What’s in Your Syllabus?

I have been thinking carefully about my own syllabus for my Senior English class this year after looking at those of other teachers. Some teachers’ syllabi run as long as six pages, which is a lot of paper. The question is what one wants to and can accomplish through such a document. I want to frame my course, offer up a sense of the menu for the year, without getting overly bogged down in policies and specifics which, if challenged in most cases, will not be resolved because my syllabus said I do or do not accept, do, or ban one thing or another. I also want my syllabus to model what I am trying to teach: communication that should be clear, correct, concise, and generally effective as a result of the design of the document.

I also want to use it to briefly introduce myself and cultivate some sense of what the course will be about and I will be expecting from them. I want to give the kids enough info to arouse interest without giving away the whole year. Think of it as a sort of curricular amuse bouche.

Here is my Senior English syllabus, which I sent them home with tonight and sent a digital copy to my students’ parents along with a note as follow up and a way to introduce myself.

One day down, all the rest to go. If they are all even half as good as the first day today, we are in for a great year.

2014 Senior English Syllabus



9 Responses to “What’s in Your Syllabus?”

  1. Mine is quite similar to yours, but I call mine “Course Expectations” instead of syllabus because I felt the lack of specificity in terms if future assignments made it somewhat un-syllabus like. Amuse bouche is a perfect way to describe it. Cheers to a good year!

  2. How long are devices in The Basket? Just till the end of the period? I am intrigued.

    • Till the end of the period. I was joking that we should line them up in the chalk tray and every time one buzzes put a hash mark above it and deduct that many points! Kidding of course, but makes for an amusing thought.

  3. I like this one a lot. But one small thing, you forgot a word in the Picasso quote.

  4. Is that for College Prep or AP? Just curious since it says CP at the top and AP at the bottom 🙂 That tends to happen to me between my different levels of classes.

    • Thanks so much, Kris. Had not noticed that. As you say, it’s a common mistake moving across forms and classes. Fixed it on the master but won’t worry about the sample. Hey, I’m busy planning for tomorrow!


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