Welcome to English 11 Honors! Here are some ideas and practices, based in the English Standards, that may be new to you this year:
READING: I encourage you to mark what you read, and to develop your own personal shorthand for these annotations. When you mark your text, your comprehension is significantly better. You are also better prepared for class discussions, and ahead of the game when it comes time to write about what you read. I especially encourage you to mark those "muddy points" in the texts we read--that is, to dive into the problems and ambiguities that great literature presents us with, and to formulate questions based on these notes. This is one way that you will develop critical thinking skills and acquire greater independence as writers.
Note: Because I encourage you to mark your text, I also encourage you to purchase your own books. (Because we are a public school, we cannot require it.) If you would like the ISBN number of any of the books we read, so that you may purchase one and have your own copy to mark up, contact me and I will share that information with you.
WRITING: As a result of the practice described above, I will encourage you to create your own topics for the papers you write, be they creative writing assignments, more analytical essays, or some other form of written response. I rarely give a specific assignment or set of options for students to write about, becuase as a result of careful reading and annotating, involvement in discussions, and a lot of "raw" writing in your journals, you will usually have a variety of self-generated topics that you are truly motivated to explore in writing.
Note: Because the real key to success in writing is revision, I encourage all students to set up writing conferences with me as they develop their ideas for assigned papers. I also want you to know that you may revise any paper, pretty much at any time. Students who take advantage of these two policies are invariably the students who improve the most as writers throughout the year.
SPEAKING and LISTENING: The written exploration described above is only one way that we develop our skills in English. Through discussion of the issues that great works of literature raise for us, and through truly listening empathetically to our classmates, we can "meet up" with the minds of others, and truly develop as thinkers through their influence. You will have ample and varied opportunities to practice these skills this year, through large and small group class discussions, socratic seminars, and class presentations.
Note: There will be a speaking and listening grade on each quarter of the year, which will be an ongoing grade that can change depending upon performance, over time.
I look forward to a fun and rewarding year! Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns at any time!