Chatsworth Charter High School

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Ryan Hyatt
Special Education Department
Fall 2017


Course Description


Syllabus for Expository English Reading and Writing Course


Ryan Hyatt

(818) 678-3400 x7076

Room F-39

Course Description: The goal of the Expository Reading and Writing Course (ERWC) is to prepare college-bound seniors for the literacy demands of higher education. Through a sequence of eight to ten rigorous instructional modules, students in this yearlong, rhetoric-based course develop advanced proficiency in expository, analytical, and argumentative reading and writing. The cornerstone of the course—the ERWC Assignment Template—presents a scaffolded process for helping students read, comprehend, and respond to nonfiction and literary texts. Modules also provide instruction in research methods and documentation conventions. Students will be expected to increase their awareness of the rhetorical strategies employed by authors and to apply those strategies to their own writing. They will read closely to examine the relationship between an author’s argument or theme and his or her audience and purpose; to analyze the impact of structural and rhetorical strategies; and to examine the social, political, and philosophical assumptions that underlie the text. By the end of the course, students will be expected to use this process independently when reading unfamiliar texts and writing in response to them.


Major Course Objectives:

Reading Rhetorically Outcomes

  • Analyze an author’s assumptions and appeals (e.g., ethos, pathos, and logos)
  • Analyze the extent to which the writer’s arguments anticipate and address reader concerns and counterclaims
  • Analyze the writer’s use of rhetorical devices and strategies
  • Understand key rhetorical concepts such as audience, purpose, context, and genre through analysis of texts

Writing Rhetorically Outcomes

  • Write a variety of text types for real audiences and purposes, making effective rhetorical choices in light of those audiences and purposes
  • Edit for clarity and for standard written English grammar, usage, and mechanics
  • Select words and phrases that express precise meaning concisely and effectively, taking into consideration the rhetorical purpose of the text
  • Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience

Listening and Speaking Rhetorically Outcomes

  • Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with peers
  • Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives; synthesize comments, claims, and evidence made on all sides of an issue; resolve contradictions when possible; identify and use rhetorical strategies in discussions; and determine what additional information or research is required to deepen the investigation or complete the task.
  • Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.
  • Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, effectively, and appropriately.

Habits of Mind Outcomes

  • Understand the collaborative and social aspects of writing processes
  • Adapt to new situations, expectations, demands, and disciplines
  • Learn to critique their own and others’ academic work
  • Reflect on their learning and on the processes that shape knowledge
  • Demonstrate the ability to be both open-minded and discerning
  • Establish routines that support advanced literacy practices
  • Challenge their own assumptions


Required Text: We will be working primarily from the ERWC Handbook. In addition, we will work occasionally from My Perspectives: British and World Literature.


Course Standards: This class will focus on the major California Common Core Standards for English Language Arts as they pertain to grade-level reading, writing, speaking and listening skills as they pertain to informational and literary texts. For more information about the California Common Core Standards for English Language Arts, please visit:


Units of Study: These are the 12 modules or units of study within the ERWC, of which 8-10 are to be completed by the end of the school year. The suggested order for the fall and spring semesters is as follows:

  • Module 1: What’s Next? Thinking About Life After High School
  • Module 2: Rhetoric of the Op-Ed Page
  • Module 3: Racial Profiling
  • Module 4: The Value of Life
  • Module 5: Good Food/Bad Food
  • Module 7: Bring a Text You Like to Class: Bridging Out-of-School and In-School Literacies
  • Module 8: Juvenile Justice
  • Module 9: Language, Gender, and Culture
  • Module 10: 1984
  • Module 11: Brave New World
  • Module 12: Bullying


Academic Vocabulary: In order to improve the learning and achievement of students in school and beyond, there will be a focus this year in the classroom on key words which students will become familiar with and use in an academic setting to further their English language development and critical thinking skills. These words are: analyze, cite, compare/contrast, elaborate, evaluate, illustrate, infer, justify, paraphrase, predict, summarize, synthesize. In addition, key terms to be learned and used related to grade-level rhetoric include claim, theme, thesis, argument, opinion, main idea, topic, supporting idea/detail, example, essay, persuade.


Course Guidelines:

  1. Be responsible – Arrive on time ready to learn with required class materials. Keep track of your assignments and turn them in when they are due.
  1. Be respectful – Practice “workplace suitable behavior” by showing respect for yourself and others.
  2. Be safe – Follow directions and use common sense.


Grading System: Tests, quizzes, classwork, homework, and cooperation are based on points. Each student has the opportunity to earn points through work productivity and participation. The points are inputted into a computer and are averaged across all assignments. The percentage value of the assignments is as follows:


Classwork/Participation=50%     Tests and Quizzes=30%        Homework=20%


Students who attend regularly, are respectful, and take part in lessons, discussions and group and individual assignments and turn them in on time will learn as much as possible, and it will reflect positively in their grade. Grades are also based on academic abilities according to IEP goals, teacher and staff’s observations, assessments, and student skills.


    • Due to the numerous off-task behaviors which can impact individual and student class learning, every student will have an automatic 25 participation points given to them at the beginning of each 5-week grading period that will be averaged into their cumulative grade, for a total of 100 points or approximately 10 class assignments, per semester. Points will be deducted from this participation grade, for example, when students are talking out of turn, not following directions, using their phones or headphones at unauthorized times, defiant or disrespectful toward teachers and classmates, etc.
  • Students have ample time to compete assignments in class. Therefore, late work will be accepted on a sliding scale up to two weeks after the date it is due for no grade higher than a “D.” After that time, late work will no longer be accepted, and the point value for the assignment will be counted as a “0.”
  • Homework is usually assigned when students neglect to finish class work or as special individual or group projects throughout the school year. However, independent reading will likely be regularly assigned due to the demands of the ERWC course.


Communication: Major assignments are posted online either through Google classroom, Schoology or on the teacher’s CCHS website:


Go to view the ‘staff list’, look for ‘Ryan Hyatt’, then click on your class subject and period.

  • Major class assignments are posted regularly along with due dates.
  • Subscribe to receive email updates of assignments, due dates, and new postings.


The best way for parents or students to contact me for any reason is by e-mail at You can also go to Mr. Hyatt’s page and click ‘send e-mail’.


Information about how parents will be able to access their student grades through the new Schoology system should be forthcoming.


Classroom Preparation/Organization: I have provided all students with a folder and notebook to use for classwork, the graded contents of which are to remain in my class until the end of each 5-week grading period. Please ensure your student is prepared for class with his or her own pens and & pencils.


Grading Scale in Percentages:





54% or below=F


Contact Information: If there are any questions or concerns about student grades, behavioral issues, class requirements or anything else, email is the best way to reach me at


I look forward to working with your student this school year!


Please sign and return to me acknowledging you have read and understood the syllabus, policies and expectations.

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