Branford High School's English 10 Honors Option

Branford High School ·185 E. Main Street · Branford, CT · 06405


The Branford High School English 10 curriculum is designed to challenge all students. An Honors Option exists for those students seeking to explore the course concepts and skills in greater depth or breadth. Students who earn the honors distinction in English 10 are expected to meet and exceed the expectations for the standard curriculum in the course, and they must show evidence of extended learning in the subject matter. To this end, honors-level students in English 10 should be able to demonstrate capabilities through more thoughtful literature responses, extended literary analysis, deeper textual connections, self-motivated learning habits, and regular reflective pieces.

Expectations and Requirements

English teachers will provide clear expectations for the honors distinction through the use of a rubric, which spells out the requirements for the honors portfolio. In addition, information will be provided to help guide students on how they can clearly demonstrate their learning in these areas. In order to achieve an honors distinction in English 10, a student must
§ Satisfactorily complete all coursework assigned in English 10
§ Earn at least a B for the course
§ Complete at least five honors-level reading and writing extension assignments over the course of the year
§ Show evidence of extended learning through their papers and classroom discussions
§ Complete a reflective mid-year portfolio exhibiting evidence of your honors level work
§ Complete an extended vocabulary component and application
§ Exhibit evidence of insightful literature analysis and connections in writing and classroom discussions
§ Show evidence of self-motivated learning habits and responsible behavior

Grading policy

All students in English 10 will be graded according to the same standards and expectations for the course as outlined in the school's program of studies. Honors students are expected to achieve a grade of at least a B for the course. They will earn the honors distinction through a successful completion of all components of the honors portfolio.


To complete the English 10 honors option, a student must show evidence of understanding and mastery in the required concepts and skills as outlined above. Students will be assessed by their teacher on each honors assignment. In addition, at the mid-year students will compile evidence of their honors level work in a portfolio, which will be asssessed by their teacher and other English teachers.

Final assessments and the awarding of honors credit will occur at the end of the year upon successful completion of a final portfolio.

Units of study

The Essential Questions guiding the English 10 curriculum are as follows:
  1. How does the literature we read help us better understand the complexities of our world and our place in it?
  2. What does it take for someone to "come of age" and be ready to assume the responsibilities of adulthood?
  3. How do our surroundings and upbringing help influence the kind of people we become?

During the year, students in English 10 will be exposed to several common literary experiences. Each English 10 class will cover five common units of study, which will be broken down thematically. Each unit contains a so-called anchor text, but also include related readings to provide opportunities for extension and deeper understanding. During a unit exploring several thematically-connected short stories, students will read several stories independently and include one or more of them in a compare/contrast essay. The unit on Shakespearean Comedy will focus on The Taming of the Shrew and will include an examination of literary criticism of the plays. The Coming of Age unit will focus on the novel A Separate Peace and draw connections to the summer reading novel The Kite Runner. The Utopia/Dystopia unit will include readings of the novels 1984 and Fahrenheit 451. The final unit, Alienation & Isolation will revolve around the gothic novel Frankenstein and include an interdisciplinary component linking the novel and a modern issue in science and/or sociology. Each class may complete these units at different times of the year.

The Honors Portfolio

Required contents
How will it be assessed?
Due date
Letter of intent signed by student, parent, and teacher
By first progress grades
Summer reading assignment
Note-taking sheet, in-class essay
First week of class
Dialectical notes assignment for short stories
Completion, rubric
End of first quarter
In depth compare/contrast essay using several different short stories
As in-class grade and part of portfolio

In depth literary analysis essay comparing A Separate Peace and The Kite Runner
As in-class grade and part of portfolio

In depth comparison essay exploring different visions of futures and dystopias
As in-class grade and part of portfolio

Essay on science/sociology issue and essay connecting it to Frankenstein
As in-class grade and part of portfolio

Discussion of literary criticism of a Shakespearean comedy
As in-class grade and part of portfolio

Mid-year reflective essay
As part of portfolio with rubric
End of second quarter
Completed vocabulary study (click here for list of words)
pre-test, midterm, final in SAT format
End of fourth quarter


Entering the class, students interested in pursuing the honors option are expected to have read one of the novels on the standard summer reading list and The Kite Runner, which will take the place of the choice book. In addition, honors option students are required to view the 2007 film version of The Kite Runner. When school starts in September, students who read The Kite Runner will hand in a persuasive essay arguing which is better, the film or novel version of The Kite Runner. In addition, their standard summer reading essay should meet higher standards of quality, development, and insight. Students who do not come in having completed the honors summer reading assignment, can still pursue the honors option, but they must read The Kite Runner, as it ties into to a thematic unit during the year.

During the midterm break, teachers will assess the status of the honors portfolio. The teachers will provide input on the quality of the work and provide feedback to the student on his or her efforts to satisfy the honors distinction.

The final portfolio should be completed by the end of the fourth quarter. At that time, the student will either receive the honors distinction pending successful completion of the rest of the course.

Summer Reading

All students entering 10th grade are required to complete Branford High School's summer reading requirement. For those students interested in pursuing the honors distinction, the novel The Kite Runner will be required reading. This book will replace the choice portion of the summer reading and students will be required to complete a note-taking log connected with a series of topics and themes from the novel. Information on that assignment is linked here.

External links

Branford High School main page=