The Hughes News

Sophomore Honors English Newsletter ~ May/June 2019

Our Class Website: The Lifelong Learner

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SENIORITIS: It's Not Just for Seniors Anymore

Term 4 always feels the quickest--despite the fact that it's just as long as the other three. it doesn't help that once the cold, rainy weather checks out (I've been told that's a thing) and the sunshine checks in, it's a challenge to keep students motivated. Senioritis (i.e., the loss of motivation that used to only afflict seniors once they'd been accepted to college) no longer discriminates, kicking in at every grade level come springtime. Students begin yearning for sandy beaches and sunscreen instead of focusing on classrooms and compositions! The video above offers some great tools for all of us as we help our teenagers stay motivated. Likewise, THIS ARTICLE offers some helpful strategies as well. Fight the good fight!
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For Parents of Almost-Juniors

The college-planning process is overwhelming. Thankfully, there are a slew of resources at your disposal. The good news? You don't need to invest in a college coach or shell out a lot of money on an SAT tutor.

You. And. Your. Student. Can. Do. This.

Your family already has its own personal college coach here at WMHS: your guidance counselor. Don't undervalue this rich resource. Your student can book appointments as needed, and parents are encouraged to reach out with any questions as well. Your student's guidance counselor can offer suggestions of what schools are within reach and which ones are the Reach Schools. College Panic usually sets in for students who wait for everyone else to begin the college process for them. To avoid this hot mess, (gently!) encourage your student to begin the process now.

A great starting point is Naviance, the online platform the district uses. (Your student already has a personalized account.) This website includes surveys to help learners narrow down their career options, identify their passions and strengths, and search for schools using various filters (e.g., small college close to home). This is also where students can build their resume, corral their volunteer experience, and make their formal requests for teacher recommendation letters. (Note: The teacher recommendation should always be requested in-person first. Here is one of my favorite articles for when that time comes. After spring break next year is the best time for students to ask teachers for letters, so that we have the summer to write them.)

Rather than investing money in the pre-college process (since tuition, room, and board will cost aplenty!), take advantage of all of the free resources at your disposal first. I swear by checklists. Creating--and then following--a year-by-year checklist for college planning is crucial. The College Board's website is a great starting point. (This is the outfit that writes and assesses the SAT, ACT, & AP exams.) Most of the resources are entirely free. So, if you haven't already, be sure to create a free parent account. (I just created one last week for my incoming high school freshman. Gulp.) And there is even a year-by-year checklist to help parents--and students--feel a bit more in control of this otherwise daunting season. Here is the roadmap for what your almost-junior should do this summer and throughout junior year. And here is a quick article that includes a five-item checklist for college-bound, high school juniors.

Is the process overwhelming? Absolutely. Is the entire process a whole lot more complicated and competitive than when we were applying to college? That's an understatement! But can we survive this? You bet!

Unit 4: All That Glitters

For Term 4, the students and I are exploring Unit 4 in Pearson, entitled "All that Glitters." (This is a nod to Shakespeare's warning in THE MERCHANT OF VENICE: "All that glisters is not gold.") Click on the turquoise box to see the entire unit.

Allusions 101

A little bit of one story joins onto an idea from another, and hey presto, . . .

not old tales but new ones. Nothing comes from nothing.

~Salmon Rushdie

The students and I recently practiced this referencing of one idea within another in our emulation writing. We discussed the three general types of references or allusions: literary (i.e., references to literature), biblical (i.e., references to the Bible), and historical (i.e., references to an event/person in history).

After looking at some fabulous examples in literature, the students set out to make this sophisticated technique their own. Take a look at some of their publishing!

  • She played lots of tricks on her friends, but she was no Harry Potter.

  • That night, she met her Prince Charming, and together they would have their happily ever after.

    • The match-up for in the game was extremely lopsided. All the underdogs had was a slingshot and their faith.

    • I went to the restaurant planning to eat a salad, but those apps were my Achilles heel.

    • The battle seemed like Vietnam, as snowball after snowball was hurled at my fortress of ice.

    • That day I vowed to cut my hair so short, because if men can climb hair, I can’t take my chances.

    • I’m no Shakespeare, but I personally believe that my poem is exceptional!

    • He was a renaissance man: His big, lofty arms were powerful in the ring, but also precise on the canvas.

    • When his friend told the teacher that he’d been cheating on his homework, he felt like his friend was a real Judas.

    • When coughing all day during school, the boy suddenly wished he had pulled a Ferris Bueller.

    • All-day whispers surrounded me, the crowded hallway parting like the Red Sea as I walked from class to class.

    • Oh my goodness, there’s so many people here. We’re going to need a loaves-and-fishes kind of miracle to feed them all.

    • As the girl struggled to pick up her backpack, her only thought was that the hammer of Thor had to be lighter.

    • I’d lend you money if I could, but do I look like Bill Gates?
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