This document is currently being edited for the 19-20 School Year


Syllabus--The Story of Movies

Mr. Tolley, B & E 204


The Story of Movies is an elective English course. This class is designed to provide students an understanding of the broad history of film, how film has evolved over its history, common themes/characters explored in the cinema, cinematic techniques (editing, photography, writing, etc.) and how they have evolved over time, and how film has reflected our society through time.


Subjects that may be explored are:

The Silent Era

The Evolution of Comedy in Film

Film as a Reflection of Society – War, Morals, Popular Tastes

Women in Film – Heroines, Victims, Tough Broads, and Babes

Crime and the Cinema

American Classics

Alfred Hitchcock – The Master of Suspense

A Unique Art – The American Musical

Documentary in Cinematic Form

The Hero's Journey  


Absences/Attendance: Students are expected to be present and on time to class every day. While grades are not assigned for attendance, experience tells us that it is difficult to master any skill without being present for instruction, discussion, and opportunities to demonstrate competence. Students will be marked tardy when they are not in class and ready to participate when the bell rings. Students will receive a discipline referral for leaving class without permission if they leave the class before they are dismissed at the bell. This is a security and safety issue.


Make-up Work: I follow the Rio Rancho High School policy on make-up work. Students have the same number of days they were absent to complete and turn in homework and in-class assignments. For example, if the student is absent for an assignment on Monday and the student returns on Tuesday, the assignment will still be on time on Wednesday. In the event a long-term assignment or project is given, the due date will stand. For example, if a project is assigned on March 1 and is due on March 10, the student is aware of the due date and the expectations for the assignment. If the student is absent on the due date the project is still due and the student should make arrangements to have the project turned in. Of course, I will always work with students who have difficult circumstances. The key is communication. Students are responsible for checking in with the teacher when they return from an absence for all make-up work.


Missing Work: The worst academic decision a student can make is to take a zero on an assignment. High school is not only about putting numbers in the grade book; it is vitally important that students build skills and then demonstrate that they have mastered those skills through the successful completion of Embedded Assessments (to use the Springboard terminology). Skill building and demonstration of mastery are key components of a growth mindset.

When a student does not turn in an assignment when it is due, the student's assignment will be marked as "missing" in the grade book along with a zero. "I forgot", "It wasn't done", and "I didn't understand" are not acceptable excuses. The zero will stand if the assignment is not turned in within a week of the original assignment. If a student turns in an assignment that is partially complete and the student has been making a legitimate effort to finish, they will be allowed to finish. Be careful not to take advantage of this. Having unrelated conversations with classmates, sneaking time on a phone or game, and sleeping and then rushing in the last few minutes to get something done does not constitute a legitimate effort and the appropriate grade with be entered.

Under no circumstances will a student be allowed to make up multiple zeros at the end of a grading period to save a grade. Grading periods are nine weeks long and students are expected to recognize the importance of every assignment. 


Resubmitting Work: Students are encouraged to re-submit assessments for a higher grade. Writing assessments, multiple choice assessments, and individually-written Embedded Assessments may be resubmitted for a higher grade. All resubmitted work must be completed in class. Occasionally I schedule time for resubmissions during class time, and occasionally students will have to schedule time with me after school. Practice assignments may not be resubmitted.


I do not offer extra credit work, but I encourage students to re-write assignments for the higher grade within a reasonable period of time.


Behavior: High school students are old enough to be held accountable for and police their own behavior. A few things that will likely bring unwanted attention to students are:

--Foul and abusive language.

--Demeaning, bullying, and any sort of harassment.

--Eating/drinking around any computer.

--Habitual tardiness/absences.

--Distracting other students.

Students should be aware of proper behavior in an academic setting. 


Use of Cell Phones and Other Personal Electronics:

Cell phone use is not permitted during instructional periods and Rio Rancho High School is not responsible for electronic devices left behind.

I choose not to confront students about use of personal electronics, but I will remind students to put them away.. Student use of electronics is disrespectful of the class, fellow students, the instructor, and students' own education. Such use is documented and will be shared with parents and administrators when it interferes with student success or the educational environment


Classroom Norms: Students should:

            •Listen with respect when someone else is speaking, including the teacher.

            •Contribute positively to conversations and activities

            •Tolerate all beliefs and points of view, even if they do not share them.

            •Use differences of opinion as vehicles for learning.

            •Avoid distractions such as electronics and conversations unrelated to class..

