Jorie Pesce » Learn about English 1

Learn about English 1

English 1 - Ms. Pesce & Ms. Huddleston

CPS Course Description: The International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (MYP) is a philosophy of teaching and an approach to instruction. Students in the MYP explore significant content, develop skills, and deepen conceptual understanding through their engagement with global contexts. Teachers will plan using the MYP objectives and assess using the MYP criteria. This course provides a focus on foundational skills for success in an English Language Arts classroom. Students will build their capacity in the following areas: comprehension, fluency, vocabulary development, word structure analysis, sentence structure and formal essay writing. Additionally, students will focus on becoming strong critical thinkers and communicators. 

Our Objective: Everything we read and discuss this year will revolve around the complex way in which the individual functions both on its own and as part of a larger group (i.e. family, society, culture, etc.). Our reading and writing will also focus on social justice issues and global topics. Students are expected to use Google Classroom and their own self-management skills to complete assignments on time. Students are also expected to communicate effectively with their teachers and classmates, and begin to use their voices to advocate for themselves and share opinions.  As an “IB for All school,” students will learn how to embody the IB Learner Profile traits and develop ATL work skills. Students will also explore global concepts in order to strengthen International Mindedness. 

IB Learner Expectations: As IB students, you are expected to grow and develop as global citizens, critical thinkers, and strong communicators. It is expected that you are challenging yourself to embody the following traits: inquirer, knowledgeable, thinker, communicator, caring, principled, open-minded, balanced, risk-taker, and reflective. In addition, it is required that you reflect and grow in the following skills: communication, thinking, social, self-management, and research


Bring the following to class each day….

  • Technology Needs
    • CPS email (ensure your cps username & password are working)
    • Tech device (chromebook, laptop, tablet, etc.)
      • Must be compatible w/ Google apps & other learning apps/sites
    • Wifi 

*Let us know if you need help with any of this! 

  • Pen/pencil - You will use a writing utensil every day.
  • 1-subject notebook - This is where you will record your notes, bellringers, exit slips and journal entries.
  • ½” or 1” binder OR folder - This is an organized way of keeping track of all your papers.  
  • Sticky Notes   - These will be used to annotate texts including books, articles, and stories.
  • Your brain - The most important thing you will learn is how to think for yourself. 
  • A positive & open attitude - Is the glass half empty or half full? You decide. Do you treat others the way you 

                 would like to be treated?

  • A willingness to share your ideas    - This class would not be the same without your unique insight. 

English 1 Mission Statement

The English I team believes wholeheartedly in every students’ ability to learn.  We nurture our students’ potential with teaching approaches that value accountability to equity, meaningful collaboration, engagement in purposeful work, global citizenship, and student voice.  Our “classrooms” are safe spaces that foster honorability and allow for students to take intellectual risks and make sense of the world.  We believe that being scholarly means we value progress over perfection and we celebrate all successes.  Above all, our supportive team seeks to use our varied experiences and strengths to uplift and equip students by creating a family atmosphere that emphasizes mutual growth, where everyone feels valued and included in the process.

General Classroom Expectations for all learning:

  • Follow all school rules, CPS policies, & the Viking Way - As a Viking, we expect you to be accountable, honorable, & scholarly. 
  • Respectful & Open-Minded Attitude - You are required to treat all students, teachers, staff members, and yourself with respect at all times. Please be aware that everyone has a story, and Amundsen’s beauty is the diversity of our student and staff population. While you may not always agree with each other, you will need to exercise patience, respect, and open-mindedness at all times. 
  • Attendance - You cannot learn if you do not come to class.  If you are absent, it is YOUR responsibility to check 

Student Portal, Google Classroom, and email me to notify me of/explain your absence, request missing assignments and ask any questions you may have. 

  • Tardy - Being late is not acceptable. Class starts as soon as the bell rings because we use every minute of our time 

together! Please make sure to find a route within the building that gets you to class on time and not “swept.”

  • Cell Phones - Do not use them in class, unless permission is given. Permission is given when the green light is on (this will be explained in class during the first week). This also means that you will not be charging your cell phone in the classroom or looking at it to check the time. Ms. Pesce will call you out when she sees inappropriate phone use. 

General Classroom Expectations 

  • Google Classroom - All assignments will be posted and submitted through Google Classroom. 
  • Independent Learner/Note-taking - This year you will be learning how to be an independent learner. You are expected to be prepared every day, communicate with me proactively when you have an issue, and use self-management skills to meet deadlines. This includes taking notes whenever Ms. Pesce, Ms. Huddleston, or a classmate introduces a new skill or idea. Research shows that note-taking (pen and paper) improves comprehension, and it is a skill used throughout the rest of your academic and professional career. 
  • All school rules are enforced in this classroom, including proper dress and wearing an ID at all times.


