Teaching High School Grades

by | Sep 4, 2018 | Teaching Strategies | 0 comments

If you enjoy “Teaching High School Grades”, please make sure to check out the rest of the “Changing Grade Levels” series.

  1. Teaching a New Grade Curriculum
  2. Teaching Primary School Grades (Lower Elementary)
  3. Teaching Elementary School Grades
  4. Teaching Middle School Grades
  5. Teaching High School Grades

The final required educational level for students is the Secondary Grades, 9-12. In High School, students begin to focus on what they need in order to reach their life goals. Ninth Grade can often feel like teaching younger students, as they are the “babies” of the upperclassmen and many are still maturing. As students get closer to graduation, they tend to realize they need to get serious about their studies in order to graduate. However, students will have different goals for after graduation – college, military, trade – and some students may need academic, social and emotional support to reach their goals.

This post will be separated into Underclassmen (9-10) and Upperclassmen (11-12). Each grade level will have an overview along with bulleted standards expectations for each of the following disciplines: English Language Arts (ELA), Mathematics (Math), Science (Sci), and Social Science (SS).

High School Underclassmen – Ninth and Tenth Grades

Ninth Grade (Freshmen) is as awkward a transition for students as the transition from sixth to seventh grade.  Students arrive in high school overwhelmed and uncertain of expectations for both academic and social settings. They may be undersized and emotionally more immature that the other grade levels. The single biggest mistake teachers make at this grade level is treating them like high school students on day one. These students need to be taught exactly what it means to be a high school student – the differences in grading from middle grades, academic and social expectations within their graduating class as well as among the other classes.

Tenth Grade (Sophomore) begins the adjustment into high school assimilation.  Students are more familiar with expectations for academic and social settings on campus as well as the required credits and grading system for graduation.  They still need assistance learning appropriate, mature forms of discourse, hygiene, and organization. Academic requirements hit them hard as many may have fallen behind the graduation requirements as Freshmen and now face the reality of needing credit retrieval in order to stay on pace for graduation.

Standards for both 9th and 10th grade levels are the same.

  • ELA

    • Reading Literature
      • Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of the explicit text and inferences from the text; determine theme/central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development with a summary of the text; analyze how complex characters (multiple/conflicting motivations) develop over the text, interact with other characters, advance the plot/develop the theme
      • Determine word/phrase meaning as used in text (figurative, connotative) and the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning/tone; analyze how an author’s choices on text structure, order events within it (parallel plots), manipulate time (pacing, flashbacks) to create effects (mystery, tension, surprise); analyze point-of-view/cultural experience reflected in a work of literature from outside the US
      • Analyze representation of a subject/key scene in two different artistic mediums including what is emphasized/absent in each; analyze how authors draw on/transform source material in a specific work
      • By the end of grade 9, read/comprehend literature (stories, drama, poems) in the 9-10 text complexity with scaffolding as needed on the high end; by the end of grade 10, read/comprehend literature (stories, drama, poems) in the 9-10 text complexity independently on the high end
    • Writing
      • Write arguments to support claims in analysis of substantive topics/texts using valid reasoning/relevant and sufficient evidence (precise claims, counterclaims, precise diction, formal style with objective tone, conclusion flows from supports of the argument; write informative/explanatory texts examining/conveying complex ideas, concepts, information clearly/accurately through effective selection, organization, analysis of content; write narratives to develop real/imagined experiences/events using effective technique, well-chosen details, well-structured event sequences
      • Produce clear/coherent writing in which development, organization, style is appropriate to task/purpose/audience; strengthen writing through planning, revising, editing, rewriting with some assistance from peers/adults (focus on audience); use technology/internet to produce/publish/update individual/collaborative writing
      • Conduct short/sustained research projects to answer a question/solve a problem; gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print/digital sources assessing the usefulness of each source while avoiding plagiarism; draw evidence from literary/informational texts supporting analysis, reflection, research applying grades 9-10 reading standards
      • Write routinely over extended time frames (research, reflection, revision) and shorter time frames for a range of tasks, purposes, audiences
    • Speaking
      • Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, groups, teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics/texts/issues, following agreed-upon rules, asking questions on topic and linking to other’s commentary, demonstrating understanding of the subject; interpret visual, quantitative, and oral main ideas and supporting details of a text or media presentation; integrate multiple sources of information from diverse media/formats evaluating credibility/accuracy of each source; evaluate a speaker’s point-of-view/reasoning/use of evidence and rhetoric identifying fallacious reasoning/exaggerated or distorted evidence
      • Present information/findings/supporting evidence clearly, concisely, logically so listeners may follow the line of reasoning/organization/development/substance/style appropriate to purpose/audience/task