            •Respect the schedule: Be on time, meet due dates, don’t leave early.

            •Use time out of class wisely—missing instruction is not a good idea.


Grading: Embedded Assessments and other formal assessments are worth 70% of the student grade. These are essays, projects, and presentations and quizzes. Practice such as classwork and homework grades are worth 30%. The semester final exams are worth 20% of the semester grade.

            90 - 100 = A

            80 – 89 = B

            70 – 79 = C

            60 – 69 = D

            59 and below = F


Chrome Books: Each student will have an assigned Chrome Book (laptop) for in-class use. Students are responsible for their assigned computer, and should bring any problems to my attention immediately.


Google Classroom: The majority of assignments will be completed digitally, submitted digitally, and graded digitally. If you're not used to this manner of work flow you will discover that it is preferable to paper copies.



Monday, August 12: Syllabus, Introductions, Expectations, Chromebooks.


Tuesday, August 13: Common Themes in Movies; Theme as Subject; Literary Theme.


Wednesday, August 14: A discussion of film vocabulary and terminology


Thursday, August 15: An Introduction to the War Movie


Friday, August 16: "All Quiet on the Western Front" movie, 50 min. 


Monday, August 19: "All Quiet on the Western Front" movie, 50 min.


Tuesday, August 20: "All Quiet on the Western Front" movie, 34+- min.


Wednesday, August 21: Student Reflection on "All Quiet on the Western Front" movie. Assignment on Google Classroom


Thursday, August 22: "The Great Escape" 50 minutes


Friday, August 23: "The Great Escape" 50 minutes


Monday, August 26: "The Great Escape" 50 minutes


Tuesday, August 27: "The Great Escape" 24 minutes


Wednesday, August 28: Student Reflection on "The Great Escape" movie. Assignment on Google Classroom.


Thursday, August 29: Intro to the Western film.


Friday, August 30: Continue Discussion the the society and culture of the old west.


Monday, September 2: Labor Day, No School


Tuesday, September 3: "Big Jake" 50 min


Wednesday, September 4:  "Big Jake" 40 min


Thursday, September 5: "Big Jake" 20 min; Student Reflection on "Big Jake" movie. Assignment on Google Classroom


Friday, September 6: "True Grit" 50 min


Monday, September 9: "True Grit" 50 min


Tuesday, September 10: "True Grit" 10 min; Student Reflection on "True Grit" movie. Assignment on Google Classroom


Wednesday, September 11: "The Big Country" 40 min 


Thursday, September 12: "The Big Country" 50 min


Friday, September 13: "The Big Country" 50 min


Monday, September 16: "The Big Country" 30 min; Begin Student Reflection on "The Big Country".


Tuesday, September 17: Complete Student Reflection on "The Big Country". 


Wednesday, September 18: "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" 40 min


Thursday, September 19: "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" 50 min


Friday, September 20: "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" 20 min; Student reflection on "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"


Monday, September 23: "Alfred Hitchcock: Master of Suspense" 51 min


Tuesday, September 24: "Alfred Hitchcock: Master of Suspense" 51 min


Wednesday, September 25 - "Rear Window" 40 min


Thursday, September 26: "Rear Window" 50 min


Friday, September 27: "Rear Window" 25 min.; "Rear Window" Quiz on Google Classroom


Monday, September 30: "North by Northwest" 50 min


Tuesday, October 1: "North by Northwest" 50 min


Wednesday, October 2: "North by Northwest" 39 min


Thursday, October 3: "North by Northwest" Quiz on Google Classroom; Begin "Vertigo"


Friday, October 4: "Vertigo" 50 min


Monday, October 7: "Vertigo" 50 min


Tuesday, October 8: Complete "Vertigo"; "Vertigo" quiz on Google Classroom


Wednesday, October 9: Teacher Professional Development; No school for students


Thursday, October 10: Teacher Professional Development; No school for students 


Friday, October 11: Fall Break; All schools closed


Monday, October 14: Introduction to "The War of the Worlds";


Tuesday, October 15: "The War of the Worlds" (1953) 50 min


Wednesday, October 16: "The War of the Worlds" (1953) 35 min


Thursday, October 17: "The War of the Worlds" (2006) 50 min; END OF THE FIRST NINE WEEKS


Friday, October 18: "The War of the Worlds" (2006) 50 min


Monday, October 21: "The War of the Worlds" (2006) 20 min; Comparative analysis group assignment on Google Classroom.


