Dear Charger Parents:
Your students have been given progress reports listening all of their assignments and grades in my class this quarter. I handed these out on Monday. They need to be signed by you and returned no later than block day this week. That's tomorrow, Wednesday, for 1st & 3rd period, and Thursday, for 2nd, 4th, & 6th period.
To answer a few commonly asked questions:
"F" almost always means the assignment was not turned in. Please refer to the points the assignment was awarded. Missing work is given a 0.
I do accept late work; the deadline for all past-due work for quarter 1 will be the end of next week, September 22nd.
Participation and Long-term Assignments make up the largest portion of your child's grades. As stated in my syllabus, they represent 30% each. As I tend to assign fewer long-term assignments, a single missing item can have a huge negative impact on grades. These will be primarily EIW's, or Excellence In Writing (essays) that students turn in with a checklist.
As we finish this quarter, we will complete one more EIW in traditional, take our last grammar and vocab test for the quarter, and honors will have at least one more reading quiz. I will be giving an end-of-quarter review test. Old quizzes and notes are great ways to study for this as well as seeking tutoring in any difficult areas such as grammar or writing (EIW's).
Thank you for all you do.
It was a blast to meet parents & families last night at Back-to-School Night. Thank you to all who came.
For those who missed it, here's the brief quiz I gave for bell work. (Don't worry, it's not for a grade.)
Check with your students for the correct answers!
Back-to-School Parent Quiz
I have input grades for participation (Scholarship Points) which includes each day in the month of August. I will add a new grade for each month.
While I have not adjusted these yet, they will be in flux until the end of the month when students have had the opportunity to earn/lose scholarship points through good behavior, preparedness, and class participation. Please refer to my syllabus if you have questions about grade weight.
Here is a photo of the book cover of the text we will begin reading on August 14th. Students must have a copy with them in class on Monday. Kindle is acceptable, iphone kindle apps are not.
This is the book listed on Amazon, though you may purchase or borrow the book from other sources: Heroes, Gods and Monsters
This website has resources for practicing grammar, including knowledge of the 8 parts of speech.
This link leads directly to a short practice quiz I even took myself. It's short! Give it a try: uOttowa Quiz.
Check out this silly and educational blog to learn more about properly using a semicolon: The Oatmeal.
The first week of school was a success!
We practiced routines, memorized names, and began digging into our weekly lessons.
As students begin to learn new sets of vocabulary, practice key word outlines, and recall the parts of speech this week, they will also become acquainted with the great classic literature that makes up our foundation at Benjamin Franklin High School.
For those of you supporting students at home, or students looking to dig deeper, I would like to share this eloquent presentation on the value of a classic education by Jeff Brenzel, philosopher and Dean of Undergraduate Admissions at Yale.
If you only have 3 minutes, watch times 9:10-11:03 minutes.
The first day of school in my class, and most others, we will review my syllabus. Honors English (and History classes) will turn in their summer assignment for a completion grade. Then we'll review class and school policies you need to know.
Day 1 comes with one homework assignment; the last page of my syllabus contains a parent contract that requires a signature. Turning this in will earn you 20 participation points (30% of your grade!).
On Tuesday, we will begin easing into our weekly routine. Before I give you an overview, let my explain how block days will work.
The first week of school will have a normal bell schedule, which will include block days. On these days, classes are twice as long but they are split between Wednesday and Thursday. Students will go only to their odd numbered periods on Wednesday, in order (1, 3, 5). They will go only to their even numbered periods on Thursday (2, 4, 6). 7th periods keep the same schedule every day and do not follow block rules.
Mondays and Tuesdays in my class will be the days that we do most of our book discussions. I will also introduce weekly vocabulary words on Monday, or occasionally Tuesday. This will begin week 2.
Block days will be split between grammar and writing.
Fridays will feature most of our quizzes, including a weekly vocabulary quiz.
Honors students will begin reading through our book list on our second Monday (week 2), while Traditional students will already be working through a writing workshop.
While each day is meant to encourage the student's success by following a routine as they adjust to a high school schedule, lessons may vary and are subject to change.
Students will have the opportunity to write down the week's schedule and homework assignments at the beginning of the week together as a class. This schedule will remain on my classroom whiteboard the entire week. I will post the same information on each class' page here.
I highly encourage every single student to bring a planner of some sort to school each day for the purpose of keeping track of due dates and assignments. For many students, failure to keep track of their due dates in a consistent place makes letter grades worth of difference!
I depend on each parent's open communication and support to help their child succeed as we step into a new challenge and adventure this year. Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions or concerns. I hope you will also find the resources here (and in my syllabus) helpful all through the year.