High School Upperclassmen – Eleventh and Twelfth Grades

Eleventh Grade (Juniors) students begin to take their graduation requirements much more seriously. Some may have already applied for grants, scholarships, college and will be mindful of their GPA. This class is also more involved in on campus activities and you will see an increased level of social drama – especially social media drama. Some of these students may already hold after school jobs that take away time from academic requirements. It is important to be aware of what your students are involved in outside of your class. That will help you plan more effectively for yourself and your students.

Twelfth Grade (Seniors) are Jekyll and Hyde students. In the first semester they resemble their Junior characteristics of stressing over graduation requirements, placement test scores, and GPA. They will generally be the most mature of the grade levels in secondary school, but you will still encounter some who have not yet, or are steadfastly refusing, attained an adult mentality. Most are focused on “the senior year” lasts – last homecoming, last mid-term, last research project, last prom, etc. It can be very distracting and disruptive to studies. Also, once the spring semester has hit February, be on the lookout for the dreaded senioritis – a complete lack of enthusiasm for anything school related. Once you allow that to set into your mindset as well, you are done. It is best, especially, to front-end the fourth quarter with necessary academic requirements as the closer you get to graduation, the less effort you will receive from the majority of the students. Do not set them and yourself up to fail by scheduling heavily weighted items for the day before senior exams. Give them and yourself time to effectively complete, assess, and review it.

Grades 11 and 12 share the same state standards.

  • ELA

    • Reading
      • Cite textual evidence in support of analysis of the text’s explicit and inferred meaning, including uncertainty in the text; determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text, how they interact/build on one another, and summarize instead of expressing an opinion; analyze the impact of author’s choices regarding developing/relating elements of a story/drama (setting, sequencing, character development)
      • Determine word/phrase meaning including figurative/connotative meaning while analyzing word choice impact on meaning and tone, especially words with multiple meanings; analyze how an author’s choices on structure of a text contributes to its overall structure/meaning; analyze a case where point-of-view requires distinguishing denotative meaning from connotative meaning (satire, sarcasm, irony, understatement)
      • Analyze multiple interpretations of a story/drama/poem (text, video/audio) evaluating how each version interprets source text (1 Shakespeare, 1 American); demonstrate knowledge of 18th-, 19th-, and early 20th Century foundational American literature
      • By the end of grade 11, read/comprehend literature (stories, drama, poems) in the 11-CCR text complexity with scaffolding as needed on the high end; by the end of grade 12, read/comprehend literature (stories, drama, poems) in the 11-CCR text complexity independently on the high end
    • Writing
      • Write arguments to support claims in analysis of substantive topics using valid reasoning/relevant/sufficient evidence.
      • Write informative/explanatory texts to examine/convey complex ideas, concepts, information clearly/accurately through effective selection, organization, analysis of content including the use of headings, graphics, multimedia aides with precise language and domain-specific vocabulary
      • Write a narrative on a real or imagined experience; establish a context and narrator; use dialogue and pacing to develop plot; use a variety of transitions and precise language; conclusions should follow narrated experiences
      • Produce clear/coherent writing with development, organization, style appropriate to task, purpose, audience; develop/strengthen writing as needed through planning, revising, editing, rewriting, trying new approaches, addressing what is most significant for purpose/audience; use technology to produce/publish/update individual or shared writing products through ongoing feedback
      • Conduct short/sustained research projects; gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print/digital sources assessing the strength/weakness of each in terms of task, purpose, audience with standard format citations; draw evidence from literary/informational texts to support analysis, reflection, research
      • Write routinely over extended time frames (research, reflection, revision) and shorter time frames (discipline-specific tasks, purposes, audiences)
    • Speaking
      • Initiate/participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, groups, teacher-led) as part of a studied text or subject, following agreed-upon rules, asking questions on topic and linking to other’s commentary, demonstrating understanding of the subject; interpret visual, quantitative, and oral main ideas and supporting details of a text or media presentation; integrate multiple sources of information in diverse formats/media in order to make informed decisions/solve problems, evaluating the credibility/accuracy of each source and noting discrepancies; evaluate a speaker’s point-of-view, reasoning, evidence, rhetoric assessing the stance, premises, idea links, word choice, emphasis points, and tone
      • Present information/findings/supporting evidence conveying a clear/distinct perspective that listeners can follow with alternative/opposing perspectives addressed with organization, development, substance, style appropriate to purpose, audience, formal/informal task

