Freshmen and Sophomore Honors

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Unbeknownst, May 12, 2010.

  1. Unbeknownst

    Unbeknownst Cohort

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    May 12, 2010

    How hard do you push freshmen and sophomore honors students?

    I just found out I will be teaching two honors classes, and I want to know how to go about my prep.

    I remember when I was in high school how much I hated the "fake" honors classes that were just honors by name (where the teachers didn't teach honors material).

    I'm going to be a teacher that pushes my students, but I have no idea how much freshmen and sophomore honors students will know when they get into my class.
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 12, 2010

    That's so great!!!!

    I've taught frosh honors the past few years, and this year have Soph Honors instead. They're so much fun. They're bright and willing and ready to learn, but enjoy a joke as much as the next class.

    Today there was a BIG bumblebee in my class during a test. It provided quite a distraction, but not to the extent that the test was comprimised.

    As to how far to push-- that you'll learn as you go on. Some will depend on your syllabus, some on the personality and background of the kids you end up with.

    But you're going to have a blast!!

    Congrats!!
     
  4. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    May 12, 2010

    Congratulations!!!!!


    Honors are a different breed and it's a lot of work teaching an honors class, but it's well rewarded.

    In Tennessee, the honors classes have very specific additional requirements including the preparation and presentation of curriculum related projects. For us, it's more than just tackling the more difficult problems and moving a faster pace. This said, many honors teachers assume the honors curriculum is the same and are stunned when they hear this.

    I suggest you start with your state's expectations of an honors class and build from there.
     
  5. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    May 12, 2010

    I teach Western Civilization I Honors and CP. I'll give you a little breakdown of my classes:

    Honors:
    1. One Essay per unit (CP has one per trimester)
    2. Research Paper (CP has one, very scaled down research project/trimester, done mostly in class)
    3. More writing on quizzes and tests (60% of assesments are writing for honors, and 40% of assesments are for CP)
    4. More critical thinking assignments and discussions/debates
    5. Assesments are worth 70% of their grade where in CP it's only 60.
    6. Much more primary source analysis and discussion.
    7. More group presentations

    In short, Honors isn't a fast paced CP class. Nor a CP class with more work. Rather my honors classes have DIFFERENT types of work and assesments; not more--but different and often times harder.
     
  6. newbie1234

    newbie1234 Companion

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    May 13, 2010

    My district has pretty specific requirements for the pacing and content of honors courses. Your state and district requirements are definitely something to look into before you start planning lessons.

    I tend to err on the side of enrichment rather than acceleration. It depends on your students, though.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 13, 2010

    Sophomore year is the best!!! It's where they become, for better or worse, the people they'll be for the rest of their lives. It's an amazing year of growth and a riot to experience along with them.

    As to the particulars: YOU are new to Honors, but the course has been there all along. Take a look at the syllabus and the materials provided by your school (don't you love being able to say that??) Ask if there's a pacing guide or anything similar. Are you the only Honors teacher or are there others? Will the kids all be taking the same final exam at the end? These things will also help define what "honors" means in your school.
     
  8. SunnyGal

    SunnyGal Companion

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    May 13, 2010

    I teach freshmen honors English. They LOVE, LOVE, LOVE discussions, so I do a lot of Socratic Seminars with them. I do a lot more projects with them than I do with my CP classes. I also go a lot more in depth with material.

    I'm about to head to school, but I will go through my honors "stuff" today, and I'll try to post more specifics this evening! :)
     
  9. Unbeknownst

    Unbeknownst Cohort

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    May 13, 2010

    SUPER beneficial. Thank you for taking the time to go through that with me.

    P.S. What does "CP" mean? I can deduce that it is the normal curriculum, but I'm still not sure what the acronym means (which is part of the teacher learning curve .... learning all those acronyms!!!)
     
  10. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    May 13, 2010

    The fact that they are never the same from one place to the next only increases the steepness of the curve! :lol:
     
  11. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    May 13, 2010

    CP=College Track (normal, on level) classes.
     
  12. Unbeknownst

    Unbeknownst Cohort

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    I have no fear that I will eventually learn what I need to teach during my honors courses, but I'm just confused right now because there's no state standard I can look up.

    I can go to the TEA website and look up the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) for 9th and 10th grade right now to see what I'm required to teach, but there is no section for honors courses.

    However, I'm already more comfortable after your comments so far. I'm now thinking more in the lines of evaluation and synthesis to differentiate my honors classes from core curriculum.

