The Hughes News

Sophomore Honors English Newsletter ~ Winter 2020

Our Class Website: The Lifelong Learner

Click here to see our class syllabus, FAQs, parent resources, student projects, and more!

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I live with two teens (and teach 125 others), and gripes are par for the course. At home, I'm reminded that we don't make as much money as X and we don't go on extravagant trips like Y and we don't allow as much freedom as parent Z. It's sort of background noise at this point. We can't earn more, we do one summer trip (but not 5 throughout the year--often overseas, like many of my kids' friends), and I have a front-row seat to what happens when parents afford their teens too much freedom. If I didn't know my kids, I'd think think they didn't appreciate a thing.

A few years ago, I'd had enough. And an idea for my classroom was born.

The week before Thanksgiving, I put the brakes on what we were studying and replaced it with what I call The Gratitude Project. The students were assigned their own slide on a community Google Slide deck, where they were asked to list at least five things for which they were thankful. It wasn't a genius idea by any means, but it was definitely a paradigm shift for many of my students--especially as they headed into the holiday season. The project also involved committing a random act of kindness, writing a letter to someone for whom they're thankful, and reflecting on all of the above when they returned from break.

The results were humbling, and an annual tradition was born.

Click HERE to see what your student said s/he is thankful for this year. And click HERE to see all of this year's Gratitude Projects and to learn a little more about the project.

Regardless of what the world says about teens or what I often see at home, our teenagers are pretty fabulous. And grateful.

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While having our grade books live on iPASS helps students and their families monitor student progress, it only provides part of the picture. (Click HERE for the ins and outs of IPASS.)

Be sure to ask your student what s/he is learning, as well as how s/he behaves in and contributes to our class. Scores alone merely show whether or not students are good test-takers and/or consistent homework doers. (Honors students are usually both of these things.)

Instead, ask to see your student's Term 1 CLASS ENGAGEMENT SELF-ASSESSMENT and your student's DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP SELF-ASSESSMENT. These two end-of-the-term rubrics provide a much more complete picture as to how your child is doing in English.


I am tasked with helping your student meet 44 (!) English Language Arts standards this year. While Pearson--the online curriculum we launched last year--ensures that we do this, students will also do a slew of other engaging activities to help them meet the standards this year! (Having trouble viewing the table below? Check out a larger version HERE.)
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Is Your Student Reading at Home?

One of the requirements of an Honors English student is that s/he voraciously reads for pleasure outside of class. (See the other requirements HERE.) After all, if students wouldn't think of bypassing a workout, missing a music rehearsal, or skipping a soccer practice, they can't afford to opt out of regular at-home reading either. Check out the infographic below for reasons why reading just 20 minutes a day will give your student the edge.

Note: January means that your student should be reading his/her FIFTH (!) book of the year. Ask your reader what s/he's enjoyed so far.

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Follow Our Class on Instagram!

If you have an Instagram account, follow our class shenanigans @msbethhugheswmhs!

How to Contact Me

Have a question or concern about your learner? Email is the best way to reach teachers. With the exception of weekends, we will always get back to you within 24 hours.