Thank you for coming! • Purpose • To inform parents of HS expectations. • To strengthen the parent-teacher bond.
Our Team!! • Ms. Eisentrager, M.A. • Ms. Hammond. M.A. • Ms. Likes, M.A. • Mr. Orr, M.A. • Ms. Scow, M.A., NBCT • Mr. Warner, M.A., NBCT
Course Set-Up August May English 9 Government Economics
Room Set-Up Folding Wall Social Science Classroom English Classroom 35 Students 35 Students
Grading Periods • Quarters 1 and 3 – Progress grades • Quarters 2 and 4 – Grades of Record • On transcript • “Count” • Eligibility – Pulled Thursdays
Grades • They do “count” now. • On the official transcript • Earn credits for passing courses • Need 23 to graduate • 4 must be English
Extra Credit • Like a Hail Mary pass • We don’t give EC opportunities • Focus from our side is more about the learning than the points.
Grading • Standards-Referenced Grading. • Use rubrics throughout course. • Will end with a letter grade (A, B, C, D, F) • For GPA, college entrance, etc.
We use practice items to inform us where kids are getting it and where they are not! • Adjust instruction based upon trends in practice work.
At Standards Right Away? • Most students WILL need to practice on skills in order to attain them. • This may take some time • That whole learning curve thing! • Practice makes perfect!
Drop from Middle School Grades? • Middle schools ARE preparing kids well academically! • Learning curve increases in high school • Students adjusting to….
Dropped Grades? (cont.) • Size of school • Speed of assignments • Long-term AND short-term going on at same time. • Freedom of choices • High expectations • Learning curve • Skill development (not just content)
Failure to Earn Credit? • Think economically to motivate students. • Now….these classes are FREE! • Make-up credits….have to pay for them! • On-line courses • Summer school • Squishing additional courses into a future year • Can’t take something they “wanted” to take
Alignment in English Department • Horizontal (within a grade level) • Vertical (between grade levels) • We do talk to one another about….everything. • Past performance in class • Lessons that work well • Assessments • Data
But…. • There will be variation between classes • Not all classes are exactly the same.
Potential Texts • To Kill a Mockingbird • Of Mice and Men • Johnny Got His Gun • House on Mango Street • Persepolis • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Controversy? • Controversial topics • What defines controversial? • Every unit probably has something!
How do we Deal with Controversy • Choices made with professional judgment. • Set text / idea in context. • Make connections to previously learned material. • Discuss WHY we are including this / talking about this. • Have mature grown-up discussions.
Life Lessons • Forming an opinion on an issue • Using evidence to defend said position • Taking risks
Self-Advocacy • To take responsibility for choices • To practice time management • To experience challenges • To speak for themselves
Availability of Technology • Expectation of computer access • Turnitin.com • Class websites / wikis • Computer labs at school • 5 grounded • LMC (and wireless)
How You Can Keep Up • Access Infinite Campus • Grades • Messages • Class dependent – Course Schedule • Ask your student
Date of Class Reminders Handouts from Day Assigned Work Lecture Material
Observations Over the Years • Students struggle with work load and expectations at first. • Most students DO figure it out. Give them time. • Find their currency (video games, sports, phones) • Please be aware of “deals” you may make with your students • Please don’t make those contingent upon us • Grades for money • Grades for grounding
Many students can be believed. Some cannot. We are competent individuals. • Grading papers takes time…. • 100 students at 15 minutes each = 25 hours • Planning time we receive each week = 6 hours • Includes planning, prep, hall duty!
Communication • Email is best • Phone is less good (rarely at desks) • Contact anytime • Will push for student involvement in process
Why Study Literature? • To learn about ourselves. • To learn about our world. • To experience life, lessons, and challenges vicariously. • To be entertained.
How Do We Learn This? • We look for THEME – the author’s comment about life, society, our world. • These are GENERAL LESSONS for ALL humanity. • Examples: • One must stand up for oneself to confront discrimination • Too much power can corrupt anyone • Understand yourself before you seek to understand others
Where Do Books Say Their Themes? • Start? End? Middle? Climax? • NO! This is the hard part of truly understanding literature! • Themes are taught through HINTING and IMPLYING. • They are NOT explicitly stated!
NO! • No book is going to say on page 56, “by the way, the lesson you should be learning from To Kill a Mockingbird is…” • We must put together the clues offered in the book to interpret theme.
What’s This Look Like? • We study the following in lit. class: • Simile, metaphor, personification • Allusion • Change in characters • Types of conflict • The elements and how they are handled in a book LEAD to the deduction of THEME
Huh? • If a static character never changes even though he SHOULD change…what does that teach us? • If a character sees or says bad words and then rejects them…what does that teach us? • If a character sees a rape or experiences a traumatic experience and then learns to overcome the hardship or decides to never perpetuate that trauma for others….what does that teach us?
Not Instruction Manuals • To Kill a Mockingbird is not a book on gun control. • Persepolis is not a book about how to abuse women. • True Diary is not a book about how to masturbate. • Are we to learn about our OWN lives through HOW the CHARACTERS learn? Absolutely yes!
Lev Vygotsky • Zone of Proximal Development Theory
9th Grade Curriculum • Chosen because of a mix between the following: • What students can do on own right now • What students need guidance to be able to do • Books chosen represent differing challenges which help propel students into “next level”
So Aren’t There “Better Books” Out There? • As kids age, they need to be challenged with more complexities in order to make the theme (lesson) seem appropriate to their lives… • Plot structure • Character development • Experiences of characters • Types of conflict • Language choices • But…students learn vicariously (in a SAFE environment) about life.
Most authors have good intentions! Their themes are almost universally positive! • They might use “controversial material” to teach their message through, but the “controversial material” is NOT the lesson!
What if I Object to the Content? • As a parent – What is your issue and what is your child’s issue? • When do we allow them to make decisions for themselves? • When do we allow them to speak for themselves? • Kids are tougher and smarter than we often give them credit for. • But…if you need to request an alternate…we can provide that.
Reading Level? • Be wary about what you are using to determine the “reading level” of a book. • Lexile? • Comprehension? • Students can be taught great lessons from children’s books! • Students can PRACTICE deducing theme using children’s books as a stepping stone.
Kids Still Hear YOUR Voice • You are the most powerful voice in your student’s head. • We borrow them for a few hours a day, a week, a year. • Students bounce new ideas off of what you have taught them. • Challenge selves • Reinforce what they truly believe
Some students may believe differently than the parents do. • Not an easy decision for them! • As kids grow, more adult role models will enter their lives. • Elementary – middle – high school • Coaches on sport teams • The PARENTAL VOICE is STILL the loudest in the child’s ear.
Art of Writing • Some items are up for interpretation (Art) • Word choice • Sentence variety • “Voice”
Science of Writing • Some items are non-negotiable (Science) • Punctuation • Spelling • Organization (somewhat) • That examples are needed! • Sets of three!
They say….I say Structure • Idea that much discussion already exists about any assigned academic topic. • Students are entering into that conversation through their writing. • Seeking to write a “valid” response