JH/HS English Language Arts Department
USD 240 English Language Arts Department
|Mr. Adam Helmer||Mrs. Kvacik||Mr. McDiffett||Mr. Scheef||Mr. Wagner|
|785-283-4774||785-488-3321||785-488-3321||785-488-3321 * 785-283-4774||785-488-3321|
|Tescott JH/HS||Bennington HS||Bennington JH/HS||Bennington HS and Tescott JH/HS||Bennington HS|
|Mr. Helmer's Lesson Plans||Mr. McDiffett's Lesson Plans||
|Mr. Wagner's Lesson Plans|
Get to know your teacher
|Adam Helmer graduated from Emporia State University in December of 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Education for Speech and Theatre. He spent a year teaching in Quinter, KS, where he taught Junior High English and Senior High Speech and Forensics, as well as acting as their Head Forensics Coach. In his off time, Adam likes to play guitar and sing, read, and play tabletop games with friends.||
Sylvia Kvacik is a 2002 graduate of Salina Central and a 2004 graduate of Hutchinson Community College with an associates degree in agricultural education. Additionally, Sylvia received her bachelor’s degree in English in secondary education from Kansas Wesleyan University. She is currently working toward her master’s degree in literature through Fort Hays State University. Outside of school, Sylvia enjoys singing and learning to play the guitar.
|I have taught classes from 7th grade through Adult Education in a career that began in 1985. My BA is from Kansas State, with a dual major in English and history, and my Masters degree is from Fort Hays State, in Liberal Studies. My primary hobbies are reading and photography, and I have had several photographic exhibitions in the area. I have taught in USD 240 since the 2000-01 school year.||Bill Scheef, language arts instructor and coach for 40 years. Graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1976. Mr. Scheef begins his 20th year as an educator at USD-240 where he has taught in the English-Language Arts Department.||An educator with 40 years of experience in the field of language arts, Wagner graduated from KU in 1976 with a degree in English and Philosophy. He attained a Master’s in English Composition and Literature in 1988 from Fort Hays and has been a featured speaker at a variety of conferences, including a 2015 TED talk at KU on environmental issues. In addition to teaching, Wagner operates an organically certified farm and raises longhorn cattle on grasslands by the Solomon River. He has published four books of poetry and performs as a singer/songwriter on occasion.|
What your student will learn in their english language arts class
Photography/Writing (currently taught only at BHS): This year-long course emphasizes the basic technical and compositional skills in photography, including the "Exposure Triangle" of shutter speed, aperture and ISO, along with exposure compensation, metering, and related skills. It then advances into compositional techniques such as the Rule of Thirds, Rule of Odds, depth of field, and so forth. Students take photos of a wide variety of subjects, from landscapes and portraits to light painting and abstract photos. Students also learn about the history of photography and influential photographers through quarterly projects shared with the class.
Course Title: Creative Writing (currently taught at BHS):
In Creative Writing class, students will learn to express themselves through a variety of written exercises. These include, but are not limited to poetry, short stories, drama, expository essays, and even cooperative assignments. Students will be encouraged to share their writing with peers. Peer editing will assist students in developing their abilities to proofread their own writing.
Course Title: Stories of our Rural Heritage I and II
Duration: 1 Semester Each
Credit: .5 Each
Course Objective: These courses will combine elements of those courses with an emphasis on exploring the concept of a regional and cultural setting through reading and writing. Students enrolling in these classes should be prepared to read a variety of genres and works and write stories and essays that deal with living outside the cities of America.
Course Title: Publications
Duration: 2 Semesters
Prerequisite: Completion of English 9 with a B or above and/ or consent of the instructor
Course Objective: This class is designed to feature student writing through a wide variety of journalistic articles, essays, stories, and editorials. Students will design, write, layout, and publish materials in a timely manner to promote school and community awareness of the academic environment in which we operate. Students coming into this class should have strong writing, editing, and proofreading skills and be independently motivated to design and produce quality products for the public.
