Last Legs

Friday: You will continue working on the practice Regents Exam assigned through Castle Learning. You may also work on any of the assignments contained in the following checklist:

The portfolio-based assignment indicated on that checklist will be explained in class. It is due in two parts; the first is due Monday, and the second is due by Wednesday.

Monday: You will be given feedback on your practice Regents Exam. You will hand in any revisions of the critical lens responses. Then you will finish organizing your portfolios for next year. Refer to the checklist above for what that portfolio work entails. Note also that there are a few optional assignments that can boost your score and your learning here at the end of the year.

Tuesday: You will take the Regents Exam at 8:15 AM in the gym. You already have a copy of the format and instructions on how to prepare; if it helps, here is a link to January’s examArrive on time, and bring a pen.

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Q4 Contracts

On Tuesday, May 7, you will be given a contract that covers the rest of the year in English. You’ll have every assignment, due date, and expectation. You’ll also have a version of a previous warning: Failure to use your resources wisely, to take responsibility, and to finish these assignments will jeopardize your end-of-quarter average.

Check your email before you sign this contract. If you are in danger of failing the year, you will have an email from me immediately after this post goes live. You must indicate through a read receipt that you have seen this email to receive credit for signing the contract. Here is a copy of the document for your records:

As always, send me an email or speak to me in person if you have any questions.

Q4 Update: Against the Grade

Right now, I believe three things:

  1. Grades are more damaging than they are helpful to learning.
  2. Grades are unavoidable.
  3. Regardless, there is no excuse for not completing your work.

Your current Q4 averages are live through Infinite Campus. After you see them—and instead of immediately rushing over to me, apoplectic with confused rage—look at the description of each and every assignment. Note how many of them are not content but mere completion grades. Note how many of them are, in fact, 10-point scores for doing the bare minimum—handing in a typed copy of your essay, for instance, or just completing the required Castle Learning assignment. Note the adversarial for which you had nearly a month to boost your score.

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Q3 Grades: Last Gasps

As you look over the final Q3 adversarial grades, you may notice that some of your portfolios and essays from the end of this quarter have been scored and entered into the system. As the rest of these scores are entered over the next two days, keep the following two things in mind:

  1. You will get typed feedback on your submissions on Monday.
  2. You will be asked to get that feedback signed Monday night by a parent or guardian.

If you complete #2, you will receive 25/25 points on an assignment for Q3. This is optional, but it will boost your current final average by about two points. It’s one last opportunity to improve your grade before report cards go home, but there will be no late signatures accepted. The fourth quarter has already started, after all; I am trying to sneak in a last grade by appealing to the Skinnerian rat in all of you. (Hence the bolded phrases.)

Let me know if you have any questions after we meet up on Monday.

Assignment: Argument Revisions

There are two parts to this post and assignment. Before the jump—the link that says Continue Reading—is the assignment you will start on Monday and complete by Friday, January 18. After the jump, you’ll find the revision deadline and requirements.

This week, you are looking at five student essays and determining a grade for each. These responses to the Santa Claus prompt are anonymous and taken from another period; you won’t see yours, nor will you see an essay by a student in your class. As you look at these five essays, you know that:

  • One is effective; it would earn an A (90-99)
  • One is adequate; it would earn a B (80-89)
  • One is limited; it would earn a C (70-79)
  • One is inadequate; it would earn a D (60-69)
  • One is ineffective; it would earn an F (50-59)

A folder containing these essays will be share with you through Google Drive. Look in your BHS email inbox for the link; it will be created on Sunday in preparation for Monday. As you read, your job is to work alone or in groups to justify which essay you believe belongs in which category. You must say why the essay you are reading is effective, adequate, limited, inadequate, or ineffective. To do this, you must do the following:

  1. Write a SOAPSTONE analysis. Use your notes from class, this post, or the backup copy of your notes located here. Use Friday’s work as a starting point.
  2. Within SOAPSTONE, focus first on audience and speaker. Write a complete breakdown of both for the essay you’re evaluating. The more developed the audience and speaker are in that essay, the more effective it probably is.
  3. Consider the essay’s application of basic argument, including appeals to logospathos, and ethos, plus any other techniques from Thank You for Arguing.
  4. Consider the general use of detail, arrangement and structure, and meaning of the essay.

You can work alone or in groups. You’ll have a checkpoint at the end of each period: On Monday, you need to have worked your way through one essay, deciding if it is effective, adequate, limited, inadequate, or ineffective; by Friday the 18th, you need to have finished all five. Remember that you’ll be working on the midterm, too, and that you will be able to choose how to spend your time in class.

Below is how you will turn this experimental kind of feedback into a revision.

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Update: 11/20

A few quick notes as we prepare for a four-day Thanksgiving break:

  1. Before you leave, you will have watched the film version of “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” which is archived here. If you are absent, or if you need to finish the responsive writing from class, watch this version of the story at home over the weekend.
  2. Be sure you have expanded your responses to these essential questions so that each response is at least a paragraph long. Be specific, develop your ideas, and focus on your understanding of each question.
  3. Complete the thumbnail and character sketches for the story. Download and print this handout, if necessary, and focus on creating a resource for yourself. This, along with the essential questions and annotations on the story itself, are yours to use throughout next week’s assessments.
  4. Your response essays—here is the prompt again, and here is the post archiving the submission process—will be scored over the next week. If you are one of the individuals who did not submit an essay, or if you missed one of the five required elements of the submission, you should speak to me before the four-day weekend.
  5. Finally, you were given a score report for Q1 on Friday or Monday, and you were asked to complete the assignment printed with it. If you have been absent, you will complete this report on your return; if you were present, your response and signed copy of the report were collected on Tuesday.

It is your responsibility to leave for Thanksgiving having caught up entirely in this class. You will begin the assessment process for “Owl Creek” when you return, which will include quizzes and more writing assignments; this is your opportunity to get ahead, and you should take full advantage of that.

Feedback: Prompt Decoding

Your quizzes on the essay prompt have been scored. You have today’s class period to correct your work; if you correct it in full, you will earn half of your missing points back. Remember that decoding the prompt like this always helps on the essay itself. As you correct, you should use that prompt (of course) and load the following highly effective example:

Click to enlarge.

Once you’ve corrected your work, begin setting up your story through Google Docs. Follow the directions from the prompt exactly, and bring me any questions that arise. Keep your outline with you; as long as you stay on task and with your group all period, you will earn credit when this formative step is checked in. Check the Portal for a full list of scores and associated work.