others by being respectful, courteous, and enthusiastic—and will work to maintain a calm environment that supports our learning.

    • Come to class on time, ready to learn:  supplies PLUS an open mind.

    • Learn everybody’s name.  Help someone who needs it.  Find someone who can help you when you need it (i.e. when you’re absent).

    • Respect your classmates’ rights to defend their passions and to change their minds.

    • Take responsibility for your own learning.  Talk to me if you’re struggling with a part of the class.  Show up for all of your conferences.  Take care of the work you missed during an absence in a timely manner.  Demonstrate integrity; plagiarizing a paper or relying on sources such as Sparknotes is unacceptable (and can result in a zero on the assignment).  

    But what about the little details?  Absences, Tardiness, Cell Phones, etc.

    • Being here is important!  The third tardy in the course of a quarter will result in an after school detention. After an absence, you should make up work in a timely manner.  Check with a classmate about homework, but speaking with me, preferably before class, is necessary.  Students will be given one day for every missed, but if a student is present on the day an assignment is given, he/she should hand in the assignment when returning to class.  

    • Don’t skip class.  For real.  You cannot earn credit for work missed during an unexcused absence--but more importantly, you might miss an essential discussion or learning opportunity that you won’t be able to catch up from.  Plus...what else is better than English class :>).  

    • What about if I can’t get my homework in on time?  Things happen.  It might happen that you don’t have your homework in on time.  Every once in awhile, that’s not a big deal, especially if you let me know if advance.  Sometimes, though, the class will be counting on you to complete your portion of a project or to contribute to class; think about how you not having your homework affects others not just yourself.  If missing assignments are made up on in timely manner, and is still relevant to our work, you will not be penalized.  If, however, the homework assignment is part of a larger assignment, such as a peer workshop or finding a research article for class, you may earn a zero for that day’s assignment but will eligible to continue your work and continue the project.   

    • We’re here to read, write and think, and not to be on our phones….but of course sometimes it’s hard to resist...or you have a pretty good streak going.  Resist!  It’s okay to take a quick look or even to answer the sophomore who needs a ride to hockey practice.  It is not okay to be consumed by your phone.  I trust you to be smart about it.  Remember that we have a community of readers and writers in our room...it’s not okay to snap pictures of each other (or take selfies) and send them out while we are in class.  That is not being present here...it’s being present somewhere else.  

    • Keep in mind that we’re here to LEARN not to earn a grade.  Powerschool is a great resource, but it is not an “official” grade until your semester grade is recorded.  Don’t panic when a grade looks lower than you think it should be, and don’t sit back because your grade looks better than you thought.  Talk to me about discrepancies.  We’ll figure it out.

    • Your final exam score will represent 20% of your total grade.  The class is total points, not an average of quarter grades plus the final.  

    • Grading Scale:  A+=100-99%, A=98-94, A-=92-90, B+=89-88, B=87-83, B-=82-80, C+=79-78, C=77-73, C-=72-70         

    Now voyager, sail thou forth to seek and find…              Walt Whitman

Last Modified on August 31, 2017