Students in Mr. Lydon's class will be held to a high standard of behavior, befitting of young people eager to be respected and recognized as maturing individuals. For this reason, students are expected to arrive to class promptly, remain on task always, and follow through without heavy-handed oversight. It will be each student's responsibility to ask questions inside and outside of class, to keep track of assignments, and follow through on topics or work missed due to absence. 

The course will focus on the theme of "The American Dream," defining it, exploring its meaning in life and in literature, and gaining a greater appreciation for the role it plays in the life of each and every American. Our text, Springboard Level 6 (Grade 11) is comprised of five Units, each considering this theme from different perspectives, in different eras, and through different texts. For each unit, students will complete two significant assessments, ranging from argumentative and explanatory writing to creative endeavors, such as drama, speech-writing, and satire. While time may prevent us from completing all five units, the year will be filled with a diversity of texts, voices, and activities to help students master the complexity of the year's theme and succeed in a variety of academic modes.

Over the course of the year, students will be expected to develop as readers and writers. To support reading, independent reading component will be a part of the course. For more details, see the library page. To support the development of strong, self-reflective writing habits, students are expected to maintain a Writing Portfolio containing all of the unit assessments that have been graded at the end of the year. This portfolio will be an integral part into a project which will end the year.


  1. The American Dream (Semester 1)
    • Focus on understanding the concept of "The American Dream"
    • Texts include: Senator John McCain, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Langston Hughes, The US Constitution, Barack Obama
    • Assessment 1: Students will write an essay that defines "The American Dream" as they understand it, using support from multiple sources and a variety of definition techniques.
    • Assessment 2: Synthesizing a variety of voices and perspectives, students will make an argument that defends, challenges, or qualifies the statement that "America still provides access to the American Dream."
  2. The Power of Persuasion (Semester 1)
    • Explore how authors and playwrights used literature to further social messages by reading and analyzing persuasive speech and drama.
    • Texts include: Arthur Miller, James Thurber, Abraham Lincoln, Patrick Henry, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Barack Obama, George W. Bush
    • Assessment 1: Students will create and perform a dramatic scene that provides social commentary on a contemporary issue while set in a period with corresponding events.
    • Assessment 2: Using a clear claim, support, counterclaim, and conclusion, students will write and present an original two-minute speech that demands action on a contemporary issue.
  3. American Forums: The Marketplace of Ideas (Semester 1 or 2)
    • Through close reading of news stories, opinion pieces, and satirical texts, students will learn to be better critics of information and to discern the intention and potential bias of each. 
    • Texts include:  US Constitution, Articles from various News sources (including Facebook and The Onion), Mark Twain, Linnea Saukko
    • Assessment 1: Work in groups to plan, develop, write, revise and present and informational article on a timely and debatable issue of significance to the school community, local community, or national audience. Produce a variety of editorial products (op-ed article, political cartoons, photos, etc) to reflect a point of view on the subject.
    • Assessment 2: Write a satirical piece that critiques an aspect of society.
  4. The Pursuit of Happiness (Semester 2, time permitting)
    • By examining the American Transcendentalists and their pursuit of happiness through simplicity, intuition, and nature, while considering how this was at odds with the financial pursuits that came before them and out this perspective still resonates in American today.
    • Texts include: Henry David Thoreau, Tupac Shakur, Emily Dickinson, Jon Krakauer
    • Assessment 1: Write a personal essay about a significant personal experience regarding the pursuit of happiness, including the original response to this experience and a reflection of its significance.
    • Assessment 2: Craft of a multi-genre research project that expresses the students research and perspective on a person, event, or movement that embodies the American ideal of the pursuit of happiness.
  5. An American Journey (Semester 2)
    • The American experience has always included journeys, be they across oceans, across great expanses of land, or across time and experience. Students will explore the cultural journey of the Harlem Renaissance and read period literature that celebrates the journey of self-discovery.
    • Texts include: Alain Locke, James Weldon Johnson, Eugenia W. Collier, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Darnell Martin
    • Assessment 1: Students will collaboratively create a multimedia research presentation about a topic related to the Harlem Renaissance, using a variety of media and sources to show the values, ideas, cultural context, philosophy, arts, and/or daily life of the Harlem Renaissance.
    • Assessment 2: Write an analytical essay that discusses how Zora Neale Hurston's writing is both a product of and departure from the ideas of the Harlem Renaissance and make an argument suggesting the effect or reasoning for these departures.



The following calendar includes information about homework, testing dates, Coral activities and events, and more.

Contact Me

If you have any questions, the easiest way to reach me is to use the contact form on the right. You can ask questions about homework, scheduling, testing, policy, conferencing, or anything else that will help support the learning of your child. 

If your student needs to make up an exam or receive tutoring support, an English department tutor is available Monday through Friday on campus.

Tutoring Schedule

I am available on Thursdays, at 8-8:30 am and 3:30-3:45 pm.


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