Tuesday, October 22: Complete comparative analysis group assignment on Google Classroom


Wednesday, October 23: Introduction to "Frankenstein";

Begin "Frankenstein" (1931)


Thursday, October 24: "Frankenstein" (1931) 50 min


Friday, October 25: Complete "Frankenstein" (1931) and introduce "Frankenstein" 2004


Monday, October 28 - "Frankenstein" (2004) 50 min


Tuesday, October 29 - "Frankenstein (2004) 50 min


Wednesday, October 30 - "Frankenstein" (2004) 40 min


Thursday, October 31 - "Frankenstein" (2004) 50 min 


Friday, November 1 - "Frankenstein" (2004) 14 min; "Frankenstein" quiz


Monday, November 4 - "Casablanca" 52 min


Tuesday, November 5 - "Casablanca" 51 min


Wednesday, November 6 - "Casablanca" assessment


Thursday, November 7 - "12 Angry Men" 50 min


Friday, November 8 - "12 Angry Men" 46 min


Monday, November 11 - Veterans' Day, No School


Tuesday, November 12 - "12 Angry Men" Assessment; begin "Citizen Kane" 20 min


Wednesday, November 13 - "Citizen Kane" 40 min 


Thursday, November 14 - "Citizen Kane" 50 min


Friday, November 15 - "Citizen Kane" 10 min; "Citizen Kane" assessment


Monday, November 18 - "Gone with the Wind" 50 min


Tuesday, November 19 - "Gone with the Wind" 50 min


Wednesday, November 20 - "Gone with the Wind" 40 min


Thursday, November 21 - "Gone with the Wind" 50 min


Friday, November 22 - "Gone with the Wind" 43 min 


Monday, November 25 - "Gone with the Wind" assessment


Tuesday, November 26 - "Gone with the Wind" student reflection


Wednesday, November 27 - Friday, November 29 - Thanksgiving Holiday, No School


Monday, December 2 - "It's a Wonderful Life" 50 min


Tuesday, December 3 - "It's a Wonderful Life" 50 min


Wednesday, December 4 - "It's a Wonderful Life" 30 min; Quiz


Thursday, December 5 - "White Christmas" 50 min


Friday, December 6 - "White Christmas" 50 min


Monday, December 9 - "White Christmas" 20 min; "White Christmas" assessment


Tuesday, December 10 - "A Christmas Story" 50 min


Wednesday, December 11 - "A Christmas Story" 43 min


Thursday, December 12 - "A Christmas Story" student reflection


Friday, December 13 - "The Santa Clause" 50 min


Monday, December 16 - "The Santa Clause" 47 min


Tuesday, December 17 - "The Santa Clause" student reflection


Wednesday, December 18 - Final exams, periods 1, 3, 5, 7


Thursday, December 19 - Final exams, periods 2, 4, 6


Friday, December 20 - Final exams makeups


Semester 2


Tuesday, January 7 - Intro to Monomyth and Hero's Journey.

Article link:    Article, The Stages of the Hero's Journey. Article Link: 20Journey%20Arch.pdf  


Wednesday, January 8 - "A Timeless Tale of the Hero's Journey", available on YouTube 40 min


Thursday, January 9 - "A Timeless Tale of the Hero's Journey", available on YouTube 45 min


Friday, January 10 - Discuss the Hero's Journey Unit project;


Monday, January 13 - "Star Wars: Episode IV, A New Hope" 50 min


Tuesday, January 14 - "Star Wars: Episode IV, A New Hope" 50 min


Wednesday, January 15 - "Star Wars: Episode IV" 23 min; Quiz.


Thursday, January 16 - "Star Wars: Episode V" 50 min


Friday, January 17 - "Star Wars Episode V" 50 min


Monday, January 20 - MLK Holiday, No School


Tuesday, January 21 - "Star Wars Episode V" 29 min; Student Reflection


Wednesday, January 22 - "Wizard of Oz" 40 min


Thursday, January 23 - "Wizard of Oz" 50 min


Friday, January 24 - "Wizard of Oz" 12 min; Quiz 


Monday, January 27 - "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" 50 min


Tuesday, January 28 - "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" 50 min


Wednesday, January 29 - "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" 40 min


Thursday, January 30 - "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" 12 min and quiz


