Foremost, your student should be clearly focused on the English/Language Arts End of Course Exam (EOC) to be administered next Monday and Tuesday morning. This is the first year that 9th grade students in Texas are taking a high stakes, graduation-connected, exam. At this point, the best we can do as our student’s mentors is to make sure they are well rested, fed and confident in the knowledge that we believe in them and their ability.
Before Spring Break and through this week, your student took a practice End of Course (EOC) Exam in my Geography class. You can see the assignments (but not the score yet) in GradeSpeed. This is for extra credit only. Students may earn points on their six week average grade based on their score as follows: 49 or below, no extra credit; 50 – 59, 1 point; 60 – 69, 2 points; 70 – 79, 3 points; 80 – 89, 4 points; 90 - 100, 5 points. The main purpose of this exam is not however the extra credit, but to give me data to guide instruction from the beginning of the 6th six week marking period through the actual EOC Exam in May. Students will take one more of these for me later to give them additional practice with the exam length and type. That test will be for a traditional test grade and will be our last indicator of their potential success on the actual EOC.
An additional extra credit opportunity is up in GradeSpeed and on the class calendar. This involves students learning vocabulary words, terms, book titles or names. They will take a short quiz with a sample of ten of the 57 “words” in which they must match each with both an example and a definition. This is a fairly challenging exercise, but very “do-able” for any learner if they make the appropriate effort. Because many students are seeing the “formative” (quiz) category making the most damaging impact on their grade, this assignment will be for extra points on their formative average for the six weeks. I’ve attached a copy of the assignment and your student received a copy in class.
I am very pleased to tell you that Dr. Allen purchased for the school the latest edition of Jean Kilbourne’s award willing and academically acclaimed documentary, Killing Us Softly, a sobering look at they was in which advertizing and the media’s use of female stereotypes is having a serious and damaging impact on women’s self esteem and body image. This is a serious issue in American society making an impact on both women and men. We will watch and complete a viewing guide on that after the EOC either Monday or Tuesday. You may wish to discuss this issue with your student, especially if your child is a girl.
For Pre-AP students, the pace is picking up, as advertized! They will take an additional reading check, this one on Chapter 3 of Harm de Blij’s, The Power of Place. The indications are that while students are learning to identify important points from this challenging read, they still have some difficulty expressing that understanding. We are however moving in a positive direction and I’m confident the next reading check will be a more successful one. Successful that is, if they put in the effort needed.
Pre-AP’s next essay will be a comparison essay addressing de Blij’s treatment of language and religion as they relate to globalization. Deep understanding will be needed. On the subject of essays, I must tell you I am very encouraged. Almost all students seem to have overcome the challenge of thesis statements, the first big hurdle in learning to write academic essays. This class as a whole is further along in this regard than any I have seen at this stage in their high school careers. The outlook for the future is very encouraging in this regard.
As always, feel free to reply to this email if you have questions; and as always, thank you for the privilege of helping to guide your child’s education.