If you invest your very best time and effort in this interdisciplinary course, you will gain literary and media literacy,
two extremely valuable tools for the 21st Century. You also will have also created an
enduring work of art of which you can be proud well beyond your high school years.
To read good literature is to examine the essence of what it is to be human.
Effective writers successfully sculpt ideas into words to produce good
literature, which when read carefully, will invariably evoke a response from
us. Because this class is comprised of different students with varied
backgrounds and experiences, each student's response to literature will be
unique. It is this unique response that is the entry point to
understanding, analyzing, synthesizing and appreciating both good literature
and your own life.
Until the turn of the last century, literacy primarily meant being able to
read and interpret writing. However, modern forms of communication are
themselves texts with their own grammars and codes
requiring a new form of literacy. Mass media such as
television, newspapers, radio and cinema pepper us daily with messages and
information more frequently and more powerfully than does traditional
literature. How can one become an active and critical reader of both types
of texts, literary and modern? What are the dangers in being a passive
consumer of the media? These are some of the questions this course will answer.
To this end, From Books to Films will require much of your ability to decode
and analyze (break into parts) the elements of film as well as traditional
literature. The media literacy you develop in this course is intended to
remain with you for the rest of your life. If you take an active interest in
developing the skills offered in Books to Films, you will soon find you
will be looking at books, television, advertising and, of course, cinema very
Some lenses of analysis through which you will learn to examine
literature, film, and life will include some of the following depending on
the class' needs:
Practicing these analytical methods throughout this course should serve you
well in college as they will equip you with the ability to interpret independently
literature, film and life.
As readers of texts, we will also write, for there exists no better way to
learn than to force ourselves to put into words the sometimes disconnected,
unintelligible and curious ruminations churning inside our minds.
Books to Films is designed for students who have previously
demonstrated above average competency in English Language Arts.
You will be required to demonstrate your understanding of the differences
between the literary structure of the novel and the cinematic structure of film.
Students will demonstrate their knowledge of the following skills: correct
structure and usage in writing critiques, comparative analysis and essays;
logical and analytical reasoning in discussing the literary works and their
film adaptations; and effective public speaking skills in presenting oral
Books to Films is designed to enhance and integrate your skills in
listening, note-taking, critical viewing, speaking, vocabulary acquisition,
active reading, researching, studying, writing and critical thinking. As
this is an honors course, students are responsible for all vocabulary in the
readings whether the words formally assigned or not.
Avoid beginning a novel "cold"-- independent research before and during reading is
expected (if the teacher is learning something from YOU during discussion, you are
meeting the expectations). While some creative writing and formal essay
assignments will be expected, your performance on analytical projects,
formalized objective tests and during class discussion will comprise the
bulk of your grade. One of the most important goals of this honors-level
course is to prepare you for college studies.
By taking this course, you are also accepting the responsibility of designing and
completing independent projects, the most important of which is a final film based
on a short story of your choice.
1. A spiral-bound notebook.
2. A pen or pencil.
3. A book for pleasure-reading. (You will have the first several minutes of class to read.)
4. Your school-issued laptop, charged and ready to go.
5. A sense of humor.
Special note: DO NOT keep your cellphone on your desk. Take it out of your pocket and store it in your backpack for the entire period.
In addition to your ongoing assignments, you are expected to read from the list below four
works, one novel every two to three weeks. The following list does not, of
course, include background sources you will consult independently and regularly to feed
your natural curiosity.
Our first class reading will be Richard Goodwin’s “Remembering the America: A Voice
from the Sixties,” which Robert Redford adapted to make his film, Quiz Show.
We will use this movie to train you in the basics of film production,
screenwriting, cinematography, and cultural analysis. Afterwards, the class will
read four additional works which have been adapted for film:
Literary Classic: One selection may be one of the following literary
classics adapted into a classic film.
Graphic Novel: One selection may be a graphic novel adapted into a film.
Possibilities may include the following:
Silent Film: One selection may be a novel adapted as a silent film.
Open Choice: If time permits, one selection will be from this list of 65 books made into films.
(Subject to final teacher approval.)