Friday, February 31 - Review of Stages of Hero's Journey


Monday, February 3 - "Up" 50 min


Tuesday, February 4 - "Up" 46 min


Wednesday, February 5 - "Finding Nemo" 50 min


Thursday, February 6 - "Finding Nemo" 50 min


Friday, February 7 - Stages of the Hero's Journey; getting started with the group project


Monday, February 10 - Writing the project


Tuesday, February 11 - Writing the project


Wednesday, February 12 - Group presentations


Thursday, February 13 - Group presentations


Friday, February 14 - Group presentations


Monday, February 17--Presidents Day, No School


Tuesday, February 18 - Introduction to the Willing Suspension of Disbelief. "How Movies and Television become         Unbelievable".  "Rabbit Season/Duck Season", "Roadrunner/Coyote" episode 43, "Dukes of Hazzard General     Lee", "James Bond Stunts" (Start at 1:15) 


Wednesday, February 19 - "The Dark Knight" 40 min


Thursday, February 20 - "The Dark Knight" 50 min


Friday, February 21 - "Dark Knight" 50 min


Monday, February 24 - "The Dark Knight" 12 min and reflection


Tuesday, February 25 - 


Wednesday, February 26 - "Tomorrow Never Dies" 40 min


Thursday, February 27 - "Tomorrow Never Dies" 50 min


Friday, February 28 - "Tomorrow Never Dies" 19 minutes and student reflection


Monday, March 2 - "Oceans Eleven" 50 min


Tuesday, March 3 - "Oceans Eleven" 50 min


Wednesday, March 4 - "Oceans Eleven" 16 min and student reflection


Thursday, March 5 - Introduction to Fantasy


Friday, March 6 - "Alice in Wonderland" (2010) 50 min


Monday, March 9 - "Alice in Wonderland" (2010) 50 min


Tuesday, March 10 - "Alice in Wonderland" (2010) 8 min; student reflection


Wednesday, March 11- End of 3rd quarter - "The Princess Bride" 40 minutes


Thursday, March 12 - "The Princess Bride" 50 min


Friday, March 13 - "The Princess Bride" 8 min; Student assessment


Monday, March 16 - "The Time Machine" 50 min


Tuesday, March 17 - "The Time Machine" 46 min


Wednesday, March 18 - Student reflection


Thursday, March 19 - "The Lord of the Rings" 50 min


Friday, March 20 - "The Lord of the Rings" 50 min


Monday, March 23 - "The Lord of the Rings" 50 min


Tuesday, March 24 - "The Lord of the Rings" 28 min


Wednesday, March 25 - "The Lord of the Rings" Quiz


Thursday, March 26 - Analytical essay of the elements of Fantasy


Friday, March 27 - Analytical essay of the elements of Fantasy. Due on Google Classroom as a Google doc today.


Monday, March 30 to Friday, April 3 - Spring Break

This syllabus is complete to this date for the 19-20 school year. Stay tuned.


Monday, April 8 - Introduction to "Of Mice and Men"


Tuesday, April 9 - "Of Mice and Men"


Wednesday, April 10 - "Of Mice and Men" Quiz


Thursday, April 11 - "Les Miserables"


Friday, April 12 - "Les Miserables"


(Monday April 15 - Thursday, May 2--PARCC Testing Window (longer classes, alternate schedule)


Monday, April 15 - "Les Miserables"


Tuesday April 16 - "Les Miserables" Quiz


Wednesday, April 17 - "Dances with Wolves"


Thursday, April 18 - "Dances with Wolves"


Friday, April 19 - Vernal Holiday, No School


Monday, April 22 - "Dances with Wolves" (90 min, A Day Testing)


Tuesday, April 23 - No class, B Day Testing


Wednesday, April 24 - Literary Film Writing Prompt


Thursday, April 25 - Introduction to Slapstick/Physical Comedy; "The Return of the Pink Panther"


Friday, April 26 - "The Pink Panther"


Monday, April 29 - No class, B Day Testing


Tuesday, April 30 - "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"


Wednesday, May 1 - "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" 


Thursday, May 2 - "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"


Friday, May 3 - "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" Quiz 


Monday, May 6 - "Beetlejuice"


Tuesday, May 7 - "Beetlejuice"


(Wednesday, May 8 - Friday, May 10--Senior Final Exams)


Wednesday, May 8 - "Dumb and Dumber"


Thursday, May 9 - "Dumb and Dumber"


Friday, May 10 - "Dumb and Dumber" Quiz


Monday, May 13 - 


Tuesday, May 14 - 

Tuesday, May 21--Graduation