BHS Sophomores and Select Classes Prepare to Return to Broadway

For the third-straight year, the sophomore class will take a trip to see a Broadway play. In the last two years, students were able to see the Tony Award-winning production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, but unfortunately, that production is leaving New York. This year, the sophomore class, joined by the Journalism class and the cast & crew of Twelfth Night will head to New York on November 30 to see The Front Page, a comedy about competing newspapers, starring Nathan Lane, John Goodman, and John Slattery.

Students who wish to attend must get a completed permission slip and payment to their English teacher ASAP – once we fill up our 95 seats, we will be unable to take anyone else. Mr. Lally has also posted spare copies of the permission slip on his office door (Room 316)

Annual Smith Poetry Contest for Girls in grades 10 & 11

Attention, poets!

The Smith College Poetry contest, a contest for high school sophomore and junior girls who live in New England, is now open for submissions. This year’s top prize is $500, and the top poets will be invited to read their work at Smith College later this year. The deadline is December 1. If you’d like to submit CLICK HERE, and GOOD LUCK!

2016 English MCAS Scores: BHS Remains strong

The results of the 2016 MCAS exam were posted today on the statewide DESE website, and BHS is proud to announce that this year, we had 56% of our students perform at the Advanced level on the English Language Arts portion of the exam, which outperformed the state average by nine percentage points. While this is slightly down from last year’s results, where we had 60% of our scores in the highest category, it stands as the second-highest percentage of Advanced scores BHS has ever earned in the 18-year history of the MCAS.

We will no longer be able to report our SGP score – the score that measures our students’ growth over the last time they took the exam – as the current jurors did not take the MCAS in 8th grade; they took the PARCC exam instead. Therefore, it is impossible to measure each student’s growth across two entirely different exams.

The state plans on releasing SAT scores soon, and we may be able to provide better specifics about the MCAS results soon, but for now, congratulations BHS students and teachers on another strong performance!

Coming Soon: POL XI

The English Department wishes to announce the dates for the 11th annual Poetry Out Loud competition at Burlington High.

Our school wide semifinals will take place on Tuesday, January 31 – the snow date will be Thursday, February 2.

The finals will take place during long block 5 on Tuesday, February 7. The snow date is the following day, Feb. 8, during long block 6.

It’s never too early to select your poem, although it probably is too early right now, if we are being honest.

Good luck, students!

2016 Collab Poetry Contest is Now Open

From the Collab Website:

Collab wishes to announce the opening of the first of our writing contests: Our annual poetry contest.

Any BHS student may submit his or her own original poetry to the submission box outside of room 312. The submissions are made anonymous, and our student editors will determine the top entries. The best poem we receive will earn a $25 gift card to True North in Burlington. Our other prizes include a reduced price for a copy of the 2016-17 edition ($5 savings) and a pair of beverages at Starbucks.

The deadline is Thursday, September 29.

Poems can be any length, any subject material, and any quantity. Although students may submit any number of poems, they will only be eligible for one of our prizes.

Good luck, and we look forward to reading your poems!

The 2016-17 Scholastic Writing Contests are now open

The Scholastic Writing Contests are now open for student submissions. These are among the most prestigious writing competitions in the country for high school students. Students are invited to submit their original work to the competition in the following categories:

  • Critical Essay
  • Dramatic Script
  • Flash Fiction
  • Humor
  • Journalism
  • Personal Essay / Memoir
  • Poetry
  • Science Fiction / Fantasy
  • Short Story
  • Writing Portfolio (only available to seniors)

There is an entry fee, but the English Department will pay for the submissions as evenly as possible as long as the submissions come to Mr. Lally in room 316. Last year, three BHS students were recognized for their original works in fiction, poetry, and journalism. In 2015, Anjali Seereeram (class of ’15) was featured in a Boston Globe article for being one of the five “American Voices” nominees that year, making her submission one of the best in the state. For more details on how to submit, click on the link above, or see Mr. Lally. The deadline for all submissions is December 9 (or December 16 if students wish to pay for their own submission).

Summer Changes in the English Department

We’re underway in the 2016-17 school year, and we wanted to share some of the changes that the English Department has implemented for this school year:

Freshmen Vocabulary Shift
This year is the first of a two-year overhaul of our vocabulary component of our Introduction to Literature classes (i.e. our core courses for freshmen & sophomores). We have reduced the number of vocabulary units that we will teach our freshmen this year, and have simplified the definitions and the supplemental information about the word parts and the new vocabulary words that we teach. Our vocabulary webpage underwent a minor redesign as well. Next year, we will also adjust our sophomore vocabulary text.

This year, our department is also restructuring our grammar component for the Introduction to Literature courses, and will be reinforcing our grammar instruction by using NoRedInk, a website that tracks student progress and highlights student weaknesses. This shift is a long-overdue adjustment to the BHS Grammar units that we introduced six or so years ago.

American Literature Textbook
Our American Literature textbook completed the second year of its renovation, which transformed the textbook into one governed by a chronological order to one that introduces a thematic organization instead.

British Literature
This summer, the British Literature teachers met to discuss the beginning of a similar renovation to the British Literature course and the textbook as well. We expect that this will become our next major project within the department. We also cleaned up and simplified the vocabulary sections in both textbooks, and included definitions and flashcard sets to the units in the British Literature book, as we hope to improve the level of engagement that our students have with the vocabulary units.

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Our 2016-17 Textbooks