Course Goals and Expectations


2016-17                   CP ENGLISH  3       MR. WELDEN

 This semester we will explore American Literature from the 1600s to the 1900s.  Some of the reading is difficult, but I know that you are up to the challenge.  By the end, you’ll have a good sense of what’s happened so far in American literature, and hopefully, you’ll have experienced a couple of works that stay with you forever.

 A few of the featured authors: William Bradford and Jonathan Edwards (from the old Puritan gang),  Fredrick Douglas (“You pushed me too far, Mr. Covey!”), Arthur Miller (witch hangings—then and now), Thomas Paine (Mr. Age of Reason), Benjamin Franklin (the original self-help guru), Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau (that’s deep, man), Nathaniel Hawthorne (creepy stuff), Mark Twain (the original class clown), Tennessee Williams (Mr. Dysfunctional), James Thurber (“Yes, Dear!”), Robert Frost (darker than you’d expect), and e.e. cummings (“I don’t WANT to capitalize my name!”).  

Learning Goals:  By the end of the semester, I hope that you are much better at the following:

 Thinking:  We can feel overwhelmed these days with media, ideas, opinions, etc., and it’s hard to know what to believe. It’s important for us to be able to sort through it all by thinking critically and clearly.  The ultimate goal: develop the skills and confidence to think for yourself.

Reading: I want you to be able to read college or adult-level material, to “get it,” and to connect it to the outside world.  I also want you to find joy in reading a book of your choice.

Writing:  Of all the components of good writing, here is number one: express your ideas clearly and directly.  Put away the thesaurus!  Have good ideas and communicate them as clearly as possible.  I encourage you to take the lead by telling me what aspects of writing you want help with.

Speaking: This form of communication is as important as writing.  (We will do a major presentation toward the end of the semester.)  As with writing, good speaking is clear, direct communication of ideas.  For many of us, though, there is a more challenging goal—to enjoy it! (or to be slightly less traumatized by it?)  I hope to help you will all these.

 Here’s what you should bring to class:

•a notebook (I’m not particular about what kind, etc.), and writing utensil

•an open mind

•a positive attitude

•perseverance –don’t quit when faced with challenges or obstacles

•respect for others—especially your fellow students

•integrity—your work is yours, for example

•dependability—regular work habits and reliability are valuable traits

•engagement—be mentally involved


Grading:  Each assignment is given a point value.  Usually, the ratio works out to be

  • homework assignments and reading quizzes --25%

  • writing assignments --25%

  • unit tests --25% 

  • class participation and other things --25%

The final grade is computed in the usual way:  Quarter 1--40%,  Quarter 2--40%,  Final Exam--20%

If you’re absent, you’re responsible for getting lecture notes, assignments, etc. 

Late work:  Late assignments will sometimes be accepted--with a penalty (5 points per day). 

                            Late homework assignments will not be accepted, generally.


Lastly, please feel free to see me with any concerns or questions you have.  I’m a nice guy (most of the time)