Your individual evaluation consists of three categories per quarter, each
with different percentage weights. The break-down is approximately as follows:
1. 70% Assessments: Long & Shorter Essays, Projects, Tests, Quizzes, Roundtables
2. 10% Homework Assignments
3. 20% Class Participation
Major assessments, such as longer essays, projects, and tests, are always converted to 100 points.
Other assessments, such as quizzes and roundtables are usually based on their total number of points.
For example, a quiz worth 25 points would be equivalent 25% of a test or project.
A round-table worth 50 points would count half as much as a test or project, etc.
Papers include critical analyses and a screenplay. Revisions, if
applicable, must be turned in no later than two days from the day your
composition is returned. Grades for late compositions will diminish by one
letter grade for each day they are late. Think ahead. If you believe you
are going to miss class for a legitimate reason, have someone take your work
to school for you. Plan ahead. Have a spare printer cartridge at the ready
at all times in case an assignment calls for a hard-copy submission..
Your having technical difficulties is not a legitimate excuse, so please do
not ask for additional time without penalty to complete a paper. Finally,
plan to finish your papers at least a day ahead of time to account for any
potential mishaps. Simply sharing an assignment in Google Docs on time is not sufficient
All essays must be uploaded BOTH to Turnitin and to Google Classroom to receive credit.
Projects which demonstrate collaborative problem-solving, solid teamwork,
ingenuity and analysis will be required. You will be provided with a list
of project suggestions, but it is up to your group to decide which format
will best serve as an instructional tool for the class. Grades for
projects late by one day will diminish by one letter grade. Because it
would be unfair to hinder the class progression on the course's timeline,
projects more than one day late will receive a zero and will not be presented.
Tests are designed to evaluate your ability to measure your independent
understanding of the novels. Tests demand recall of details from the
literature, so please read carefully and try to visualize the more salient details.
Avoid the temptation to use online study guides as they cannot provide you
with the same experience as reading the literature nor can they prepare you
sufficiently for the tests. Don't cheat yourself!
Homework primarily consists of keeping up with the reading, conducting
independent project research and collaborating with partners on all ongoing
projects. Specific overnight homework is sometimes assigned as well to
provide an opportunity for you to practice skills independently or to serve
as a springboard for class discussion. Specifically assigned homework will typically
be examined for overall thoroughness although it may not always be collected
or commented upon. You are encouraged to meet with the teacher regarding
any feedback you desire on your assignments. Homework must be fully
completed on time to receive credit-- late homework is unacceptable. Taking
light, independent reading notes while reading is always expected, whether
formally assigned or not.
Reading Notes will often also serve as a springboard for class discussion,
so keep track of areas of confusion and specific questions. If you purchase
your own copy of the novel, you should write in the margins; should you
choose to use the school's copy, secure a medium-sized three-ring binder and
loose-leaf paper for your reading notes (sticky notes are also
acceptable) or take notes in a Google Doc.
Participation includes taking an active and sincere part in class
discussions and lectures. You are expected to be critical and question
others' assertions but to do so respectfully and in the interest of academic
growth. Working effectively and efficiently in groups; listening well;
taking notes; allowing and encouraging others to speak freely; supporting
peers; and refraining from talking when a peer or I am speaking are also
valued heavily in determining your class participation grade. Having more
than one absence will begin detracting from your class participation grade.
Unexcused absences will not be tolerated and will devastate your class
participation grade. Be sure to communicate with me ahead of time if you
know you will not be in class.
Roundtables are student-run discussions lasting approximately 20-
30 minutes. You are graded on the quality and quantity of your
contributions during these discussions. Roundtables will be graded as a quiz.
In addition to your ongoing course assignments, you are expected to be working
on a performance-based assessment which will be assigned approximately
two to three weeks into the course.
Your final film group will write and videotape an adaptation of a
professionally published short story of your choice (it may be a short story
you have read previously). This fifteen-to- twenty-five-minute feature (quality
is more important than quantity) will require you to apply your knowledge of
cinematography and literature-to-film adaptation techniques learned in class.
Your film must also be polished and professional. You are responsible for
identifying camera and editing resources-- these will not be provided to you.
View previous student films and trailers here (scroll past the handouts).
