• 11th Grade Language Arts

  • 12th Grade Language Arts

    Instructor: Lorelei OrtegaMs. Ortega

    North House - Room 1042



    In this class, students will practice their communication skills, as well as develop their critical thinking and analytical abilities. They will read a variety of texts and complete writing tasks designed to expand their repertoire in order to prepare them for real-world applications.



    - To develop students' competence as readers, writers, speakers, and listeners     

    - To read and analyze a variety of texts, from classic to contemporary 

    - To prepare students for higher-level literacy and heighten their overall communication skills so they may become successful in life


    1) Be respectful.

    Treat everyone with proper consideration, regardless of whether he/she is in the classroom at the time. Use respectful language, in writing as well as in discussions. Show respect for your environment by keeping the classrooms clean and neat.   

    2) Be responsible.

    Arrive to class on time and with all necessary materials. Complete assignments on time, ask questions when necessary, and stay aware of deadlines. Be prepared for the start of class each day. Do what is right, regardless of what everyone else in class is doing.   

    3) Be appropriate.

    Conduct yourself as a mature, well-mannered young adult. Think before speaking, and make sure all contributions to the class dialogue should be meaningful and pertinent. Take care of personal business when the time is appropriate. Use your privileges wisely. 

    4) Be involved.

    Participate to the fullest extent that you can. Stay awake. Take part in discussions. Ask questions. Answer questions. Stay on task. Take notes. Keep your head up. Do your homework. Use class time efficiently. Listen. Watch. Participate. 

    5) Be honest.

    Do your own work. Do not cheat, and do not plagiarize. Do not attempt to sneak around the rules. Avoid inventing excuses to cover up for your mistakes. Accept consequences for your mistakes, and learn from them.


    In compliance with the new Common Core standards, students will read expository texts and excerpts of longer works in order to address depth in text analysis. To fill a potential void in their reading variety, it becomes even more imperative for students to choose wisely their SSR books for the year.


    Throughout this course, students will need to build upon their knowledge of narrative, informative and persuasive writing styles and learn to incorporate clearly defined thesis statements, smooth transition sentences, and various organizational strategies into their writing. Students will adhere to a regimented, long-term schedule that requires them to upload pieces to turnitin.com and assess peer work.


    As per Wikipedia:  “The Harkness table refers to a style of teaching wherein students sit at a large, ovular table with their teachers. It encourages classes to be held in a discursive manner... [T]he method's name comes from the oil magnate and philanthropist Edward Harkness, a graduate of St. Paul's School (Concord, NH) who presented the school with a monetary gift in 1930. He described its use as follows:  What I have in mind is [a classroom] where [students] could sit around a table with a teacher who would talk with them and instruct them by a sort of tutorial or conference method, where [each student] would feel encouraged to speak up. This would be a real revolution in methods.”  

    Harkness is student-run, with very little teacher input given. Everything will be fair game – assigned homework, cold readings, blog assignments – and students will be assessed on the amount and/or quality of their participation.

    This plan is subject to change depending on time constraints.

    1st semester

    August - metacognition/literacy in the 21st century (various student-sourced articles)

    September - I-search/narrative/essential questions (Reader for College Writers)

    October - personal insight/heroes and superheroes (Beowulf)

    November - 7 deadly sins (Canterbury Tales Prologue)

    December - Elizabethan literature (Shakespeare sonnets/Macbeth) 

    2nd semester

    January - empathy/the human condition (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) 

    February - different types of writing/satire (A Modest Proposal) 

    March - social norms (Pride and Prejudice)

    April - poetry (Louder than a Bomb/Romantic poems)

    May - Symposium prep



    The class blog is important only because any and all handouts and resources will be archived here. Access the working list here: 


    The House blogs are infinitely more important. Please bookmark your respective House blog and check it every day. Blog assignments and scribe entries will be posted here. The URLs are as follows:







    Project - 25%

    Classwork - 25%

    HW - 25% (blog assignment creation, etc.)

    Tests/quizzes - 20%

    Participation - 5% (SSR, SSW, blog assignment responses, etc.)


        * All assignments, unless otherwise specified, must be word processed using 10-12 point, Times New Roman font, 1.5 or double spaced.

        * Copying, cheating, or plagiarizing are grounds for failing the assignment.

        * In order to receive full credit on all assignments, students must turn in their work on the designated due date. The 11th grade team does not accept any late work.

        * Make-up work for daily class/homework is allowed for excused absences and must be turned in on the next class meeting after the student’s return.

        * Long-term assignments must be turned in on the day they are due – regardless of excused absence – or an automatic F will be given.

        * Revisions for any work (project components, formal essays, etc.) will be allowed only for work that has received a D or lower.


    1) Composition notebook

    2) Your book/readings/SSR choice

    3) Pencil or pen (black or blue ink)

    4) Lined paper (college-ruled preferred)

    5) Crayons, colored pencils and/or markers

    OPTIONAL BUT HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: A student planner – to help you keep track of homework assignments and upcoming projects  


    You must submit all assignments on time to be eligible for full credit.

    A=90% - 99%         B=80% - 89%         C=70% - 79%         D=60% - 69%       F=0%-59%


    I will be at school each day between 7:45am – 2:55pm. You will either find me in Room 2008 or in one of the other 12th grade teachers’ classrooms. For individual academic concerns, an appointment is required. A conference sign-up sheet is available in my room. Available appointment times are as follows:

    •     Tuesdays and Thursdays – 2pm-2:55pm
    •     Wednesdays – 1:30pm-2:55pm
    •     Mondays and Fridays – no office hours

    I usually respond within 48 hours of receiving your email and it is perhaps the fastest and most efficacious way of communicating with me; phone calls can be a hit or miss depending on the time of day. 

    Email: edwards_maricel@ipolyhighschool.org


    • Tissue boxes (Puffs w/lotion)
    • EXPO markers in different colors (except yellow)
    • Clorox/Lysol wipes
    • Hand sanitizer