The Hughes News

Sophomore Honors English Newsletter ~ February 2018

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Communication can be tricky at times. And if your home is anything like the Hughes Casa, sometimes you only get one-word answers (grunts?) to your questions. (#thestruggleisreal) In that vein, the short video below features a slew of teenagers sharing what they wish their parents really knew about their day-to-day lives. (The title slide stays on for about 5 seconds.) It is a great snapshot of what I tend to hear in the classroom. But rarely at home. Enjoy!
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As you saw on your student's report card (which went live on 1/30/18), the Midyear Exam results were excellent--both performance-wise and grade-wise. (No surprise there, as honors students typically excel at Doing School.) For me, the best part was seeing the students' high level of critical thinking and rich reflection along with the low level of stress. (See the January Parent Newsletter and/or this blog post for a refresher on what our Midyear entailed.) After the midyear, students reflected on the process. Take a look at some of the responses below.

  • This assignment was very different from all my other midyears, because it actually gave room for some individuality. It was not like the other monotonous tests I had to spend hours studying for; I spent probably a comparable amount of time writing the essay and reading all the articles, but it was a much more enjoyable experience. I would also say that I learned a lot more doing this midterm than all my others, since that was just regurgitating information I had already learned, but this was a self-reflection that helped me learn more about my relationship with reading as well as others.

  • I was much less stressed for my English midyear compared to the rest of my midyears. I felt as though my knowledge was tested on a deeper level during this midyear rather than whether or not I can read something off of an index card that I was up writing until 2 am the night before.

  • Other subjects don’t require as much thinking and insight as the English midyear. Other midyears are usually written tests, a good many of them only requiring students to memorize facts, vocabulary, grammar, formulas, etc. In order to do well on the English midyear, you had to be able to carry an organic discussion with your peers, which prepares students for the real world because this skill is required often in society and the workforce.

  • I felt as though I could express myself better than on a [multiple choice test, filling in bubbles on a] scantron. I got my opinions across and could also talk to my peers...and also learned things during this assessment.

  • In my other midyears, the preparation mostly consists of cramming information in and copying down as much as you can onto a notecard.

  • Most of my other midyears require studying, memorizing, and a lot of stress...English was not nearly as stressful as any other subject.

  • My English midyear was “easier” to prepare for than a 100-question multiple choice test, but I felt like I got more out of it. As I was preparing for [another] midyear last night, I realized that I wasn’t focused on learning and understanding the material, rather on cramming everything I could into my brain and onto a notecard. During the English midyear, I feel like that lower level of stress surrounding it made it feel more like a chance to learn something rather than get an A. I certainly can’t say I thought about anything differently while taking the 100-question multiple choice test during [the other Midyear], but I did during English today.

  • The learning that took place during this midyear did not involve cramming information in and forgetting it right after the test is taken over. It also was stress-free which opened students' minds up because they weren’t just worried about their grades and if they were going to get the answer right or wrong. This helped me learn a life skill rather than content specific skills about learning something about a subject that may not help you with any other topic.

  • English had a totally different atmosphere. I was not stressed for my English midterm, but I still think I was remembering the things I had learned throughout the year. My other classes I cram the days before and then forget everything the day after the test. I don’t really think it is a good way for me to learn.

  • I feel this Midyear is much more welcoming and forgiving than other classes', and I feel I am more I have more independence in this class than others.
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