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Syllabus 2017

International Baccalaureate English

Higher Level II Curriculum


Instructor: Casey Briskin/

Office Hours: Room 307: 7:30-8:00 and 3:00-4:00

I am available every day to help you with assignments or to answer any questions or concerns you have about the course. I am here for you.

Semester 1: We study Part 2 of the IB                                     Semester 2: We study Part 3 of the IB

Curriculum (detailed study) for the                                            Curriculum for exams in the spring.

   Interactive Oral Commentary (IOC)                                          Literary Genre:  Fiction and short story


King Lear

Wuthering Heights

The Turning


Poetry of Carol Ann Duffy

Slaughterhouse Five


The Handmaid’s Tale



King Lear by William Shakespeare

The Turning by Tim Winton

Poems of Carol Ann Duffy (handouts)

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood



All titles are available for checking out from the media center; however, you may want to consider buying books when possible in order to annotate your text.  Our first novel The Turning can be found online or at Magers & Quinn Booksellers at 3038 Hennepin Ave.


Course Description:

 IB 12 Higher Lever 2 English is designed to fulfill the requirements of the second year of International Baccalaureate English. Emphasis will be on critical reading and analysis of texts. This course will prepare students for their 20-minute oral exam and for their final IB written exams in the spring. This course will also prepare students for success at university and college. Students will learn to appreciate the craft and elements of literature, develop the ability to reflect critically on texts, and present literary analyses through both oral and written communication.


Course Goals and Learning Objectives:

Students will continue to develop their:                   

·              appreciation of language and literature

·              skills in literary criticism and academic writing

·              understanding of the formal, stylistic and aesthetic qualities of texts

·              participation in seminar discussion


Expectations and Policies:

Academic Honesty: Students must submit their own work. Plagiarism and cheating is not tolerated. Infractions will result in an automatic F on the assignment or the test with no option to rewrite, and a mandatory meeting will be scheduled with parents and the IB coordinator.


Assignments are expected on the due date.  Late papers will earn a maximum of 70%, and they will receive no written feedback. I require a hard copy. If you have a printing problem, e-mail the assignment both to me and to yourself the night before the paper is due, and then print the assignment at school.  I will not grade the e-mailed paper, but I will grade it once I have a hard copy. Please talk to me if you are ill or miss class due to an emergency.


Attendance:  Being prompt to class shows respect and courtesy to me and to your peers. Attendance is taken at the beginning of class.


Unexcused absences Students who are chronically absent will be invited to a conference attended by your parents, the IB coordinator, and me. The work from excused absences must be made up within 3 days of returning to school. If you skip class on a test day or when a paper is due, you will receive a zero on that assignment. If you are involved in school activities and will miss class, I expect you to drop your paper off before class or email it to me.  This includes student council meetings, blood drives, sports events, etc.


Electronic Devices are a distraction to class. NO PHONES IN CLASS. Please make sure they are turned off and placed in your pocket or backpack before you enter the classroom. Kindles and other devices used for e-books are allowed.


Participation and Behavior

This class is a participatory experience. We learn from each other, from in-class discussion and writing activities. Students are expected to be active, thoughtful participants, both as speakers and listeners. Please be prepared for class by reading the assigned pages the night before.  I expect students to be respectful of class time; students who are more loquacious may want to practice listening skills, and reticent students may need to practice speaking up and voicing their ideas more. Please be mindful of the community by allowing others to speak their opinion, and by respecting multiple viewpoints. Mutual respect is the key to building a strong community in the classroom.



Grades are awarded through points. Projects, tests and papers will be worth more points than in-class assignments and homework.


Here is a general outline of the year:

Units                                                                                                    Assessments

August 30– September 2                  

–Writing the college essay                                                   College essay


 Sept 5th-October 6                                                                                 Scenes/Promptbooks  with character analysis

King Lear


Oct 9-10

                  Poetry of Carol Ann Duffy                                                   Poetry commentaries 


December 11-15 Oral Prep                                                                    


December 14-18 Orals                                                        


January 8th- February 2 

                  Wuthering Heights                                                              Take Home essay


February 5-March 2      

                  Beloved                                                                               Take Home  essay


March 9 -March 29:

                   Slaughterhouse-Five                                        In-class essay


April 2 –April-20                                                                                 

The Handmaid’s Tale                                                           In-class essay

April 23-27                                                                        

                  Exam preparation         

April 30 –May 1                                                                                   IB English exams

May 2- May 30:  Creative Writing                                      Memoir/Poetry Project