You can expect me to be strict about rules and procedures, but I will also be filled with patient answers and smiles. The first week will contain a lot of teaching and practice the rules students are learning.
I have high expectations for my students, both as scholars and humans, because I believe they can achieve them. I also champion the success of each student and look to their best interest in each of my lessons and plans. I make mistakes, and so will you. But we will learn and grow and it will be beautiful.
Ready to rejoice in the challenge, Chargers?!
All My Sincerity,
The front, homepage, will feature posts that apply to all my students and their parents.
I teach 2 classes this year: Classic Literature and Honors Classic Literature. Navigate to your class page by selecting the "Honors" or "Classic Lit." tab at the top of the homepage.
Use the "Contact" tab to get in touch with me through this website or find my email address and tutoring hours.
Homework will be listed by quarter on individual class pages, (just click the tab).
Handouts and additional links will be included under/above each week's homework assignments.
Once material is posted, I will leave it up for the rest of the year so it may be used for studying or makeup purposes. Simply scroll down to find older items in chronological order, newest at the top.
I have added buttons in the margins for easy access to helpful tools and general class information.
Tips: (Parents!) Check your class page each week for updated homework assignments. Changes will be posted there and you may email me through the Contact page at any time if you have questions.
(Students!) Make sure to submit any emailed assignments the day before it is due, including a proper message with your full name, class period, and title of assignment (subject line).
For my class, students may combine their English materials with work from other classes to save space. Our supply lists are of some debate at the moment, so I'll simply be requiring each student to organize their work for my class into 3 divided categories:
Each student will also need a lined composition book that will be used solely for English bell work. This will be referred to as their "Journal" for the year and will be periodically collected for a grade.
I recommend students use a 1/2-1 inch binder with 3 dividers, labeled: Grammar, Writing, Reading. Students will need to have loose leaf lined paper available for work; this should be included under each section as well.
Students will be taking handwritten notes and using various handouts for classwork in addition to keeping the current book we are reading with them every day. Keep this in mind when choosing folders and other organizing materials.
Materials used daily:
Black or blue pen
Loose leaf paper
Highlighters are recommended, optional. I also highly encourage students to annotate all their books. They will be required to do so for a few select books. I allow annotations to be done in any medium (including pencil), however, classwork must be done in black or blue pen without exception. This is an English department standard.
Binders can be emptied quarterly to cut down on backpack weight. However, the midterm and final will include the previous semester's lessons.
Find a container or thick folder to keep old/graded work in at home so it may be easily found for studying purposes throughout the year. It will be safe to toss after final exams.
Why I Emphasize Organization
Participation is a huge part of our grade at BFHS. Class materials are a significant part of preparedness. The students who have well organized English materials achieve the higher grades because work is not lost, but rather easily found for studying or assignment revisions. Students who cannot find work when it is needed in class lose out on participation as well as credit for the work they have done.
You may click the button to view required books for the year. I recommend purchasing each book several weeks in advance to ensure the book is available the day it is due in class.
This year's 7th grade English summer assignment is The Witch of Blackbird Pond. (Click the button at the end for full assignment.) I am really excited about this book because it features a beautifully depicted setting with real characters that tug at your heart, challenge your mind, and satisfy your imagination as you follow their journey of finding home & family.
For your essay, you will read the entire book and then answer the following questions. Write one full paragraph (typically 5-8 sentences) for each number that answers all parts of the question. You may type your assignment, but this is not a requirement. Please be sure to include your full name on your essay.
1. What do you know about the main character, Kit Tyler? How does she change in the story? What brings about those changes? Describe at least two events Kit was involved in and how these events required her to change.
2. Think of three major events in the story. What caused the events? How did one thing lead to another? Why were the events important to the story?
3. In which time period and where did the story take place? What did you learn about the time period? Think about how the characters dressed and behaved; their schooling, jobs, traditions and daily routines.
4. There were many antagonists throughout the story. Identify three antagonists and explain what they did to try and disrupt the success of the protagonist.
5. Think about the author’s writing. What do you notice about the author’s style and technique?
The assignment will be collected on the first day of class. It will be given a grade based on completion. Did you do the assignment (read the book), sincerely answer all questions, make sure it was readable, and include your full name? Then you earned full marks.
This assignment gives me an opportunity to see what you already know as you begin the year, so feel free to do your best and show me more about you through your writing!
Looking forward to meeting each of you! Please let me know if you have any questions.
Wednesday & Thursday are block days! That means Wednesday will feature only odd periods and Thursday, even numbered periods.
If you are not familiar with our modified block schedule, please take a look at the following bell schedule.
You are welcome to print your own copy for reference.