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Survey of British Literature

Williston-Elko High School

~ Fall 2017 ~

Dr. John McElroy

Room 123

High School telephone: 803-266-3110
Email: jmcelroy@williston.k12.sc.us


Course Description

This course is a survey of British literature from the Anglo-Saxon period to the Post Modern period presented in chronological units. British literature is literature in the English language from the United Kingdom including Anglo-Saxon (Old English) literature. Through the careful study of various literary genres including poetry, prose, essay, and drama, students will refine their critical thinking and literary analysis skills as well as their understanding of the distinctive features of the British literary tradition. This course will meet daily for 90 days. Expectations will be similar to those of a college course.

Course Goals

Students will be able to…

  • explain the key features of each literary period,
  • analyze literature and identify the author’s rhetorical purpose and the strategies used to accomplish that purpose, recognizing that form is related to function, that meaningful fictional writing requires authors to choose the most effective voice and genre according to their purpose and audience,
  • understand effective writing (including fiction) conveys an argument,
  • apply their knowledge of grammar, sentence structure, and diction to use spoken and written language that reflects sophisticated use of standard English for academic settings,
  • participate in small and whole-group discussion and analysis of a text,
  • apply study and research skills necessary for academic success, including MLA style guide skills,
  • apply oral skills, listening skills, and presentation skills,
  • apply their knowledge of close reading by reading a text for literary analysis) as well as for information,
  • understand many of the themes revealed in texts, particularly those of literary merit, reveal insights into human nature and the human condition that because of this, these texts hold relevance today,
  • understand the use of Aristotelian appeals in creating or analyzing argumentative and persuasive texts.


Required Texts, Materials

Texts: see course and unit outline. We will use the British Literature text.

Materials: laptop or tablet; blue or black pens; loose-leaf paper; a notebook.


Daily Work / Instructional Methods

Daily work will consist of reading assignments, class discussion, and class activities. Assignments will not be accepted through email. All writing assignments must be word-processed according to MLA style guidelines.



Major Assignments

  1. Senior Portfolio: You will complete weekly assignments that comprise your senior portfolio. Completing these weekly assignments is your responsibility. If your assignment is not completed by 3pm Friday, you will receive a zero.
  2. Weekly Literary Terms/Grammar/ Weekly Greek/Latin Roots: Each week, you will be responsible for a list of Greek/Latin Roots and a list of 10 literary vocabulary terms. You will be given a list of these terms and expected to know both lists of terms for a weekly quiz.  

Classroom Policies

  1. Participation/ Student Conduct

It is expected that students will complete assignments by their due dates and actively participate in class activities and discussions. The quality of each student’s participation in class is affected by the quality of work outside of class.


Each student has an active responsibility to help foster a climate of intellectual stimulation, openness, and respect for diverse perspectives, questions, personal backgrounds, abilities, and experiences. We must be willing to listen to each other and thoughtfully consider other’s perspectives.


Ethical behavior is an essential component of learning and scholarship and a reflection of personal character. Students are expected to understand, and adhere to the district’s academic integrity policy: Academic dishonesty is defined as representing someone else’s work as your own.  Plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty. Plagiarism is defined as copying, in whole or in part, the words or ideas of another writer without properly and fully acknowledging the source.   


Students are expected to maintain academic integrity at all times with all assignments. The consequences for students who violate this policy may include a failing grade for the assignment, school disciplinary procedures, and a parent contact. If you have questions about what constitutes a violation of the academic integrity policy, or any other issue related to academic integrity, please ask your instructor.

  1. Attendance and Tardy Policies

Regular attendance and punctuality are expected. Absences in excess of 5 days may result in course failure. Excessive lateness may be calculated as an absence.


If you have an excused absence, you may make up classwork, tests, quizzes, and projects without penalty. It is the student’s responsibility to make arrangements with the instructor, but work must be completed and submitted within five (5) consecutive school days after the student’s return to school.  Late work will be accepted. However, it will receive a grade reduction for each day late. For example, the highest grade that an assignment may receive that is one day late is a B. Please contact me in advance of an assignment’s due date if you have an emergency. Electronic submissions of assignments are generally not accepted.


Discussions regarding missed assignments during class time distracts from the limited class time available. Students should seek an opportunity after class, during lunch, or after school to discuss grades or missed assignments. Generally, these outside-of-class times are also the best times to make up missed tests and quizzes.


Requests for extensions will be considered but not guaranteed. You will have the opportunity to submit edited versions of writing assignments within the established time constraints.

Students who arrive to class after the tardy bell may gain admittance with a pass from the office.


o    Please enter the classroom quietly.  

o    Give the tardy pass to teacher, then be seated and begin work immediately.

o    If you are unsure of the assignment, please raise your hand.


  1. Course Grading Policy

All assignments are due at the beginning of class and should be placed in class folders. It is your responsibility to place assignments in those folders. Tests and quizzes may occasionally be unannounced.


