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<<  Synergy Alternative High School / Academics / English Ms. McKinley
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My students will focus on two major objectives this semester. They will work to improve their writing and reading skills. 

Writing assignments will vary. Some examples of writing assignments include argumentative writing, narrative writing, and summarizing. Students will also be required to respond to prompts about fiction and non-fiction articles and stories. All writing assignments will focus on specific goals. For example, students may be asked to write claims and logical counterclaims for argumentative writing, students will be required to support reasons with textual evidence when responding to reading, or they may be required to include quotations for supporting facts, details, and explanations.  We will practice all aspects of the writing process.


Writing Process

Demonstrating Steps 1-7:

  • Step 1: Brainstorming-Using Critical Reading Study Guides to identify important topics about teens and the justice system
  • Step 2: Categorizing-Using a graphic organizer to identify information about 5 major topics for all 4 teens’ articles
  • Step 3: Outlining-Using words and phrases to put main ideas and supporting details for paragraph into logical order
  • Step 4: Writing Rough Draft-Creating a rough draft by transforming outline into complete sentences and checking for understanding
  • Step 5: Editing and Revising-Using a checklist to proofread, edit and revise rough draft paragraph
  • Step 6: Peer Editing-Using a checklist to proofread and discuss the strengths and areas in need of improvement with a peer
  • Step 7: Writing Final Draft-Creating a final draft by including all editing, revising, and constructive criticism from peer and teacher


In addition to writing, students will strive to improve their reading skills. We will read a variety of texts as well as newspaper, magazine, and internet articles. We will focus on all skills used during the STAR reading test including reading comprehension, identifying text structure, using context clues, analyzing literary elements, and making inferences. Students will also have a book of their choice which they will read independently during Silent Sustained Reading sessions and any time they finish their daily assignments. We will practice critical reading skills.


Critical Reading

Demonstrating Steps 1-7:

  • Step 1: Predict-Preview the text to infer what it will be about. Read the title, words in italics or bold print, captions, pictures.
  • Step 2: Outline-Identify main ideas and support. Break text down into small pieces, like paragraphs, and review topic and conclusion sentences.
  • Step 3: Reflect-Examine challenges to your beliefs and values. Do you agree or disagree with anything written in the text?
  • Step 4: Question-Consider the author, the topic, the arguments, the conclusions. What did you learn? What else would you like to know?
  • Step 5: Summarize-Think about the overall topic. What are the most important ideas, opinions, facts, themes? Rewrite in your own words.
  • Step 6: Analyze-Examine the reason the author wrote the piece. Who is the author’s intended audience? What other writing is relevant?
  • Step 7: Evaluate-Consider the arguments and conclusions of the piece. What are your final thoughts?What does the support prove or disprove?


Participating in their education is also a critical part of any course. With this in mind, I encourage students to join me as a team member as we progress through the semester.


Education Partner

  • Assist in choosing lesson plan topics
  • Peer tutor in pairs and groups
  • Create study guides, quizzes and answer keys
  • Research articles to use in lessons
  • Edit and revise student work
  • Provide constructive feedback
  • Develop homework assignments
  • Participate in class discussions
  • Hartford Courant Top Work Places 2011 Award Ribbon
  • Hartford Courant Top Work Places 2012 Award Ribbon
  • Hartford Courant Top Work Places 2013 Award Ribbon
  • Hartford Courant Top Work Places 2016 Award Ribbon
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