Your group's film debut is scheduled for _____________. All students in this
class are expected to arrive one hour ahead of
time for set-up. Twenty percent of your grade will be based on
how well you promote your film. Invitations, a brochure and a movie poster
will be due before the premiere. Bringing creative snacks and food
pertaining to your film's theme are also an expectation (popcorn doesn't cut
it!). Finally, your group will field questions from the audience and
discuss the cinematic choices you made (e.g., why you chose the shots you
chose, why you used the editing techniques you did, etc.). This public speaking
experience will count as your common task for the course. A reminder:
EGHS attendance policy forbids you from attending after-school events on
any day you are absent. You are expected to be in school on the day
specified above or risk failing both your final exam and common task.
Extremely. Out of courtesy to your peers and deference to me, please arrive
to class before the bell rings, take your seat, and start your pleasure reading.
I understand that extenuating circumstances sometimes arise; however, if you are
leaving your previous class and are unsure whether you will be able to arrive to my class
on time, obtain a pass from your teacher just to be safe. I am happy to provide you with a pass to
your next period should you need one.
Also, please use the bathroom between classes. I resent interruptions due to poor
You have FIVE days to make up any missed test; failure to do so will result
in a zero for the missed test without your being reminded by me.
It is your responsibility to consult the Google Classroom or a peer for the night's homework
and handouts. Upon returning, see the teacher to schedule a make-up test
as soon as possible. If you are absent on the day your group is
scheduled to present a project, you will NOT
receive credit and will likely devastate your average. For your own sake,
be sure to note project presentation days carefully. Of course, extenuating
circumstances such as funerals and catastrophic illness will be handled
reasonably. However, please do not make any assumptions about timelines for
make-up work. The key is communication: If you are absent for any period
of time for a legitimate reason, contact a classmate immediately to obtain
the notes and assignment. If you are absent legitimately for a long period
of time, please contact me immediately so we can make alternative
You are expected to conduct routine research to feed your natural curiosity;
however, you must agree to refrain from consulting online
studyguides, such as SparkNotes and the like. It is acceptable and
encouraged to adopt and/or challenge literary critics' and classmates' ideas
when formulating your own beliefs about the novels, but you are responsible
for giving credit to others in discussions, written assignments and projects.
This should go without saying, but cheating and plagiarism in any form will
be dealt with harshly. If you do cheat or plagiarize material in this course,
I reserve the right to inform all teachers and guidance
counselors who are writing college recommendations for you of your
transgression. You will also be subject to a hearing before the school's
honor board. You must submit your essays to to Turnitin and to Google Classroom
to receive credit.
How will my final exam grade be determined?
Your final exam grade will be calculated by averaging the scores of the course exam
and course common task. Together, they count as 20 percent of the
final grade in this course and toward determining your graduation proficiency.
Please feel free to drop by my room unannounced if you have a quick question
or to arrange a meeting for extra help. I am typically available
Tuesdays after school, Wednesdays during advisory, and Thursdays after school
if you book an appointment before the end of the day using our Google Calendar.
If you are unclear about the course description, philosophy or expectations
or are having trouble with the reading, do not hesitate to schedule some
time with me immediately so we can work through it. Be sure not to wait
until the last minute, however.
I am always happy to meet with students who would like extra direction or
help. I consider seeking assistance the mark of a serious student, not a
Please ask questions if you do not understand a concept. Chances are if you
have a question, others do as well.
I am truly excited to work with you. Please know that if you invest in this
course, you will gain both media and literary literacy, two extremely
valuable tools for the 21st Century. You also will have also created an
enduring work of art of which you can be proud.
According to the EGHS Program of Studies,
"From Books to Films is an elective for students who have previously
demonstrated above average competency in a College and Career Preparatory or
Honors English course. The students will effectively demonstrate their
understanding of the differences between the literary structure of the novel
and the cinematic structure of the film. The students will demonstrate their
knowledge of the following skills: correct structure and usage in writing
research papers, critiques, comparative analyses and essays; logical and
analytical reasoning in discussing both the literary works and the film
adaptations; and proper public speaking skills in presenting oral reports.
The students, additionally, will accept the responsibility of completing
independent projects. The final exam requires students to write, produce, and
edit a cinematic adaptation of a short story."
How do I receive credit for having read this FAQ?