We will spend this week tying up loose ends and making sure everyone gets a final one-on-one writing conference prior to our final in-class essay in this unit. While I’m conferencing with students this week, the students will be working in small groups to plan and draft a synthesis essay about the unit texts we’ve been reading in the politics unit:
“On Civil Disobedience” by Henry David Thoreau
“A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift
“On Seeing England for the First Time” by Jamaica Kincaid
“Notes from an Air Raid Shelter” by Virginia Woolf.
Students will use all of these texts to return to our unit question: What is the relationship between the citizen and the state? After that practice and their conferences with me, they’ll write a synthesis essay on Friday. Students who are going to be leaving early for break should schedule a time to write the essay prior to leaving.
The other focus this week will be continued multiple choice practice. Students took a second multiple choice exam last week and, unfortunately, the class average did not improve as much as I hoped it would. A quick check of the number of times my online practice materials have been viewed provides--I think--some of the answer. Many students are not putting in the time necessary to see the growth they’d like to see in their critical reading. I’m not asking students to put in hours and hours of studying every night for AP Language. Rather, I’d suggest a consistent 20 minutes dedicated to critical reading practice every night. Please encourage your students to begin focusing on improving their critical reading scores by practicing more on their own! I’m assigning very little homework these days; I expect them to fill in that time with practice! I’m always happy to work with students one on one with their practice before school or during AA, but they need to put in the time first and then bring me their work so that we have something to discuss.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend! I’m off to go fill Easter baskets!
We have been hard at work wrapping up loose ends in ELA 10 last week, and we will continue that this week. If you have been watching MiStar, you’ll notice that in addition to all the practice assignments, some of the final (counted) assessments for the unit have now been entered. Students have received scores for assessments measuring the following three learning goals:
There are the two remaining learning goals for the unit:
I hope this breakdown helps you understand where your student stands with his or her grade at this point in the card marking. On Monday this week, I’ll be giving the students printouts of their current grades along with some reflection questions that ask them to think about how well they’ve engaged with the practice activities this unit. For many students, I have been happy to see them embracing the formative, practice assessment even though they don’t “count”. Now that we are getting to the scored assessments, those students are very happy with their results. Some students have struggled with pushing themselves to engage in practice and they are less pleased with their scores right now. I’m hopeful that reflecting on the effort they’ve put forth will help them set some goals for the remainder of the unit and the year.
I’m off to go fill some Easter baskets! I hope you have a wonderful Easter if you celebrate it this weekend!
A short post since I'm running on fumes this Sunday morning. This weekend ends two straight weeks of birthday partying at the Maguire house. My kids’ birthdays are a week apart and for some reason I thought full-on, house full of kids, themed birthday parties was a good idea this year. Yikes! I’m whipped. Monday will feel like a vacation :)
This week we will be working on our in-class essay writing again. Students wrote sample essays in class and will receive those back in class on Tuesday. We’ll discuss what went well , figure out where they struggled, and practice those skills that still need more work. By the end of the week, we should be ready to write the second (counted!) in class essay.
Students will receive their A Doll’s House assessments back this week and their monologues/angry letters. Both of those scores count and should make an impact on the grades in MiStar. Look for those scores by the end of the week.
Last thing: next week students will be performing their speeches about social norms and values and how they are reflected or challenged in various forms of media. Please ask your students about the topics they've chosen. Ideally, students should be practicing those speeches at home by the end of this week.
Have a great week! No School Friday!
A short post because I'm running on fumes this Sunday morning. This weekend ends two straight weeks of birthday partying at the Maguire house. My kids’ birthdays are a week apart and for some reason I thought full-on, house full of kids, themed birthday parties was a good idea this year. Yikes! I’m whipped. Monday will feel like a vacation :)
This week we’ll return to our work on critical reading and multiple choice while I conference with the students on their synthesis essays. Students annotated their essays and noted what went well and what didn’t go so well on Friday. We’ll meet one-on-one, discuss those challenges, and make plans for improvement. While those meetings are taking place, students will be working in small groups on short reading assignments and multiple choice practice to prepare for the AP test. Students will also be working on reading an excerpt from "On Civil Disobedience" by Henry David Thoreau. This is a challenging piece so you may want to ask them to tell you about it!
Starting this week you should start to see grades inching up since we’re now into “second chance” territory. Students have begun taking their second try with the three types of essays (we’ve done 2 arguments and 2 rhetorical analysis essays) and I’m starting to get those scores in MiStar. Students who aren’t seeing improvement should come see me in the morning before school or during AA for an extra writing conference.
Have a great week! No school Friday!
This week we are shifting our focus back to dramatic literature and reading the play A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen. On Friday, students received their scores from the Antigone formative assessment. These scores were just for practice, but should give the students an idea of how they’re doing with our three focus areas for drama: understanding dramatic structures, recognizing how a playwright manipulates time, and considering how a character develops over the course of a play. These scores are all recorded as practice (4/3/2/1) scores in MiStar. We will read and discuss the different focus areas all week and then students will complete an assessment on Friday independently. This assessment will count for their grade. Students who are still feeling shaky about their understanding of the skills by Wednesday should plan to come see me in AA for some extra help.
Students will also turn in their final drafts of their monologues or angry letters on Wednesday. Originally, these were due last week, but I pushed the due date back to make sure everyone gets a chance to get feedback on their rough drafts. All students who submitted their drafts online to me received individual comments. We will spend a little additional time in class on Monday revising drafts.
