Literature & Composition 1: Course Expectations & Description




Literature and Composition I

Mrs. Chelsea Baum  –

Course Website:

Course Description

The purpose of this course is to help you to become a more effective reader and writer. We work on these skills through a study of literature from a variety of genres, time periods, and places. We will closely examine the elements of storytelling, and delve deeper into how perspective influences content. We will examine the ways genre, structure, syntax, and word choice define and redefine texts.


Major works include: Romeo and Juliet, Oedipus Rex, and In the Time of the Butterflies as well as a variety of short stories, essays, myths, and poems. Students will have the opportunity to write in a variety of styles, but this course will focus on writing expository essays and analytical writing. You will learn how to craft a strong argument, generate a compelling thesis statement, and support your claims with well organized evidence. To be a successful student in this class, you must understand that a piece of writing is never finished. Your writing can always improve, and it is in that idea that we will revise our work throughout the year. Additionally, to help you improve your reading and writing skills, we will be studying grammar and vocabulary, too. 


Now, before we go on to academic expectations and how to be organized for this course, let’s review some tips for success:


  1. There are two secrets to success in my class – a positive attitude and thorough homework completion. “You can always behave well.”


  1. Students are to arrive on time (or early) for class, and be prepared to work. I work hard to be enthusiastic and prepared for class. You will respect the precious minutes we have together in class. Packing up early is discouraged.


  1. Everyone participates in our class. Everyone will collaborate with every other student in the class at least once. You are expected to treat others how you would like to be treated – if not a bit better!


  1. My grammar gripes will play a major role in how writing is assessed. For example, ask your student about my stance on “me and..” I am demanding but fair – with everything except “me and…”


  1. There are vocab quizzes nearly every week. Study hard & learn them in context and you’ll be just fine.


  1. Students will be kept on their toes. Pop-quizzes will happen.


  1. I’d love to talk you more. Knowing you well helps me to teach better. Email me and keep me in the loop – especially if it affects school performance.


  1. When you’re on, you’re on – When you’re off, you’re off. Disconnect, move away, or silence your electronic devices while you work. Focus on the task at hand, without a friend’s status update interrupting your education. Once you’ve worked a bit, then go and check up on all the latest news. Your grade will benefit greatly from this. You can set timers for yourself or reward yourself with 10 minutes of social time in between. 


Back to the nitty gritty:


Academic Expectations

This class will be guided by the following school-wide academic expectations.

–       Write clearly and effectively, producting work that is informative, well organized, and appropriate to its purpose.

–       Read and comprehend varied materials and be able to interpret and apply knowledge from reading.

–       Listen actively and respond to communications through inquiry, discussion, writing, and various forms of art.

Classroom Expectations

You must come to class ready to learn. We will create a special, nurturing, creative, collaborative environment. You are an integral part and your patience, good humor, kindness, and focus on our studies will make that possible. You will respect others, our space, and time.


Preparation & Organization

You need to be in your seat, quiet, and ready to work by the second bell. It is true that this is a big campus and it can be hard to get around, but if you make it a priority you will be just fine.

–       If you are significantly late after the second bell and my door is closed then you will make up the amount of minutes late at the end of the day with me in my classroom. If you are tardy more than three times I will call home. Your lateness or promptness can change your class participation grade.

Every day you need to bring:

–       An English folder or section in a binder.

–       A planner for assignments

–       Last night’s homework

–       A pen or pencil.

–       Post-its.

–       A composition book to be kept in the classroom as a journal.



All LHS 9th graders are expected to complete four major pieces of writing each quarter. Basically, you will constantly be preparing for, creating drafts, writing, proofreadings, editing, and rewriting. Most of these assignments will be submitting electronically for their final drafts. I expect you to share your writing with your parents, and I expect you to collaborate well during our peer-editing sessions.



 I am a stickler about handing things in on time or “meeting your deadline.” All major assignments will lose one letter grade for every day they are late. Homework must be completed on time, it will lose points and value for each day that it is late. It will greatly change your grade if you neglect to do your homework and never make it up. Staying on top of your homework is crucial to being able to participate fully in class. I will check it often, but I might not check it every day, so it is best to always be ready to submit it.




If you are absent, it is your responsibility to find me, find out what you missed, and ask questions to get back on track. You are in charge of staying on top of your work load, not me. I will be kind and caring about absences, but please never use it as an excuse. There are many ways to stay on top of our class work even if you are out – 1. Check my website every day & plan ahead.   2. Have a class buddy & be able to reach them to find out what you missed. It could be a classmate who lives on your street, a friend, or someone you can trust to help you.



You will receive A-F grades for all major assignments. All essays and projects will be assigned with a rubric. You will be graded on the standards set forth in those rubrics. You will always know why you received a certain grade. I will often say that you should know your grade – and I mean that you should be keeping track of what marks you receive so that you have a ballpark as to where you stand. Once you receive a graded assignment, I request that you wait 24 hours to make an appointment with me to talk about the grade.



Every moment is a chance to turn it all around. If you find yourself slipping, and you want to improve, I suggest that you make a meeting with me and we can create a plan to find out what is hurting your grade and performance and figure out how to bring out your best. Don’t wait till the end of the quarter or after a vacation to turn over a new leaf. It is my goal to bring out your best, so please let me help you if I can!



 I am always available by email. Please contact me if you have questions or if you feel there is something I should know about your child. If you would like to come in and meet with me, I request that we meet between 2:25-3 pm in my classroom, if possible. I will give you that full time slot should you need it, and I usually request that you bring your son or daughter with you. We are in this together, and I look forward to meeting you!


Parents: Please copy the information below in an email to me at I will then keep that email on file for you.


I, (student name)________________________, have read the course expectations and understand that I will be help responsible for upholding the course expectations.


I, (parent(s) name(s))_____________________________, have read the course expectations and can be reached by:






Student Digital Signature:


Parent Digital Signature:



Please tell me one thing you would like me to know about your child.






Mrs. Baum



p.s. If you wouldn’t mind: I would love to have more tissues and hand sanitizer (alcohol-free preferred) in our classrooms for the cold/flu/germy season. If you have a chance to donate some to our classroom it would be much appreciated! We all benefit from staying well!