• American Literature (Online)

    Instructor: Mr. Bickle

    Email: bicklje@boe.richmond.k12.ga.us


    Remind Code (parents and students please join!)



    About This Course:

    American Lit is a special course because it delves into this country’s complex, many-voiced literary heritage. It is nearly impossible to define American Literature with any more specificity than “literature written by Americans,” because the term “American” has virtually infinite meanings. Throughout this course, we will view the complicated history of the United States through the lens of its literature. This literature is a way to experience the nation’s history directly through the eyes of those who lived it first hand. Literature has the power to make us see the world from another’s point of view, even if that person is long dead and totally different from us. As such, literature is the perfect tool for analyzing and questioning the legacy of America, as well as deciding what our own contributions to that legacy should be.


    Course Description:

    This course focuses on the study of American literature and informational texts, writing modes and genres, and essential conventions for reading, writing, and speaking. The students read a variety of informational and literary texts in all genres and modes of discourse. Reading across the curriculum develops students’ academic and personal interests in different subjects. While expository writing is the focus in American literature, the students will also demonstrate competency in argumentative and narrative genres. The students will engage in research, timed writing, and the writing process. Instruction in language conventions will occur within the context of reading, writing, and speaking. The students demonstrate an understanding of speaking and listening for a variety of purposes. THIS COURSE MUST REFLECT THE GEORGIA STANDARDS OF EXCELLENCE.



    • Students will develop their writing abilities by composing a wide variety of written products, including narratives, arguments, informative essays, and research papers.
    • Students will read a wide variety of authors and genres, and learn to identify key aspects of each author, genre, and period of literature covered in this class.
    • Students will learn critical thinking skills expressed through analysis and questioning of complex texts, from which students will identify and comment on theme, characterization, figurative language, plot, and other literary techniques/devices.



    Students will need:

    - Internet Access

    - laptop/PC (preferred) or smartphone



    - Paper

    - Notebook/binder



    Communication: With the online format, it is essential that students and parents remain in constant contact.  This is the only way to keep students engaged in the course and aware of deadlines, grades, and other vital information.  As such, I urge students AND parents to join my Remind using the codes above, as this is the most direct and instant means of contacting me. I will be sending out reminders for due dates, assignments, and various other updates through Remind, and it is in your best interests to check it AT LEAST once daily.  Please DO NOT hesitate to ask me any questions or voice any concerns via Remind. The only “stupid” question is one that you don’t ask.

    Professional/Academic Comportment:  “Comportment” is a word for how you carry yourself, i.e., your behavior.  One of the main goals of school is to train you to behave appropriately at college, work, and other serious professional settings.  As such, you are expected to behave so in my class.  This includes many things: Be punctual. Be respectful of others’ emotions and ideas, even if you do not understand/agree with them.  Use language appropriate for a serious, academic setting. Take pride in your work.  These are just a few behaviors/habits that fall under the blanket of professionalism. 

    Academic Honesty/Rigor: I will not lie to you: this class will not be easy. To call it “easy” would discredit the great work you will do. It is my goal never to lower standards; instead, if you need help reaching those standards, I can offer it.  This requires you to sincerely try your best.  You will only cheat yourself by taking shortcuts such as copying another’s work. If I find that you have plagiarized, you will receive ZERO credit for the assignment in question. I am pretty good at finding this out, so be safe and don’t try it at all.  Your grade will thank you.

    Late Work Policy: Work may be submitted late, but is subject to a deduction in points. Every day the assignment is late is a deduction of 10%.  For instance, a paper that would normally have been scored a 95% if turned in 2 days late would be reduced to 75%.  Work turned in more than 4 days late (with no valid excuse) will receive a 0. 

    Online Attendance:  I will send out daily messages on Remind.  In order to be counted present for that day, you must respond to these daily messages. Failure to respond before the end of the school day will result in being marked absent.    

    Grading Breakdown

    40% Summative Assessment (Major Essays/Projects, Exams, etc.)

    30% Formative Assessment (Class discussions, quizzes, etc.)

    20% Classwork (Daily work/assignments)

    10% Homework (reading logs, poetry responses, etc.)


    Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Instruction

    You may have heard the terms “synchronous” and “asynchronous” used to describe online learning.  All this means is that during this course, there will be “synchronous” times when we “meet” virtually, and I am available for live assistance and instruction.  Most of the time, our learning will be “asynchronous,” meaning you will access materials and complete assignments separately, on your own time. This will include things such as reading, writing, and discussions on Canvas.  This does not mean any added flexibility regarding attendance or due dates.



    This course is online. As such, all assignments/resources will be found on Canvas.  If you are not familiar with Canvas, I would encourage you to view the Canvas Orientation available on the RCBOE website. 


    Thank You.

    I want to thank you, both students and parents, in advance for the great work we will achieve together. This is perhaps the most bizarre school year in this nation’s history, and will undoubtedly bring many more unforeseen challenges. I want you to know that I take my duty to my students and my community extremely seriously. If you need anything from me, I want to help. Please be safe, and be well.