Freshmen: Wrapping Up First Quarter

Our first two weeks of reading To Kill a Mockingbird have mostly focused on how to read in high school. Students learned about annotating texts and considered ways to aid comprehension beyond annotation. We considered how to focus our reading on the building blocks of theme: character and conflict. And, we were reminded last week about why reading is so important.

This week, and for the coming weeks, we will move beyond these skill sets as we practice engaging in literate discussion and improving our analytic writing skills. After reading Chapter 10 of TKaMB aloud, students will be led through a series of questions that will scaffold their understanding of the symbolism of this chapter. Students will independently read Chapter 11, and they will then be instructed on how to compose their own questions that will foster discussion amongst a group of literate individuals. We will end the week with the introduction of our first academic essay for which students will identify a single story (based on Chimamanda Adichie’s TED talk) in the novel and explore the development and significance of that single story.

Students will be given a detailed prompt in class on Thursday and will have the whole class period to pre-write. We will spend time together in class brainstorming effective ways to pre-write for this essay. On Friday, students will compose a draft of their essay in one class period. I will provide mini-lessons throughout the next week on how to revise for a strong academic essay, and students will continue to make revisions at home.

Parents, how can you help?

  • Help your child enter the world of literate discussion by encouraging such discussion at home. Ask them their opinion on the books they read, the news reports they watch, the music they hear, etc. When students state an opinion, encourage them to explain their stance with reasons and evidence.
  • Ask your child about the paper topic. Explore ideas with them, and encourage them to seek extra help if they are unsure of expectation.
  • If you do not regularly check Power School with your child, log in together to review first quarter grades. If there are any discrepancies or issues, now is the time to contact teachers.