• English 9 Regents: An Overview of Basic Skills

    I look forward to working on the following skills this year in preparing you for high school, college, and beyond:

    READING: When we read, we mark. We will work extensively this year on the practice of annotating text. What do we mark? Studies show that good readers mark the following kinds of details when they read:

    1. What they don't understand

    2. What seems important

    3. What is repeated or related

    4. Their emotional reactions

    ...and they turn these marks into questions!

    Note: There are many advantages to marking what we read. It raises our reading comprehension, prepares us for class discussions, and prepares us for future writing assignments, to name just a few.

    WRITING: There are essentially three kinds of writing, and we will use these three modes to drive our work this year. They are:

    1. Expressive Writing: We do this in our journals, and we will do a LOT of it. Expressive writing is writing that is only for you. It can take the form of lists, diagrams, or even drawings. Most often our expressive writing will be the kind of writing where you just get as many ideas down on the page as you can without worrying about what anyone will think. Even WE don't judge our own expressive writing, which we will call freewriting. The more of this kind of writing we do, the more ideas we have--and the better they are--when it comes time to revise our ideas into something for others.

    2. Transactional Writing: This is writing that is intended to be shared with others. When we write in this mode, we usually are reworking our expressive writing into something that a specific audience wants to read. As a result of this focus, we also consider what shape or form our writing will take, be it poetry, a vignette, an essay, etc.

    3. Poetic Writing: Poetic writing is not necessarily poetry. This mode of writing represents our ultimate goal as writers. It is writing that is raised to the level of art. There are many different kinds of poetic writing, and many ways to get there. As a teacher of writing, I know poetic writing when I see it, because I have very little to say other than, "Wow--nice work!"

    Note: Because revision of transactional writing is so vital to student success and learning, students will almost always be allowed to revise their graded written work. The students who take advantage of this policy are usually the most improved writers in the class.

    SPEAKING AND LISTENING: The conversation matters!

    Speaking: There will be many various opportunities for students to speak in front of their classmates this year, including informal discussions in large or small groups, more formal, test-level seminar discussions, and even more formal speeches in front of the class. The key to success in these situations is almost always careful preparation, whether that means having read carefully, written thoughtfully in the journal, outlined key points of a presentation, or explored questions for a seminar.

    Listening: Listening is an underrated skill in our world. Those who speak well (or loudly, or often) will get a lot of attention, but often those who listen critically and well are often the most intelligent people in the room. Students can show their listening skills in many ways, including carefully following directions of others, responding thoughtfully to what others have said, and applying what they have heard in a different context.

    Note: Students will earn a quarterly listening and speaking grade (in addition to any other such grades in the grade book). This grade will be ongoing; it can change as each quarter continues and student performance levels change.