Ms. Gokturk

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Sophomore English I


What is Sophomore English I?

Sophomore English I is a required tenth grade literature course.  The reading list spans thousands of years (beginning from Ancient Greece to the modern day), yet they share many of the common difficulties characters face when coming of age.  The bildungsroman genre (or “coming of age novel”) follows the story of a character who must find a voice, integrate with society (or disintegrate if he or she fails to integrate), and find his or her place in the adult world.  The psychological pressures the characters endure help shape them as attempt to find fulfillment, and how they succeed or fail in finding a suitable a place in a difficult world.


Core Questions

What internal conflicts and external conflicts do characters experience? ■  What does it mean to be a conformist, a non-conformist or a rebel?  ■  What are the gray areas? ■  What is an activist?  ■What is passivity?  ■  How does each of these roles benefit or destroy the individual? ■ Does the character have a positive or negative impact on his/her world?  ■ When should one rebel or conform?  ■When does rebellion become conformity? ■ When should one stand up for a noble cause? ■  What does it mean to “come of age”? ■ How is a character’s age important in understanding his/her mindset? ■   What societal pressures may oppress the individual?


Focus Skills

This semester, we will work to develop your skills in the following areas:

·         Discussion Skills: listening and building off others; addressing others in the class by name; eye contact; considering alternative viewpoints.

·         Reading Skills: working on becoming a more active reader by improving annotations skills; having reading goals per reading; finding evidence from texts.

·         Writing Skills: develop strong argument positions; address counterarguments; using evidence (direct quotes) with mastery; interpreting literary text; expressing how authors utilize literary devices to develop theme.

·         Common Core Regents Task Preparation: Synthesizing multiple sources to validate argument and address counterarguments.


Course Menu:

Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” (short story)

Kurt Vonneguts’s “Harrison Bergeron” (short story)

“The Hangman” (animation)

“The Monsters on Maple Street” (Twilight Zone episode 22)

Ursula Le Guin’s “Those Who Walk Away from Omelas”

Ancient Greek Theater (video and handout)

Sophocles’ Antigone (play)

Jean Anouilh’s Antigone (play) [time permitting]

Dead Poet’s Society (film)


J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye (novel)

“A Perfect Day for Bananafish” (short story)

Edward Scissorhands


The Perks of Being a Wallflower (summer reading)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (film) [time permitting]


William Golding’s The Lord of the Flies (novel)

The Stanford Prison Experiment (documentary)


Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely Tue Diary of a Part Time Indian (novel)

Smoke Signals (film) [time permitting]





Students interested in participating in the Honors Option will sign a contract committing to the full year project over two semesters.  Please ask me for my packet, which will outline the TWO novels and TWO film studies you will complete.  The project involves reading and submitting a one page, single spaced composition every Monday @ turnitin.


Class Grading:



When you are absent, it is your responsibility to find out what you missed.  You should use my website, contact a friend, check the door folder, and/or see me before our next class. 


Basic Class Rules:

  1. Be on time. Being late loses EC points!
  2. Be prepared. Having to leave to get books loses EC points!
  3. Have a positive attitude.
  4. No cell phones! Using phone in class impacts discussion/participation grade.



Extra Help:

Please email me if you need help with an assignment, miss a class.  You may schedule an appointment with me for help or see me 4-2 in the English Department.  The Writing Center is located in Room 212 and is open every day during 4-1 and 4-2 or by appointment.