• English IV 


    Tyler R.S. Kerstetter Email: tkerstetter@fsu.edu

    English Phone: Extension 3213

    Room: 3213 Office: 03-254

    Class website: https://www.fsus.school/site/Default.aspx?PageID=5930 

    Google Classroom Code: 

                1st Period: vgq7ybq

    3rd Period: zw4i3l5

    4th Period: bnllz3x

    6th Period: bw3olk3


    Description of Course/ Units of Study

    The purpose of this course is to improve your writing, critical thinking, and close reading skills.  To do so, we are going to concentrate on four different overarching topics. These topics were chosen because I believe they are pertinent to your life beyond the classroom. My goal in choosing these topics and the pieces of literature and poetry that we will cover in them is to help broaden your worldview and give you time to be introspective about the ways in which you interact with those around you. I want this class to be interactive as I believe learning is best when done together. As we engage these topics together, I will be learning alongside you. My hope is that you will teach me and your peers just as much (if not more) than I will be teaching. Your unique perspective on the material is invaluable and I look forward to hearing and reading your thoughts. 


    The topics we will cover this year are broken up by each quarter. We will begin the year exploring the ideas “Positive Social Change” and “Independence”. We will explore these topics by writing about our own identities through an “artifact” assignment and reading through The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,a mystery book following a neuro-divergent 15-year-old as he unravels the mystery of the death of a neighborhood dog. We will look at the ways in which the character interacts with the world and how society reacts to him. These themes of interaction with the world show up in other books we may cover throughout the year, such as A Visit from the Goon Squad and Brave New World. While we may not use those exact novels, the point is that there will be multiple repeating themes in our course and each piece we read can be connected back to prior pieces studied. So as we explore the other topics planned throughout the year (Truth, Subjectivity, Love, Loss, and Revenge), we will constantly reflect on the ones we covered earlier in the class. 


    I also believe that it is important for us to explore the lives and contexts of the authors we will be reading this year. If we do not understand the challenges faced by the authors of the works we are reading, we may miss important details within the texts. As such, we will be taking time during class to learn more about the life and times of most of the authors we will be interacting with. You cannot fully separate an author from their work.  Writing is not produced in some empty void where there is no interaction. Here is an example from a book we may read later in the year. Holden Caulfield, the main character from The Catcher in the Rye, never has a relationship or confrontation with his father.  Should it come as any surprise that J.D. Salinger, the author, had a horrible relationship with his father and felt like he could never stand up to him?  No, of course not.  The writer includes information from his own life (whether consciously or subconsciously).


    You will also have the opportunity to do a specific novel selection project.  I will give you more information on this later but keep in mind that you will become part of a small group that will read a novel together and your group will create the approach, assessment and activities that go along with learning about the novel you selected.


    Further, you will be maintaining a modified portfolio for the year.  The purpose of the portfolio will be to experiment with different writing styles and to discover your own voice.  The use of this portfolio will prove especially useful for your authors’ project, the SAT essay, college applications, etc.  More details on this portfolio will come.  Just keep in mind that you will have to produce one piece of polished writing per quarter from this portfolio.  You will also be responsible for providing many of the writing prompts and activities for this.

    Students in this class will strive to excel in:

    1. Civility.

    2. Responsibility.

    3. Academic and personal integrity.

    4. Organization.

    5. Critical thinking.

    6. Close reading.

    7. Reflection and discovery through the use of the portfolios

    8. Revision and drafting.

    9. Peer editing and commenting on student drafts.

    10. Develop flexibility in your own writing.

    11. Research.

    12. Etc.

    Class Materials


    Literature, The American Experience, Prentice Hall (short stories, poetry).

    On Writing, Bishop, Wendy (short stories in regards to writing).

    Novels and Plays:

    King Lear, Shakespeare, William

    Hamlet, Shakespeare, William.


    Brave New World, Huxley, Aldous.

    White Noise, DeLillo, Don. 


    Fahrenheit 451

    A Visit from the Goon Squad, Egan, Jennifer.

    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Haddon, Mark. 


    The Girl with All the Gifts, Carey, Mark. 

    The Picture of Dorian Gray, Wilde, Oscar.

    Small Group Novel Project (perhaps two books).


    I reserve the right to modify these selections at any time.


    Items to have for class:

    • Always bring paper, pens, and pencils!  We will be writing a lot and I will not be able to provide these things to you.

    • Hang on to every handout I give you.  The school has reduced the number of copies teachers can make.