High School – Math, Science & Social Studies

The following course areas do not have specific grade level designations at the Secondary Level. The main course topics are listed that are offered at the Secondary Grades for Mathematics, Sciences, and Social Sciences.

  • Math

    • Number & Quantity
      • The Real Number System
        • Properties of Exponents to Rational Exponents
        • Properties of Rational/Irrational Numbers
      • Quantities
        • Quantitative Reasoning with Units to Solve Problems
      • The Complex Number System
        • Arithmetic Operations with Complex Numbers
        • Represents Complex Numbers and Their Operations on the Complex Plane
        • Use Complex Numbers in Polynomial Identities/Equations
      • Vector & Matrix Quantities
        • Represent/Model with Vector Quantities
        • Perform Operations on Vectors
        • Perform Operations on Matrices and Use Matrices in Applications
    • Algebra
      • Seeing Structure in Expressions
      • Arithmetic with Polynomials & Rational Expressions
      • Creating Equations
      • Reasoning with Equations & Inequalities
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    • Functions
      • Interpreting Functions
      • Building Functions
      • Linear, Quadratic, Exponential Models
      • Trigonometric Functions
    • Geometry
      • Congruence
      • Similarity, Right Triangles & Trigonometry
      • Circles
      • Expressing Geometric Properties with Equations
      • Modeling with Geometry
    • Statistics & Probability
      • Interpreting Categorical & Quantitative Data
      • Making Inferences & Justifying Conclusions
      • Conditional Probability & the Rules of Probability
      • Using Probability to Make Decisions
    • Calculus
      • Limits/Continuity
      • Differential Calculus
      • Applications of Derivatives
      • Integral Calculus
      • Applications of Integration
  • Sci

    • Life Science
      • Organization/Development of Living Organisms
      • Diversity/Evolution of Living Organisms
      • Heredity/Reproduction
      • Interdependence
      • Matter/Energy Transformation
    • Physical Science
      • Energy
      • Motion
      • Matter
    • Earth and Space Science
      • Earth in Space/Time
      • Earth Structures
      • Earth Systems/Patterns
    • Nature of Science
      • Practice of Science
      • Characteristics of Scientific Knowledge
      • Role of Theories, Laws, Hypotheses, Models
      • Science and Society
    • Computer Science
      • Personal, Community, Global, and Ethical Impact
      • Communication and Collaboration
      • Communication Systems and Computing
      • Computer Practices and Programming
  • SS