    My only thing though is that I don't want the honors courses to have all the fun :) I'd like to work in some of those group projects and higher-ordered thinking materials with my core curriculum too.
     
  13. Unbeknownst

    Unbeknownst Cohort

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    How'd the "T" in Track turn in to a P!? :dizzy:

    Boy, I got a long ways to go ... :lol:
     
  14. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 13, 2010

    "College Preparatory"???
     
  15. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    May 13, 2010

    Gotta be, Alice.

    I wonder if Unbeknownst might also find useful material on the district level, or perhaps on the Web site of the Texas state association of teachers of English, whatever it's called. I'd also be inclined to Google "lesson plans english honors texas" (and mix up the order of those terms) to see what pops up.
     
  16. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 13, 2010

    I say you take deep breaths and hold on until you get your materials.

    Or visit the school's website and find out what the summer reading is. Even if you've read those books before, you'll want to reread them! It might get you a good headstart on your prep. And pick up the Cliff Notes for those books-- You'll want to include details NOT in the Cliff Notes to make a point to the kids that you don't need to take the shortcuts.
     
  17. CindyBlue

    CindyBlue Cohort

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    May 13, 2010

    I'm lucky in that I have pretty much carte blanche in how my honors classes are taught. I assess often, especially in the first few weeks, both fomally and informally, and assess again for each topic introduced as the year goes on. If they are already well prepared in an area, I expand it and explore it more than the other classes - rather than fundamentals and skills, we work on applications and more complex types of problems. I'm also lucky in that I've been doing this long enough and have amassed enough resources that I can "go with the flow" and change-up a lesson pretty much instantly, slowing down if I see a gap and moving on if they are already competant with a concept. One thing I try to do is not make too much any "more" work for them, because if they are in my honors class then there is a good chance that they are trying to balance a heavy load of academics in other subject areas too.
     
  18. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    May 13, 2010

    Cliffs AND SparkNotes...
     
  19. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    May 13, 2010

    Honors kids never use Spark notes, what are you talking about ;)
     
  20. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    May 13, 2010

    CP=College Prep or College Preparatory at my school we have a few basic levels:
    1) Comprehensive (SPED classes, some basic art/gym classes)
    2) College Prep B
    3) College Prep A
    4) Honors
    5) AP

    College Prep B though is only for Math, Science, and English the "tested" subjects.
     
  21. Soccer Dad

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    May 13, 2010

    I teach the Honors track for both 9th & 10th grade, too. I LOVE it. I know exactly what my students know in 10th grade and can build on that. As for my 9th graders, I just sample them the first day of school. (My biggest fear, and rightly so, is that they can't write well. "How many essays did you write last year in English? in Social Studies? do you know what a person pronoun is?" and then I go from there.)

    I stress writing in my classes. Therefore, I have them write one essay per unit and a term paper.

    Differences between Regents and Honors:
    1) The material is so ridiculously watered down for the Regents, it's unbelievable. However, let's suspend reality and say it was adequate. The Honors material takes the Regents guideline for Global History and builds on it tremendously. For instance, Regents Question: "Justinian is best known for________ a) developing the Pythagorian theorem, b) nothing, he was useless, c) conquering the known world, d) creating a unified code of law." Honors Question: "With whom can Justinian be compared to? a) Theodora, b) Hammurabi, c) Marx, d) Napoleon, e) none of the above.")

    2) The type of essays in my Honors classes require more critical thinking and research. Additionally, I stole ideas from AP World, AP U.S., and AP English Comp. for prompts. I LOVE giving them a quote and saying, "Defend, challenge or qualify..."

    3) I expect them to not only KNOW the material but also APPLY it.
     
  22. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    The trick is to teach 'em HOW to use SparkNotes and Cliffs...
     
  23. BCPMWK

    BCPMWK Companion

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    Jun 6, 2010

    *Look through some lesson plans for PRE-AP English 9
    *Think about what critical thinking skills you want them to master
    *Get your hands on your textbooks as soon as possible
    *Definitely read or re-read the summer list
    *Consider an open-ended type quiz for summer reading, so that the students will have to provide enough info that you know they've read the book...plot development, characterization, setting...with explanations! (ex. What is the setting? How is the setting integral to the development of the novel?)
    *Email your new dept chairman or dept member and ask for information regarding what short stories or novels are usually required/taught in your new school. (I would just look at the faculty listings on the school's website.)
    **9th grade usually includes Romeo and Juliet, and selections from The Odyssey in its curriculum, so you could probably start looking for lesson ideas online for those two works...
    Good Luck!
     

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