Teacher Talk by Kim Jones
High School students are required to have four years of English to complete their diploma, so the Elsberry Schools employ three teachers to handle the class load for all students in high school.
Chair of the department is Sarah O’Brien who teaches English IV, English III, English IV Honors and Creative Writing. Sarah Sehie is in her second year teaching at Elsberry. She is responsible for English II, English III and Popular Fiction. Tori Towery, is also in her second year teaching, she is the first English teacher that students encounter in high school. She is responsible English I, Speech and Drama and the School Play.
All three teachers are trying a more collaborative approach to teaching English across the board to all the students. For example, the Language Arts Department is beginning the school year with informative research writing in all the classes.
In O’Brien’s English III Honors class students are researching World War II, Nazi Germany, the Holocaust and Jewish culture in preparation for understanding the nonfiction work Night by Elie Wiesel. English IV and English IV Honors students are researching The Great Depression into World War II in preparation for a literature unit covering John Steinbeck and William Faulkner. All students recently turned in their final draft of a six to eight page research paper in MLA format and are now responsible for expertise in their respective topics when they discuss the literature they are reading. Lexi Parker just gave her third hour class insight on women’s roles during The Great Depression. There was also a discussion on female characters in Of Mice and Men. Creative writing has been learning about short story construction and just began working on a first draft of a 10 page creative fiction short story. All of the students have been showing off their hard work with great writing products and wonderful student discussions about literature.
Currently in Sehie’s classes, English II and English III, the kids are working on writing research papers. They have worked really hard on conducting research for the past two weeks about a topic having to do with either the Holocaust or World War II. Now, they are taking the information that they have found and are learning how to incorporate it into an informational paper: combining their research with their owns thoughts about the topic.
English I, Towery’s class, is currently practicing researching skills in preparation for a large informative essay due at the end of the quarter. They are about to begin their first novel of the year, Of Mice and Men, a classic by John Steinbeck.
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