    • American History
      • Analyze transformation of American economy/changing social/political conditions in response to Industrial Revolution
      • Demonstrate understanding of changing role of United States in world affairs through end of World War I
      • Analyze effects of changing social/political/economic conditions of Roaring Twenties/Great Depression
      • Understand causes/course of World War II at home and abroad, reshaping the United States’ role in post-war world affairs
      • Understand rise/continuing international influence of United States as world leader and impact of contemporary social/political movement on American life
    • Geography
      • Understand how to use maps/other geographic representations, tools, technology to report information
      • Understand physical/cultural characteristic of places
      • Understand relationships between Earth’s ecosystems and populations that dwell within them
      • Understand characteristics, distribution, migration of human populations
      • Understand how human actions can impact the environment
      • Understand how to apply geography to interpret past/present and plan for future
    • Economics
      • Understand fundamental concepts relevant to development of market economy
      • Understand fundamental concepts relevant to institutions, structure functions of national economy
      • Understand fundamental concepts/interrelationships of United States economy in international marketplace
    • World History
      • Utilize historical inquiry skills/analytical processes
      • Recognize significant events, figures, contributions of medieval civilizations (Byzantine Empire, Western Europe, Japan)
      • Recognize significant events, figures, contributions of Islamic, Meso and South American, and Sub-Saharan African civilizations
      • Analyze causes/events/effects of Enlightenment and impact on American, French, other Revolutions
      • Understand development of Western/non-Western nationalism, industrialization, imperialism and significant processes/consequences of each
      • Recognize significant causes, events, figures, consequences of Great War (World War I) period and impact on worldwide balance of power
      • Recognize significant events/people from post-World War II/Cold War eras
      • Identify major economic/political/social/technological trends beginning in 20th Century
    • Humanities
      • Identify/analyze historical, social, cultural contexts of the arts
      • Respond critically/aesthetically to various works in the arts
      • Understand how transportation, trade, communication, science, technology influence the progression/regression of cultures
    • Civics and Government
      • Demonstrate an understanding of origins/purposes of government, law, American political system
      • Evaluate roles, rights, responsibilities of United States citizens and determine methods of active participation in society/government/political system
      • Demonstrate understanding principles, functions, organization of government
      • Demonstrate understanding of contemporary issues in world affairs, evaluate role/impact of United States foreign policy
    • Psychology
      • Scientific Inquiry Domain/Perspectives in Psychological Science
      • Sociocultural Context Domain/Sociocultural Diversity
      • Cognition Domain/Memory
      • Cognition Domain/Memory
      • Cognition Domain/Thinking
      • Individual Variations Domain/Motivation
      • Individual Variations Domain/Emotion
      • Individual Variations Domain/Personality
      • Individual Variations Domain/Psychological Disorders
      • Applications of Psychological Science Domain/Treatment of Psychological Disorders
      • Applications of Psychological Science Domain/Health
      • Scientific Inquiry Domain/Research Methods, Measurement, Statistics
      • Applications of Psychological Science Domain/Vocational Applications
      • Biopsychology Domain/Biological Bases of Behavior
      • Biopsychology Domain/Sensation and Perception
      • Biopsychology Domain/Consciousness
      • Development/Learning Domain/Life Span Development
      • Development/Learning Domain/Learning
      • Development/Learning Domain/Language Development
      • Sociocultural Context Domain/Social Interactions
    • Sociology
      • Foundations of Sociology as a Social Science/Identify methods/strategies of research and examine contributions of sociology to understanding social issues
      • Culture/Examine the influence on individual and way cultural transmission is accomplished
      • Social Status/Identify how social status influences individual and group behaviors and how that status relates to the position a person occupies within a social group
      • Social Status/Identify how social status influences individual/group behaviors and how that status relates to the position a person occupies within a social group
      • Social Groups/Explore impact of social groups on individual/group behavior
      • Social Institutions/Identify effects of social institutions on individual/group behavior
      • Social Change/Examine changing nature of society
      • Social Problems/Analyze a range of social problems in today’s world
      • Individual and Community/Examine the role of individual as a member of the community, explore both individual/collective behavior
    • Financial Literacy
      • Earning Income
      • Buying Goods and Services
      • Saving
      • Using Credit
      • Financial Investing
      • Protecting and Insuring

Review

High School students make a major shift in emotional maturity from freshman to senior year. Many freshmen still need support in order to understand high school academic (and social) expectations. As students progress through the grade levels, they become more focused on their life goals and graduating. Social distractions can cause disruptions throughout high school, but especially during senior year. Teacher need to help and remind seniors to stay on track. Some students may need more support from teachers and counselors to achieve academic success and reach their goals, as home support can vary greatly between students.

If you enjoyed “Teaching High School Grades”, please make sure to check out the rest of the “Changing Grade Levels” series.

  1. Teaching a New Grade Curriculum
  2. Teaching Primary School Grades (Lower Elementary)
  3. Teaching Elementary School Grades
  4. Teaching Middle School Grades
  5. Teaching High School Grades

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