Language & Composition

Mr. Eure | Brewster High School

Opening Salvo

Let me officially welcome you, Kinder, to the 2012-2013 school year. The next ten months are likely to be different for you, regardless of the expectations you have brought into the room, because our focus in 2012 (for however long the latter lasts) and 2013 is you—but not any fuzzy emotionality or set of nascent likes and dislikes. This year, our focus is metacognition, a term for thinking about how we think and analyzing how your mind operates as it learns new skills and internalizes new information. It is a different from reflection, which is another key component of the learning process. This year-long focus will be explained in greater detail in a future post; for now, you are probably only interested in getting your course materials and learning what will happen with your summer work. And probably not in that order.

What will happen with your summer work. I’ll keep this as simple as I can, because the first week or two or three promise to be a treacherous morass of state testing and desultory panic, and that makes simplicity like water in the desert:

  • No more comments can be added as of this morning.
  • If you didn’t comment all summer, you will suffer no penalty in the gradebook (which I took to writing last year in all caps—THE GRADEBOOK—since it shouts down most of our more authentic efforts).
  • If you did comment, you will earn a number of points based on the quantity and quality of your contributions.
  • This point pool will be filled over the next week, which is about how long it will take me to read the 544 comments you’ve left.
  • In the meantime, you will write an essay using the summer texts, your compendium notes, and these online discussions.

You will be able to use the pool of points you earned over the summer to increase your final score on any assignment you complete over the rest of the year. That means that you can boost a failing quiz grade in Q1 or save your points for one of our final papers. The only assessments that you can’t artificially inflate with this accumulated extra credit are the midterm and final exam.

About that essay mentioned a moment ago. It will be posted Friday, due next Friday, and completed entirely out of class. You’ll have a word count limit and a set of specific (and challenging) instructions.

And now the opening materials. Read the following carefully. Start with the syllabus; review the English policies, which are virtually unchanged from last year; and then complete the information sheet, getting a parent or guardian to fill out and sign the appropriate section:

These documents will also be shared with you through Google Docs. If you still need access to your Google account, be patient until next week; once the educational machinery around us has wheezed back to life, we’ll sort out any and all technology and access issues.

Back to the opening materials: Signing that information sheet indicates that you’ve reviewed the syllabus and familiarized yourself with this website. It is due on Monday, and submission will earn you 25/25 points. You can see examples of how previous students have answered the call of the empty box by visiting this Flickr site:

This is part of your introduction to the course and my introduction to you. Take your time with it.


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