Ms. Gokturk

Ms. G’s Calendar:


Writing for the 21st Century:

Making Our Future Better

What is Writing for the 21st Century?

What will the 21st bring? What things are we as individuals, communities, nations doing to promote a better future? What are doing that might cause problems for our collective future? These are some of the core questions this course will ask you to consider, through literature, current events, and research.

The course is broken into three parts:

PART I.  Literature: Defining Our Own Philosophy. We will read Albert Camus’ The Stranger and “The Misunderstanding” to start us thinking about philosophy and read some good literature.

PART II. This part of the course will examine issues that trouble our world today. You will open your eyes to personal, local, and national or worldwide issues that concern you. You will choose a long work of writing to read outside of class that focuses on your interest.


PART III. Once you have thought about the issues, you will rethink the problems and come up with solutions using various techniques to be heard. This will include: writing a play, creating a website, delivering a  speech using PowerPoint, putting together a research paper, writing a children’s book, and various Public Relations writing such as pamphlets, newsletters, and flyers.


So, the goal of the course is small. The purpose of this course is to make the world a better place! All in 20 weeks!

A Cause Based Class.

Some of the issues to be discussed might include: tolerance, terrorism, peace, women’s rights, bullying, stress, cheating, health issues, abuse, gay rights, gun control, and keeping the earth safe and clean for our future.




What is the purpose of this course?

You will have the opportunity to experience a little dash of everything: literature, current events, and personal reflection. There should be something in this course for everyone.

As a writing course, our “English Class” goal is to become a better writer; however, this class also strives to get you to understand your voice is effective, you do matter, and you can make other people listen. The world can only get better if you as an individual take part in it.


Some Course Basics. We will structure the course around as many of the following that tine permits.


Albert Camus’ The Stranger

o        What is Meursault’s problem?


The Misunderstanding

o        What flaws do people have?


Defining Problems

o        Introduction to Causes and Conflicts

o        Keeping a Clip File

o        Keeping a Social Issues Journal


Identifying Model Activist: Regular People

o        Gandhi

o        Child Activists

o        Erin Brockavitch excerpts



o        Writing a Project Proposal

o        Background Research Paper

o        Outside Reading


Getting Heard Using Empathy in the Arts

o        Play Unit (“Hey Little Walter”)

o        Writing a Children’s Book

o        Writing a song or poem


Mass Communications: Executing a Solution

o        Creating and Conducting Surveys

o        Writing an Op-Ed

o        Power Point Presentation

o        Creating a Web Site

o        PR Writing (letters to editors/politicians/organizations, creating flyers, pamphlets, etc.)


Figuring Out Where to Go From Here

o        Reflective Essay



BE PREPARED. Every day, you will need to bring the notebook you were given, a folder for the many handouts you will receive, a writing utensil, and any work in progress must be available in class, both as a hard copy and as an electronic version. All work in progress must be printed BEFORE the start of class. Generally, your hard copy is handed in at the start of class and you work on the electronic version during class.

Please be sure to be prepared every day. You will lose points from your class work/homework grade if you are unprepared.

Other requirements include: a portfolio (online or hard copy) assessed at the end of the semester, consistent attendance, punctuality, keeping a thorough and well-organized notebook [see notebook rubric], completion of all class readings and homework assignments, completion of at least one outside reading and reading portfolio, a positive contribution as a classroom community member, a positive attitude, and completion of all writing projects.



Grading Rationale*


25%=homework/class work

20%=class behavior: participation, discussion, punctuality, preparedness, attentiveness to tasks



**There may be opportunities for extra credit. Extra Credit will be given to any student who does something out of class towards their cause. This could add a substantial amount to your grade!


PROJECTS (35%). A bulk of your grade comes from your projects/writing. Projects are generally long-term writing and/or research assignments, which require continuous work. Your notebook will also be collected once a term for a project grade. You will also create a website that will serve as an online portfolio for your work. Portfolios will be assessed at the end of the semester.

Late projects will lose five points a day. Projects handed in two weeks beyond the due date will not receive more than 50 points. Be sure to prioritize maintaining deadlines! Please be aware that pieces of your project will be collected and will count towards the homework and class work grade, as well as preparedness grade. Final draft essays receive a project grade; papers receiving less than 90% may be revised. This revision is optional. Deadlines for revisions are one week from the date the essay was returned.

HOMEWORK & CLASS WORK (25%). Because is this a “work in progress class,” there are times that class work and homework blur into one another. Class work not completed in class becomes homework, but a genuine effort is expected during class (and will receive a grade fro work completed during class time).Homework will be due the class session after it was assigned unless otherwise noted. Late homework will either not be accepted or will lose points. [Please see policy on HW for absences.] Homework and class work will be graded on a "point" system; each assignment will be worth 5, 10, 20 or more points. Class work, also graded on a number system, constitutes a number of things. Every day, you are expected to be working on certain tasks (discussion, writing, group work, etc.) during class time. You will receive a class work grade daily. This is based on effort and completion.

CLASS BEHAVIOR (20%). Your class behavior covers a lot of ground. It includes discussion and questioning, listening attentively, punctuality, enthusiasm, attitudes towards others, focus on task, adding to the learning community, and note taking.


You will receive a discussion grade within this category. Because this is a learning place, your ideas, questions, and overall input are necessary to the health of the class. You will be given a discussion grade (1-4 points) for selected class sessions. This grade is non-negotiable and is based on the Discussion Rubric.


QUIZZES (20%). You will receive reading quizzes whenever there was a reading assignment. This usually in lieu of a written homework assignment.




In and Out of the Class Policies: Absences, Bathroom Use, and Other Needs

Everybody gets sick or needs to miss school for a family reason every now and then. Any excused absences, as per school policy, require that you make up not only the work, but also the time missed. Please see me to schedule make up time. Generally, this will mean completing the work the rest of the class did while you gone and/or a supplementary assignment.

If you are absent, it is your responsibility to find out what you’ve missed before you arrive to class. Check the website ( and complete whatever is possible. Or, get a phone number from a classmate, call them. Make absolutely certain to complete any journal entries and get the class notes.  You also have the luxury of having a teacher who does her planning on an online calendar, which details all your assignments, due dates, and provides 99% of your handouts. THEREFORE: please understand that "I was absent the day you assigned that" is not a valid excuse. If you are absent on a peer edit day, you are still required to peer edit two other students’ work and have your work peer edited by two other students.

For absences of three or fewer days, work is due the day after you return to school. For longer absences, we will make special arrangements. After you have spoken to a reliable classmate and checked, you can email me with questions ( but do not rely on this as your primary resource as I may not check my email every day. You may also see me during your free time.


Class time is very important. You are expected to be on time and attend class consistently. Nevertheless, you may occasionally have needs that require you to leave class. As you are a responsible young adult, you should take care of your needs BEFORE or AFTER class. In order to motivate you to not leave the class during my time, I am providing with you with five out-of-room passes per marking period. Should you decide to use them, let me know and I will sign you out for that date; however, if you do not use them, they are worth 5 points each, to be averaged into your project average. This is quite substantial! Therefore, take care of your needs before class! Latecomers to class will also lose a pass. After being tardy three times you will receive one hour of tank time.


This course will be what you make it; it is only dull if you are. This course is really about you. You will write about your passion, your conviction, and you will pursue your own interests for the research. You are the main subject because it’s true, one person can make a difference. Really.


 A final thought: let’s make this a fun and productive semester! Don’t wait until it’s too late to get help. I am available for extra help, so please make an appointment.    

                                                                                            --Ms. G