Individual assignments are weighted according to the following categories:

Classwork                                    20%

Homework/ Participation          10%

Tests/ Papers/Projects               40%

Senior Portfolio                           10%

Quizzes                                        20%

Total                                      100%

10-Point Grading Scale:

100 - 90 = A           89 – 80 = B                    79 – 70 = C              69 – 60 = D              59 and below = F


  1. Miscellaneous

Food and Drink:

Please enjoy food and snacks outside of class. Water bottles are acceptable. Please help keep our learning environment clean and bug-free.

Bathroom Passes:

Opportunities to leave the classroom will be limited to those times after the first 15 minutes and before the last 15 minutes of class time, and to those times when information is not being presented by teacher or students.



Please respect everyone’s right to hear announcements broadcast over the school public address or intercom system.


Cell phones:

Please be aware of the WEHS cell phone policy. Cell phones and other electronic devices may be confiscated. Parents, please make every effort to contact your student through the front office (803-266-8042) in order to avoid the distraction caused by calling or texting your student’s cell phone.



Schedule of Topics, Readings, and Assignments





Unit Topics/Assigned Readings



Weeks 1-2

Aug. 17-25

Aug 21 ½  Day

Unit 1: Anglo-Saxon Period (449 – 1066)

Reading: Beowulf, Sir Gawain


Weekly Literary terms

Weekly Greek and Latin Roots

Weeks 3-4

Aug. 28-Sept. 8

9/4 No School

Unit 2; Medieval Period (1066-1485)
Reading: Canterbury Tales; Pardoner’s Tale, Wife of Bath’s Tale


Weekly Literary terms

Weekly Greek and Latin Roots


Weeks 5-6

Sept. 11 -22


Unit 3: The Renaissance (1485-1625)

Reading: Shakespearean, Petrarchan, and Spenserian sonnets; Marlowe and Raleigh Poems


Weekly Literary terms

Weekly Greek and Latin Roots


Weeks 7-8

Sept. 25-Oct 6


Unit 4: Renaissance Drama (1485-1642)

Reading: William Shakespeare – MacBeth


Weekly Literary terms

Weekly Greek and Latin roots


Weeks 9-10

Oct. 9-20

10/19 45th Day


Unit 5: 17th Century /18th Century (1625–1798)

Reading: John Donne, Christopher Marlowe, Andrew Marvell, Jonathan Swift


Weekly Literary terms

Weekly Greek and Latin Roots


Weeks 11-12

Oct. 23-Nov. 3


Unit 6: British Romanticism (1798 – 1837)

Reading: William Wordsworth, William Blake, Samuel Coleridge, John Keats, Percy Shelley


Weekly Literary terms

Weekly Greek and Latin Roots


Weeks 13-14

Nov. 6-17

Thnksgivng 20-24


Unit 7: Victorian Period (1832 – 1901)

Reading: Robert Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Charles Dickens, Alfred Tennyson, Thomas Hardy


Weekly Literary terms

Weekly Greek and Latin Roots


Weeks 15-16

Nov. 27-Dec. 8


Unit 8: Modernism (1900 – 1945)

Reading: William Butler Yeats, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, D.H. Lawrence


Weekly Literary terms

Weekly Greek and Latin Roots


Week 17-18

Dec. 11-Jan 11

Break 12/20-1/3


Unit 9: Post Modernism 1946 – 2000
Reading: George Orwell, Dylan Thomas,

Margaret Atwood


Weekly Literary terms

Weekly Greek and Latin Roots


Disclaimer: The instructor reserves the right to make modifications to this syllabus. An updated version will be made available.


This a college preparatory class. It is your responsibility to know the material and the due dates. Tests and quizzes will not always be multiple-choice questions. Occasionally, they may be open-ended questions that require deeper thinking.

Dear Families of Williston-Elko High School Students:

I would like to welcome you and your student to my English class! This course will challenge your student, but with hard work and teamwork comes success. Every student can be successful if we -- students, families, and school faculty and staff -- work together as a community committed to our students’ academic success and personal growth. If you ever have questions or concerns throughout the school year, please contact me at jmcelroy@williston.k12.sc.us or by calling the high school office. My policy is to respond within 24 to 36 hours.

Please sign and return the form by August 21 to acknowledge you have reviewed the syllabus.
Dr. John McElroy

I  have read the course syllabus (English 4). I understand the course requirements and expectations, and I have been given the opportunity to ask questions.

___________________________________             _________________________________________

              Student Name (Print)                                                                  Student Signature


________________________________                  ______________________________________

Parent/Guardian Name                                                        Parent / Guardian Signature


Best Means to Contact Parent/ Guardian: ____________________________________________

Parent Comments/Questions/Concerns:_____________________________________________




Student Comments/Questions/Concerns:____________________________________________