We are officially 1/4th of the way through the year and half-way through first semester! It is amazing to think that we have come so far so quickly, and the year goes by and by. The students have had some time to sit down and reflect on their progress this semester, and when comments from teachers go out next week, the students will be coming home with written reflections about each essential learning, their student progress cards, and their grade reports with their averages for each essential learning as well as their overall averages.
Parents may be wondering, what should my child know and be able to do by the 9 week mark because of his work in English 8? At the end of the first 9 weeks, students in my 8th grade English Class should be able to say “I can..” to all of the Essential Learnings from the 5 week mark, as well as the following:
- I can participate in a balanced way.
- I can build on another’s comment.
- I can ask questions.
- I can annotate a text using multiple annotation techniques.
- I can describe what it means to analyze.
- I can analyze a text.
- I can comprehend what I read.
- I can identify the following literary devices: in medias res, invocation to the muse, epithet, catalogue, narrative poem, epic, epic simile, direct characterization, indirect characterization, allusion, flashback ….
- I know what literary analysis means.
- I can write a research paper (see the writing section at the 5 week mark- our assessment of those skills took place at the end of these 9 weeks).
- I can cite sources with parenthetical citations and works cited.
- I can find reliable sources.
- I can use my research to inform my opinion and then back up my opinion with facts from my research.
- I can incorporate my research into a written paper.
- I can consistently be on time to class.
- I can turn in my work on time.
- I can be proactive about coming to office hours when I earn a 1 or a 2 or I don’t understand a concept.
To all of these elements, your son should be able to say, “yes I can.” We will continue to build on these skills throughout the next part of the semester as we move into the next 5 week period.
Coming up in the next 5 weeks, we will be working on the organization of a literary analysis paper on The Odyssey, focusing on the question: How does The Odyssey act as a window to the culture of ancient Greece? How does it act as a mirror to our time? What values hold steady over time? Why? Students will choose one Greek value they see playing out in The Odyssey and use that as a guide for literary analysis and research. While working on writing, students will continue their discussion skills, their reading skills, and their responsibility skills. Some “I can” statements we will be building include:
- I can use a hook to start my introduction.
- I can end my introduction with a specific, arguable thesis statement that sets up an analysis.
- I can organize my body paragraphs with topic sentences, lead-ins, quotes, and lead-outs.
- I can organize my conclusion so that it answers the So What? question.
- I can use a comma with independent clauses, dependent clauses, and lists.
- I can speak with eye contact, voice modulation (tone, speed, volume), and body language to capture my audience’s attention.
- I can comprehend what I read.
- I can annotate and do a close reading of a text.
- I can analyze.
And the list goes on!!! Stay tuned for an update around the 14 weeks.