English Teachers...how many essays per year?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by socaligirl, May 1, 2009.

  1. socaligirl

    socaligirl Rookie

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    May 1, 2009

    I'm just wondering how many formal essays are assigned per year in the average English class?

    What are the main assignments that are used for grades?

    Are most of the grades made up of a few major assignments, or many smaller assignments?

    After majoring in English and having my grades based on three essays per class, I can't recall how jr. high and high school English tasks are assigned.
     
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  3. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    May 1, 2009

    We have a standardized writing test, so I make them write a lot! Their daily warm-up is either a journal entry of my choosing or an editing exercise. For MS, we start out with how to write a good sentence, then how to write a good paragraph, before we move into essays. They end up with probably 3 or 4 essays per quarter.

    My grade breakdown is:
    Homework - 10%; 2 or 3 per week
    Classwork - 10%; journal entries
    Quizzes - 20%; 1 or 2 per week
    Tests - 20%; 2 or 3 per quarter, depending on unit
    Projects/Essays - 25%; 1 book project per quarter; 2 in-class group projects per quarter;
    Final Exam - 15%

    I am so big on writing and project-based education that I make it the focus of my class.
     
  4. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    May 1, 2009

    I remember in HS, we were assigned 1 book report essay, and 2-3 additional research paper essays.
     
  5. Writer's Block

    Writer's Block Companion

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    May 2, 2009

    We write a lot in my class. Every day starts with some sort of writing response journal entry. I like to use quotes that pertain to what we are reading or doing in class that day, and they write an interpretation of the quote or how it relates to a story or their life.

    As far as actual essays, we write 1-3 per six weeks grading period. There are plenty of pieces that are not taken all the way through publication. Sometimes we only do prewriting with a prompt, sometimes we go through revising and editing, and some pieces will be taken all the way through publication. I will take grades during each step of the process.

    Tests, writing, and projects make up 40% of the six weeks grade. If there are 3-5 grades in that category, none will be big enough that a student will fail the six weeks if they do poorly on one (or even two) of the assignments.
     
  6. bluelightstar

    bluelightstar Companion

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    May 8, 2009

    Typically, we have 2-3 formal "test grade" essays per grading period.
     
  7. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    May 8, 2009

    I'm HUGE on writing about what your learning as a great teaching method. However, I am curious as to a few details....


    How much feedback do you give on these assignments? How often do you require them to revise and resubmit these assignments?


    If you start every class with a writing assignment, do you really have time to give detailed feedback of the work that the students have done?

    If they write something but don't get feedback on the quality of the writing, how do they learn from it?

    I teach math and it's a bit easier. They do my bell work and then I model how they should have been done. I don't have the time for one on one with every problem, but I do give them feed back on every problem and answer every student who asks a question on them.

    How does this work in an english class where each writing assignment is unique to the student?
     
  8. dovian

    dovian Comrade

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    May 19, 2009

    To Muttling:
    Different kinds of writing have different purposes. Some, like homework in my case, has a structural purpose as well as content - in your answer, did you restate the question, give an example, explain? Does it make sense? If so, good. We go over what excellent homework looks like, vs. good or so-so. It's just practice. When I give formal essays, I do give feedback as to specific grammar/spelling errors as well as content, organization, etc. How do they learn anything when I don't give specific feedback? Well, like I said, sometimes it's not about the writing itself, but the content.

    To the OP: I give 1-2 formal essays per MP. If I only had those as grades you better bet I'd be in trouble from the admins! A good rule of thumb is one graded assignment per week of term, whether that be homework, classwork, project, essay, or whatever else you can come up with. Homework for me tends to be analysis questions on the reading we do; sometimes also vocab work or short writing pieces. I like to give creative projects as well; not everyone is an English person, so I have some assignments that allow students to show their understanding in different ways.
     
  9. socaligirl

    socaligirl Rookie

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    May 20, 2009

    I like that rule of thumb! It seems like anything more than that might give the teacher an overload of work to grade!

    I went to observe a class for a couple weeks. It seemed like she had a good variety. I think in the two weeks that I watched her, she had one classwork group assignment, one quiz on the daily reading, and one formal homework assignment. On top of that they had an ongoing assignment of an essay that they had four weeks to do.

    Does that seem about right? Too much? Too little?
     

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