    • I cannot make you another copy if you lose something.  It is your responsibility to get another from a fellow classmate.

    • If it is at all possible, purchase the texts that we use.  There is no easier way to take notes then right in your very own book!

    Items Needed for Class

    • 1 to 1 ½ inch binder to keep notes and handouts organized (or use of a bigger binder for a variety of classes, with a section marked off just for English)

    • College rule paper (loose leaf or use a notebook)

    • Blue or black pens/pencils

    • Students that like to mark in their texts as they read are more than welcome to purchase the books we will be reading at their local bookstore or online. Please do not purchase them too far in advance as our list is subject to change.

    • A computer or tablet with internet access and access to a writing technology, such as Word, Google Docs, or Notes.

    • Access to books through technology.

    • College ruled paper for note taking (or taking notes on the computer)

    • A folder in your school Google Docs for class in which to organize your submissions and assignments.

    Class Expectations

    FSUS students have a right to learn in a safe and respectful environment.  All students will be expected to adhere to attendance and behavior expectations in our FSUS Code of Conduct.  Please see our website for more information.   

    Class Policies, Rules and Procedures

    • Late work: Any work not turned in at the time it is due (with the exception of excused absences) is considered late. I am willing to work with students—just communicate with me.  I’m reasonable.

    • Work turned in after the due date will receive 50% of the total score earned by the student.  So, if you earned a 90% you will receive a 45% on the assignment.


    • Make-up Work: Students who are not in school miss important learning, including academic assignments and assessments. Our school make-up policy is designed to support students to make up the learning they missed, including all missed assignments and assessments, so that they do not fall behind academically.

    As per the FSUS Student Code of Conduct, students are responsible for collecting missed assignments on the day they return to school. Students will have two (2) school days, not including the day of return, for each excused class day they are absent to make up missed learning and assignments. Previously assigned work is due the day of return.  

    Work that is missing due to an unexcused absence is considered “late work.”

    Students that have received In-School Suspension, Out-of-School Suspension, or placed on Administrative Leave will be expected to work on assignments during the time of his/her absence.  The student and family will work with FSUS Administration and faculty on a case-by-case basis to make sure that the student is receiving all classwork and assignments. Deadlines for completion will be given on a case-by-case basis.

    • Grading: Students can log in to FOCUS to stay up-to-date on their performance in my class.  I will always let you know how much each assignment is worth.  The point total of the assignment will reflect the importance of the assignment.  Many different grading strategies will be used to serve all the differentiated learning styles and needs of students. There are a variety of grading categories I use: 

      • Formal Assessments (60%)

      • Informal Assessments/Homework (30%)

      • Other (this will include the Mentorship/Class Participation Grade) (10%)


    • Accommodations: Your success in this class is important to me. If there are circumstances that may affect your performance in this class, please let me know as soon as possible so that we may work together to develop strategies for adapting assignments to meet both your needs and the requirements of the course.   


    • General Rules:

      • Respect everyone (this means you too!).  Racial, ethnic, sexual, profane, or inappropriate slurs will not be tolerated.  Our classroom is now considered a safe-haven from hate and prejudice.  This includes the people in the room, people outside the room, and the characters we encounter in literature.

      • Be on time.  

      • Be prepared.  Bring all your materials EVERYDAY!

      • Please do not make food or drink an issue in the classroom.  If there is an issue, I will handle it on an individual basis.

      • If you come to class, it is YOUR JOB to give me your pass.  I will not ask for it.  You are unexcused unless you give me a note.

      • Do not make dress code an issue.  We are too busy to keep busting you for your poor choices. 

      • If you are caught plagiarizing, you will receive a zero for the assignment and be asked to do a rewrite.  If you choose not to do the rewrite, then you will receive a double zero.  If you choose to do the rewrite, then you can earn 50% of your grade back.  

        • I also reserve the right not to write you a letter of recommendation.  This may not sound like a big deal now, but I keep a record of students who have violated this policy.  Invariably, when they approach me as seniors to write them a letter, I do not. 

      • This list is not all-inclusive.  I reserve the right to modify or change any of these policies at any time without notice.

    Technology policy

    Cell Phones – They must be turned off and put away.  However, I allow students to charge their phones during class.  Please plug it in at the beginning of class and retrieve it at the end of class.


    I am not responsible for any lost or stolen technology devices.  I encourage you to put it away in a safe place.


    Students with accommodations requiring the use of their cellphone will be allowed to use it during class according to their accommodations. 


    You may not photograph, audio, or video record adults or students at any time without their express consent.