Course Title: 7th Grade English
This course prepares students for high school Language Arts courses. Students will learn the basics of literary study, including elements of plot and character development. Formal essay writing is emphasized, with students writing essays based on materials read in class. Students learn to organize thoughts and support them with evidence from their reading. Finally, students gain experience expressing their thoughts before an audience with recitations of Shakespearean monologues and class discussions.
Course Title: 8th Grade English
This course builds on skills covered in 7th grade English, but with more challenging reading material and longer written assignments. Students who have shown an ability to write a well-organized formal essay will have more opportunity to do creative writing assignments, most often based on materials studied in class. Expectations are higher than in 7th grade for correct punctuation and grammar, supporting materials, and level of thought.
Course Title: 9th Grade English
English 1 provides the basic foundations for the language arts studies: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. This class is built upon the following areas: grammar, the writing process including creative writing, reading and understanding short stories, poetry, and more complex books that are on grade level. Students will develop a more thorough understanding of literary and figurative language skills, as well as increase their vocabulary.
Course Title: 10th Grade English
This course expands on previous English classes. Concepts such as grammar and syntax will be reinforced and polished. Students will study important works of literature, including, but not limited to: Shakespeare, American dramatists, poetry, novels, and nonfiction texts. Writing will also be emphasized in the form of daily writing prompts, literary analyses, original poetry, and oral presentations.
Course Title: 11th Grade English
This class will emphasize continued improvement in the areas of reading comprehension, literary analysis, and written communication skills. The study of American authors will be addressed through short stories, novels, and plays. Written communication will encompass expository essays, literary analysis, and creative writing. Separate studies in vocabulary and daily oral language will continue.
Course Title: 12 Grade English
This course expands on previous English classes. Concepts such as grammar and syntax will be reinforced and polished. Students will spend one semester studying fiction and one semester studying non-fiction. Students will study important works of literature, including, but not limited to: Shakespeare, American dramatists, poetry, novels, and nonfiction texts. Writing will also be emphasized in the form of daily writing prompts, literary analyses, and oral presentations. In the non-fiction semester, students will research colleges and careers and a non-fiction documentary. Students will write resumes, cover letters, thank you letters, and create presentations over research. They will also participate in a job shadowing day and subsequent presentation for their peers.
Course Title: Comp 101: Writing Strategies
Duration: 1 Semester
Prerequisite: There are three ways to gain access to this class: score a 21 or higher on the English portion of the ACT; or with an ACT score of 17-20, you can take an ASSET writing sample test from CCCC and score a 3; or if you have a 2.5 cumulative GPA, you can take the ASSET test from CCCC and score a minimum of 40.
Credit: 3 College Credit Hours/ 1 High School Credit
Course Objective: This concurrent course is an intensive writing lab that focuses on the form and content of essay writing. It utilizes various strategies of rhetorical writing, including research based writing. The process approach to writing will be taught and used for the major assignments. Revision is essential. The text will be determined by CCCC, supplemented by thought-provoking essays and writings from a variety of literary sources. This course is rigorous and demanding with frequent writing and reading assignments of significant literature that require thought and analysis. This course is designed to prepare students for college level academics. In addition to high school credit, students can enroll at the sponsoring college and pay tuition fees to receive three hours of college credit if they earn a final grade of C or above.
Course Title: Comp 102: Writing Arguments About Literature
Duration: 1 Semester
Prerequisite: Comp 1
Credit: 3 College Credit Hours/1 High School Credit
Course Objective: This concurrent course is designed to expose students to various types of literature and to develop strategies for understanding and evaluating different literary genres. Course content will range from the Shakespearean play to the modern short story and will include an examination of essays and poetry as well. Writing assignments are designed to enhance understanding of stories, themes, archetypes, and genres. Writing assignments include argumentation, literary essays, reading journals, researched essays, and other compositions.. This course is designed to prepare students for college level academics. In addition to high school credit, students can enroll at the sponsoring college and pay tuition fees to receive three hours of college credit if they earn a final grade of C or above.
Strategies for success
Students in the Language Arts Department will be successful if they learn basic and advanced constructs of language, including the ability to read critically for both information and enjoyment, to write in appropriate language for a variety of audiences, and to complete assignments and projects within timely and appropriate deadlines.
Know the standards