Sabrina Vircillo-Franke

IB Literature at City Honors School

Senior Class Syllabus

Here is the current year's syllabus for your class.

Course Description

International Baccalaureate (IB) Literature HL is a two-year required course at City Honors School. The coursework emphasizes critical literary analysis, as well as development of oral and written skills. Because the nature of the IB Literature HL program is a pre-college-level course akin to a Humanities course, students are provided the opportunity to explore open-ended literary and philosophical questions, particularly those related to the context of the works. Examples of essential questions directly related to the curriculum are “To what extent does man have control over his destiny?” and “How do we define the nature of man?” 


The four specific areas of instruction in IB Literature HL include:

  • Part One: Works in Translation
  • Part Two: Detailed Study
  • Part Three: Genre Study
  • Part Four: School’s Free Choice

Course Objectives

City Honors follows the Language A program at Higher Level (HL). As delineated by the International Baccalaurete Committee, the two-year program seeks to:

  • introduce students to a range of texts from different periods, styles and genres
  • develop in students the ability to engage in close, detailed analysis of individual texts and make relevant connections
  • develop the students’ powers of expression, both in oral and written communication
  • encourage students to recognize the importance of the contexts in which texts are written and received
  • encourage, through the study of texts, an appreciation of the different perspectives of people from other cultures, and how these perspectives construct meaning
  • encourage students to appreciate the formal, stylistic and aesthetic qualities of texts
  • promote in students an enjoyment of, and lifelong interest in, language and literature
  • develop in students an understanding of the techniques involved in literary criticism
  • develop the students’ ability to form independent literary judgments and to support those ideas

Major Parts in the IB Literature Program

Part Four: School’s Free Choice — Junior year, first semester
  • Area of study: Three works of literary merit chosen at the teacher’s/department’s discretion
  • IB Assessment: Individual Oral Presentation worth 15% of the overall IB Literature HL grade.
Part One: Works in Translation — Junior year, second semester
  • Area of study: Three works in translation
  • IB Assessment: Two assignments—a Reflective Statement of 300-400 words and Works in Translation essay of 1,200-1,500 words—that constitute 25% of the overall IB Literature HL grade.
Part Two: Detailed Study — Senior year, first semester
  • Area of study: Three works of different genres
  • IB Assessment: Individual Oral Commentary and Discussion worth 15% of the overall IB Literature HL grade.
Part Three: Genre Study — Senior year, second semester
  • Area of study: A group of works of the same genre.
  • IB Assessment: The final written examination in May of senior year consists of two parts—a comparative essay drawn from the works studied in Genre Study (25% of the overall IB Literature HL grade), and a critical commentary on a literary extract or poem not studied during the program (20% of the overall IB Literature grade). Thus, the final examination in May counts for 45% of the overall IB Literature HL grade.
Additional units
  • Literary terms review and application (ongoing)
  • Vocabulary (text-based)
  • Grammar/writing skills (as needed)
  • Additional text(s) (if time permits)

Assessments

IB Assessments

Assessments consist of both internal and external exams. As referenced above, they include an oral presentation, a formal oral commentary and discussion, one critical paper and two final written exams. Practice for IB assessments are built into the course of the school year.

In-class assessments

Include extended “take-home” papers, journal entries, collaborative presentations (small groups or partners), individual oral presentations and commentaries, quizzes, homework and class participation. Extended papers will have a higher weight than shorter, in-class assignments. Point values may range, given the scope of the assignment. Revisions are encouraged, sometimes mandatory. MLA citations and titles are required in all major take-home papers. Papers are to be formatted as per IB requirements.

Computation of quarter grades: papers and journal entries will count for approximately 50% of the grade; quizzes, oral presentations, homework, etc., will count for the remaining portion.

Class Participation

Class participation is an integral aspect of any literature course. Respectful and thoughtful interlocution creates an environment that brings many concepts to the fore and enriches the entire learning experience. Students may earn extra points toward their final quarter grades by being thoughtful and engaged participants.

Important Policies

Absence Policy

Students should see me the morning of return for missed work. Absence from school does NOT excuse students from responsibility of taking tests, submitting homework, etc.

Tardiness Policy

Students who are late to class without a valid pass will not be allowed entry.

Students, please note:
  • Cutting Class: Don’t do it! Ever!
  • Be prompt and prepared for class with all your material.
  • Any assigned “take-home” paper is to be typed (see above).
  • Plagiarism is NEVER an answer. Don’t take a chance — Consult me first.
  • Papers are to be submitted by the due date. A letter grade penalty will be given if a paper is more than one day late.
  • Avoid missing an assignment at all cost. Assignments are critical to learning and building skills.
  • Because IB Literature is designed as a college prep course, writing assignments will emphasize critical commentaries and comparative papers.
  • Reading assignments may be tested the day due (writing or objective assessment, and not always announced).
  • Homework will be checked at my discretion and counted toward each quarter average.
  • Important dates and deadlines will be posted in the classroom and on my web site.
  • Cell phones should not be seen, nor should they be heard in class.

Materials needed
  • One-inch, three-ring binder used exclusively for IB Literature HL
  • Composition notebook for dialectical journal
  • Assigned novels/plays (your own copy)
  • Highlighters
  • Pen/pencil
Extra help

I am available for extra help or for conferencing before/after school and during any of my unassigned periods. Simply check with me for a mutually convenient meeting time.

Major Works:  Seniors

Part 2 – Detailed Study (First semester)
  • Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  • Beloved
  • Poetry Unit

IB Assessment:

Individual Oral Commentary and Discussion (recorded) worth 15 percent of a student’s overall IB Literature grade.

Part Three – Genre Study (Second semester)
  • The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde*
  • A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
  • All My Sons by Arthur Miller
  • Equus by Peter Schaffer

* Subject to change.

Final IB Assessments:

The final written examination in May of senior year consists of two parts—a comparative essay drawn from the works studied in Genre Study (25% of the overall IB Literature grade), and a critical commentary on a literary extract or poem not studied during the program (20% of the overall IB Literature grade). Thus, the final examination in May counts for 45% of the overall IB Literature grade.

 Download a hard copy in pdf format.

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