Finally, students should be thinking about the media they plan to use for their end of the unit speech. Students will give a speech analyzing a piece of media (song/tv show/movie/youtube video/commercial/etc) that either challenges or reflects a social norm or value. By the end of this week, I will ask students to share their choices with me so that I may check them for school suitability.
Let me know if you have any questions about what we’re up to! There are a lot of formative scores (not counted) in MiStar right now but there is only one summative (counted) assessment. Looking at the formative scores with your student should give you an idea of which skills your student is mastering and which ones need more work. Please encourage your student to ask for additional help if he or she is struggling with any of the skills we are practicing in class. By next week and as we near the end of the card marking, more summative assessments will start popping up in MiStar.
Have a great weekend!
Last week we started our politics unit and had some lively discussions about the current political candidates. We read a number of editorials and examined the ways writers use language to persuade effectively. I think it’s really paying off in the students’ writing!! I’m seeing some excellent experimentation with voice and style in the most recent essays, and I think students will continue to gain confidence with writing in an authentic, natural voice as we continue our study.
Monday we will have our graded discussion of “A Modest Proposal” and “On Seeing England for the First Time”. This was postponed from last week due to scheduling. Tuesday and Wednesday will be dedicated to rhetorical analysis of those pieces and practice for analytical writing, and then on Thursday we’ll do an in-class rhetorical analysis essay. On Friday, I’ll start writing conferences up again, and students will do some work with our latest vocabulary list. Please ask your students to share their vocab words with you. I’m pulling them directly from our readings this last week and hoping that students will begin to use them in their own writing. There are only ten! My theory is that by reducing the number we study, students can truly learn the words and add them to their vocabularies. The words from their last list are starting to show up in their essays---I saw dissonance, archetypal, subjugate, and churlish just this afternoon!
For multiple choice and reading practice, please encourage your students to take advantage of all the online practice I’m sharing with them on Google Classroom. For the past two weekends, I have shared multiple choice sample passages and videos of me walking them through the annotations and explaining the answers to the questions. Students who are struggling with multiple choice would really benefit from this extra practice.
Have a great weekend!
Our long week of conferences (interrupted by a snow day!) went well. The kids worked hard (mostly), and I think the conversations I had with them one on one about their writing were productive. I will finish those up on Monday with the kids that I missed due to the snow day.
This week we’re starting our unit on politics. Our unit question is “What is the relationship between the citizen and the state?” This is clearly a timely issue given the impending presidential election. I really like the question because it asks students to consider how they will engage with the political process. I encourage you to use this opportunity to talk about the current political happenings with your students. Many of them express a complete disinterest in politics, and I’d love to see these smart, soon-to-be voters start to educate themselves. And, please rest assured that I work very hard to represent all political views in my classroom and keep my own views to myself!! I think it’s incredibly important that our discussions about politics aren’t tainted by my own beliefs; rather, I want to expose my students to everything that’s out there and encourage them to think for themselves.
With our politics unit, we will be returning to our work with argumentative writing this week. We’ll be examining lots of op-eds about the current political environment and practicing mimicking how editorialists present evidence with a genuine, natural voice. Later in the week we will read some anchor texts for the unit, “A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift (don’t tell your kids what it’s about if you’re familiar with it!) and “On Seeing England for the First Time” by Jamaica Kincaid. We will do some practice with multiple choice using these two texts as well as a graded discussion on Friday. This graded discussion score will be averaged with the score from last week’s discussion.
One last thing: Please do not be alarmed if your student’s grade has dipped a little at the beginning of the semester. We are working with all new skills this semester---mainly timed writing--and it is proving to be a challenge for many. They need not worry just yet. The grades in MiStar represent where they are right now, but there are second (and sometimes third) chances coming for all of those skills prior to the end of the card marking. The key to improving on those skills is practice. I have started providing lots of extra practice for students online and in class; those who take advantage of it will see the gains they're looking for! For example, this weekend students were given some practice multiple choice along with guided reading videos narrated by yours truly. Those aren't "for points" but taking advantage of that practice will pay off when students take the next multiple choice assessment. Please encourage your students to do the provided practice!
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
Last week was a little challenging with snow days and scheduling and a meeting in Lansing for me! We didn’t get through quite as much material as I had hoped, but I have figured out how we can adjust.
This weekend or Monday, students will need to share their Angry Letters or Monologues with me in Google Classroom. We missed time in class for writing conferences, so this will allow me to give them feedback on their writing before moving forward. Students should be revising using their notes about varying syntax for maximum impact. I will give specific feedback about their ability to vary their sentence structure effectively, and they will submit their final drafts of their writing on Friday, March 11.
The bulk of the week will be spent on shifting from our critical reading focus (students will receive scores on their final annotated article on Monday) to a critical writing focus. We will use the article they annotated last week to work on writing an argumentative essay. Students will practice organizing their main points, selecting quality examples, and forming a complete essay in a timed environment. By the end of the week, we’ll be ready to do a practice in-class essay. This will be scored and recorded but will not count towards their grades as it is just practice at this time.
Finally, this week I will introduce the unit speech assignment. We have been studying how different types of texts (articles, cartoons, plays) challenge or reflect our social norms and values. For their speeches, students will choose a piece of media (tv show, song, movie clip, commercial, etc) and examine how the clip challenges or reflects a social norm or value. Students need to submit a link to their clip by next Wednesday, March 16 on the shared Google Presentation in Google Classroom. Once I have had a chance to check all the links for appropriate content, we’ll get started writing and practicing the speeches.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
Mrs. Hattie Maguire