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Pre-AP English: Critical Thinking, Discussion, Reading & Writing (Ages 13-16)

Vanessa Roach
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Students will engage in critical reading, analysis, rhetoric, discussion, test prep, & writing using high-interest & thought-provoking essays, articles, and other texts. The class includes quizzes and writing feedback.

Class Experience

US Grade 7 - 10
Intermediate - Advanced Level
Follows Teacher-Created Curriculum
Aligned with Common Core State Standards (CCSS)
  • CLOSE READING Close reading is a skill that is required in order to discover more than an author’s message and what was said. In this course, we begin to concentrate on how an author conveys, persuades, evokes, and so on. In understanding a writer’s talent and craft, we improve our own ability to convey, persuade, and evoke. The following is a list of some of the devices and concepts that we will be focusing on: ∞ Finding patterns in a text through annotation ∞Analysis, including, for example, the author’s development of theme or tone through imagery, diction, syntax, choice of details, point of view, author’s use of figures of speech and sound devices ∞Noticing language choices: Students understand how writers and speakers use specific words and sentences to move the thoughts, emotions, and actions of readers and listeners. ∞ Reading and analyzing text through literary criticism lenses (i.e. Marxist, historical, biographical, reader response, etc.) WRITING Writing is a process. Learning to write is a process. The only way to learn how to write well is through writing and writing and writing some more. Part of the process is revision. These two activities are imperative to a good writer. Students will be able to: ∞ Write introductions that attack an issue in a thoughtful manner ∞ Write well-developed and solid paragraphs ∞ Use facts, quotations, and paraphrases as support for a stated position ∞ Write thesis statements powerful enough to dictate the direction of the paper ∞ Gain patience for deep and meaningful revisions ∞ Analyze, not simply summarize ∞ Develop a voice
-BS in Education (Reading/English 3-12, Special Education 5-12, Gifted Education 5-12)
-Masters of Arts In English Teaching
-IEW certified
-National Writing Project Trained
-Harkness Method Trained
I am a secondary English teacher with certifications in gifted education and special education. I have been professionally teaching for 7 years at all levels (dual credit, inclusion, and general education) and have a masters of arts in English education. I enjoy using discussion-based learning to help students think deeply about the texts that they read.
Homework Offered
Most weeks have required readings that are to be completed prior to the next class. At the end of each unit, students will be given a writing assignment and a test to complete as well.
0 - 1 hours per week outside of class
Assessments Offered
Grades are tracked upon parent request. Writing assignments, quizzes.
Grades Offered
This class is supportive of any specific needs of students. Please reach out if your learner needs accommodations
This class prepares students for college-level reading and writing. Students should be able to read at an 8th grade reading level and write thorough paragraphs.
Students should have a notebook for this course as well as a writing utensil. I also highly recommend printing the materials to annotate. 
In addition to the Outschool classroom, this class uses:
3rd Party Sites: Google Docs (writing assignments), Google Forms (quizzes). Students will not be providing emails. I will send students a Form link and they will take the quiz (no emails required). Students will send me the link to their writings via Google Doc links.

All texts are appropriate for the high school level. I choose quality literature from the literary canon that helps students understand themselves and the world in which they live a little better as they consider various time periods and cultures. Sensitive material and themes, such as racism, prejudices, death, oppression, religion, etc., are handled with respect for the humanity and dignity of all individuals. 

I avoid literature with any obvious or graphic sexual themes or references. Literature has religious allusions, and I sometimes point them out so that students understand the literary and cultural relevance of such. Discussion is focused on what the characters believe, what the author believes, and what beliefs were central to periods of time. Parents are welcome to listen in to class or to watch the recording, which I automatically post. I encourage students to talk to their parents about the literature and the topics that we discuss. 
Most of the texts come from The Writer's Presence, current event articles, short stories in the literary canon, or excerpts of classic texts: https://www.amazon.com/Writers-Presence-Pool-Readings/dp/1319056601

3rd Party Sites: Google Docs (writing assignments), Google Forms (quizzes). Students will not be providing emails. I will send students a Form link and they will take the quiz (no emails required). Students will send me the link to their writings via Google Doc links.
Joined April, 2020
Star Educator
Teacher expertise and credentials
Master's Degree in English from University of Southern Indiana
Indiana Teaching Certificate in English/Language Arts
Thank you for visiting my Outschool profile! Since I was 5 years-old, I knew that I wanted to be a teacher. Now, 7 years in my career, I still love it. There is nothing that I enjoy more than helping my students reach their goals and become better... 
Group Class


1x per week
50 min

Completed by 22 learners
Live video meetings
Ages: 12-16
3-10 learners per class

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