The Hughes News

Sophomore Honors English Newsletter ~ June 2018

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A few weeks ago, PBS launched The Great American Read program--which is the first-ever, nation-wide contest where readers select the best book out there! The voting will last through the summer. Click HERE for more details and to watch the two-hour launch program, hosted by Meredith Vieira, who travels the nation to find the top 100 books. And click HERE to go directly to the Top 100 list.
A (Quick!) End-of-the-Year Parent Survey

Please click on the blue button above to complete a FIVE-MINUTE Parent Survey. The results are anonymous and will help me improve what I do in the classroom.

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A Summer WRITING Program?

It would be a shame for your student--after making such tremendous writing strides this year--to take the summer off from writing altogether. Yet, schools tend to only focus on summer reading programs.

Granted, as I shared at Back to School Night and in previous issues of this newsletter, reading is the number one way for students to improve their writing. It's even more beneficial than writing itself!

However, writing is another great way to boost their skills, too. This year, your student not only wrote and revised one major essay each term (which is what is required in every English class). Your student also published monthly book reviews online, emulated writers' tools in class, performed routine ten- and fifteen-minute writing bursts (i.e., "Quick-Writes") in Google Classroom, and published regularly to their Passion Blogs. While it meant a whole lot of extra grading for Teacher Lady, regular writing really is where it's at.

On our (anonymous) End-of-the-Year Survey, two comments validated all of the extra work the students and I did this year. See their comments below.

STUDENT #1: With the mix of book reviews, blog posts, essays, and quick writes, I wrote a lot more frequently and thought of ideas for future assignments easier.

STUDENT #2: Unlike my previous English teachers, Ms. Hughes took it upon herself to teach me tools that could actually benefit my writing for both professional and unprofessional writing. I know how I am supposed to format and how my tone is supposed to sound in an English MCAS essay compared to personal story I am writing.

However, studies show that when we don't use skills--in any discipline--we lose them. (This applies to us adults, too. Let's just say that my piano-playing was a bit more impressive pre-kids!) My wish for the students is for them to continue--this summer and beyond--all of the fabulous, real-world publishing they've been doing all year! I'll be encouraging them to continue posting reviews on Goodreads to help other readers (they can be short and sweet since Teacher Lady won't be grading them anymore!) and to continue posting to their Passion Blogs. (Again, blog posts can be shorter, too!) And a third option is to just practice writing for themselves. No audience. No rubric. Just practice, practice, practice. HERE is a list of 55 prompts that teenagers can use in their routine writing. I'll be encouraging your writer to set aside time each week this summer to just write.

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The students learned what a metaphor is back in elementary school (i.e., a comparison of two unlike things without using "like" or "as"). However, infusing them into their writing is a different story. The students know them. They can identify them. They just don't use them. In that vein, 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!

  • My brain was a puddle; leaking out of my mouth and dripping all over the floor.

  • Her smile took on the brightness of the sun.

    • The silk of her voice poured past her lips.

    • She was steel. Strong and proud and holding up the world on her own.

    • The curtains of his eyes were drawn as he began to fall asleep.

    • A smooth river of lyrics flowed from her mouth, and it sounded heavenly.

    • She brought a storm wherever she went, chaos and lightning following her every move.

    • Her voice was like honey, her smile, a sunbeam. Her personality was sweet lemonade on a summer day.

    • She was the moon, the stars, even the whole solar system to him.

    • My grades are drowning in a sea of procrastination.

    • Your team is five fingers; my team is a hand.

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