I also wanted to thank so many of you for taking the time to not only email me a quick confirmation that you watched the video (so your child could get extra credit), but also for sharing such kind sentiments with me. I appreciated it! Your kind words fuel me :-)
Some of you had GREAT questions on the evening's Q & A posters. I have added those questions and my responses to my FAQ Parent page on this site. Thank you for your inquiry!
Who you can turn to in the front office
This year, all assistant principals are assigned to grade levels. This is new this year and has GREAT potential, as it allows individual administrators to focus on just one grade level's particular needs! 9th grade is Mrs. Stephanie Bartlett. 10th grade is Mr. Tom Duggan. You might find yourself contacting them if you have a major concern about your child's overall well-being or academic progress at school (but please see my comment below about contacting teachers first).
Counselors are still assigned to students according to students' last names. Please see the Counseling page on the school website for alpha assignments. You might contact your child's counselor if you notice his/her grades are slipping in multiple classes, you want information about college entrance requirements or course selections, or are concerned about his/her emotional well-being (just to name a few).
As a general rule, I recommend that you and/or your child contact individual teachers directly if the concern or question you have is specific to that class. Sometimes going straight to the source is the best idea, at least for starters. I definitely welcome your contact!
These grades are NOT official, but are instead an indicator of present progress.
In my class, if a student is getting a C- or below, I will be contacting parents directly, as I do not believe this is acceptable. I want to work with parents and students together to help get their grades up. Usually just a few simple changes can make a big difference!
English 1H Spotlight
We then moved onto a Poetry unit where students learned how to "dig deeper" into poetry analysis with the use of the TPCASTT strategy. Students had a exam where they were given a new poem to annotate and analyze and then write a paragraph about. We'll be returning those exams this week.
Now students are about half way through our unit on Sandra Cisneros's The House on Mango Street. Students are learning how to analyze an author's use of figurative language. We are focusing specifically on the quarter's Universal Concept which relates to one's social, cultural, and personal identity. Students will have a chance to show their creative side by creating their own "books" in a digital format of their choosing. They will also have an exam on this novel in about a week and a half.
We will wrap up the quarter with the reading of A Raisin in the Sun (a famous play) and some other poems and videos that relate to this quarter's concept. There will be a Quarter 1 Final Essay that will ask students to synthesize ALL sources from this quarter into an argumentative paper. Ms. Smart and I will be providing plenty of support and guidance to help students with this challenging paper.
Some students are struggling with the technology side of my class. Ms. Smart and I available before and after school to offer support and many students have come in and are already improving!
This quarter we are trying not to go too fast, as we realize that this is their first quarter in high school. This is a huge transition for them!
Students will need to finish their OREO (Outside Reading) book soon. Please check with your child on his/her progress. Students have access to the assignment and its deadlines on Google Drive.
For day-by-day agendas and homework, don't forget that I have our "1H Voyage Board Doc" available under the Students tab. You'll need your child's GAFE account to access it.
English 2H Spotlight
We started the quarter with 12 Angry Men, a classic play about 12 jurors and the decisions they have to make. This introduced students to one of this quarter's universal concepts--Social Conformity. They had their first timed, in-class essay and many of them struggled with this. You may have seen their grades drop. However, they were given plenty of feedback on their work and were asked to hold onto their "growth mindset". I reminded them that this year was a marathon, not a sprint, and assured them that last year's sophomores also struggled with that essay, only to find themselves improving leaps and bounds by the end of the semester! Already students' writing is improving!
Next we started a short story unit where we read "Everyday Use" and "Two Kinds". These short stories served as a great introduction to a deeper analysis of this quarter's concepts --Social Conformity and the Creation of Identity. Students were given opportunities to practice writing lessons that were given and students again took a timed writing assessment. Those assessments are still being graded. They take a long time...
Now, we are about a week into To Kill a Mockingbird and it is going very well! What an AMAZING novel! Year after year, students share that this is their favorite book of the year. I have been giving students many tools for success with this novel and we are having amazing class discussions about the text, its purpose, and its connection to this quarter's themes. I'm very proud of your children's work thus far!
To wrap up the quarter, we will have a Midterm Exam on TKAM this week, many additional challenging yet enjoyable experiences with the text, and a creative final assessment that will allow them to discuss their understanding of the novel. Throw in a few other smaller texts and video clips, and they'll be ready to write their Quarter 1 Final Essay, a take-home/process paper for which they will receive (and are already receiving) plenty of support. The quarter ends on November 6th.
Students should be reading their OREO (outside reading) book. But it's not due until after Thanksgiving break. The assignment details are on a Google Doc in their "Toolbox" in Google Drive. Ask them for access to learn more.
Students are also participating in a cross-curricular effort between the English and the History departments this year. This quarter's focus is on developing the following skills: non-fiction text annotating/reading, analyzing a writing prompt, composing a strong thesis statement. They should continue to see parallels between what is taught in my class and what is covered in their history class. Each quarter will have a new "skill" focus. This is very exciting simply because we are making a unified effort to help students grow as readers, writers, and thinkers!
I know this class moves quickly, but I encourage all students to communicate openly with me if they need any help or need extensions due to unforeseen or incredibly challenging situations. They are starting to trust me and take me up on my offers, which is great to see. Ultimately, I want them to work hard, but also not stress out too much in the process. Time management is KEY in this class.
For day-by-day agendas and homework, don't forget that I have our "2H Voyage Board Doc" available under the Students tab. You'll need your child's GAFE account to access it.