    • Passes - There is a universal pass that may be used for bathroom emergencies or office emergencies. Passes will not be issued during teacher-directed instruction. Again, if you are not in class, you are not able to learn. No passes will be issued in the first or last 10 minutes of class due to hall sweeping (10/10 Rule).
  • Seating - Classroom seating will vary from group, pair, row, and circle arrangements. You must sit in your assigned seat unless given permission. If there are any issues with seating (personal, academic, or medical), please email or speak with me and I will accommodate your needs. 

Times are tough, but so are you! 


*Tentative* Outline & Timeline of Units for English 1

Research shows that writing improves reading, and reading improves writing. We will attempt to spend an equal amount 

of time writing, reading, thinking, and discussing. As always, it is difficult to thoroughly explore every concept and skill, 

so sometimes homework or optional extension assignments will supplement what is done in class. To get the most

out of 9th grade, students must be willing to engage in daily lessons and be diligent about completing homework, 

as well as reading and writing for enjoyment outside of school. 




Culturally Responsive/ Supplemental Resources

8 weeks

Unit 1: ELA Foundations

  • SEL - Accountability/Being a Student
  • Analytical Annotations & Short Stories and Poetry
  • CEA
  • Grammar & Vocabulary
  • Various short stories

  • Adding Moth stories - LGBTQ+
  • Adding Asian & Asian American stories
  • Poets: Amanda Gorman, Tupac, Hughes, Rupi Kaur, Kobe, Angelou, Shane Koyczan

8 weeks

Unit 2: I’m Not Perfect Mexican Daughter

  • Analytical Annotations 
  • CEA
  • Literary Devices
  • I’m Not Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sanchez

Supportive Resources

4 weeks

Unit 3: Personal Narrative/Immigration Stories/This I Believe   

  • Grammar and Mechanics
  • Incorporating “Writer’s Toolbox”
  • Revising & Editing 
  • “This I Believe” student samples 
  • Immigration stories student samples 
  • Immigration Stories option for personal narrative
  • Parent/Family & Culture interviews
  • End of unit celebration of Culture & Family (invite families)

8 weeks

Unit 4: Shakespeare 

  • Poetry (Slam poetry, hip hop, etc)
  • Analytical Annotations
  • Macbeth
  • Romeo & Juliet 
  • Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • Much to Do About Nothing
  • If we read R&J again, we pair with texts that “celebrate modern, relevant love stories from diverse perspectives”

7 weeks

Unit 5: Argumentation

  • Claim, Warrant, evidence
  • Argumentation and Logic
  • Ethos, Pathos, Logos
  • LGBTQ+ topic
  • Police Reform
  • Immigration issues
  • Grading 
  • Padlet with culturally relevant sources & topics in a variety of multimedia forms (podcasts, articles, videos, TedTalks, images, political cartoons, graphs, etc)

5 weeks

Unit 6: Lit Circles

The books reflect various student backgrounds and/or interests in some way 

School-wide Grading Scale: 

You will be graded using  IB rubrics, which are on a scale of 8. However, your graded assignments will be calibrated to always fall 

into one of the following grade bands:


IB Rubric Score

What the grade represents in relationship to the course standards

A (100 – 90%)


Mastery: The student demonstrates an in-depth and thorough understanding of complex, targeted knowledge and skills for the course by completing advanced applications of course material.

B (89 – 80%)


Proficiency: The student demonstrates understanding of complex, targeted knowledge and skills for the course.

C (79 – 70%)


Developing/Progressing: The student demonstrates understanding of foundational knowledge and skills that support course learning, but is still working to demonstrate understanding of complex, targeted knowledge and skills. 

D (69 – 60%)


Beginning/Emerging: With help from the teacher, the student demonstrates understanding of foundational knowledge and skills that support course learning, but struggles when working independently.

F (below 59%)


Insufficient Evidence: Even with assistance from the teacher, the student cannot demonstrate understanding of knowledge and skills that support course learning. 

English 1 Grade Distribution: 

Formative  (35%)                                               

Summative & Final Exam   (45%)                                                            

ATL Skills    (20%)                                                          

Formative Tasks:

Homework, Socratic seminars, informal/formal discussions, conferencing with teacher, journal entries, google forms, entrance/exit tickets, drafts, re-writes, peer/self-assessments, informal presentations, in-class activities, etc.

Summative Assessments:

  • Standards-based tests and quizzes (common assessments, midterms, finals exams), performance-based assessments, final draft essays, summative presentations, etc.


Final Exams for Semester 1 & Semester 2


(thinks deeply & thoughtfully, takes risks in class, uses class time effectively, participates effectively and positively in class, willing to try new things)


(completes homework/class assignments on time (meets deadlines),  comes prepared to class, follows classroom norms/expectations, completes revisions when needed, uses reliable sources, is academically honest)


(cooperatives and has a respectful attitude towards others, responds positively to the ideas, opinions, and values of others)

Contact Information

Please remember, we are always here to help! 

Feel free to contact me at the email address listed below (this goes for parents too!). We are also very thorough Google Classroom updaters/sharers, so please use the resource to receive reminders, clarity, and support.  

Here is our contact information: 

Ms. Pesce, Email Address: [email protected] 

Ms. Huddleston, Email Address: [email protected]