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    Dear parents and students of seminar 9th grade English and 9th grade honors English students, 2015-2016


    I am excited to be a part of your educational experience this year as we travel together through one of the most important years in English.  I have been fortunate enough to be a part of the ninth grade English seminar program in Forsyth County since its inception fiftenn years ago, having written some of the curriculum for the course. I am proud and confident in saying that this class serves as the foundation for future AP English classes and for other college-level classes as well.  The honors 9th grade classes are also college-bound and taught in a way which prepares students for college and other future educational endeavors.  I have taught many 9th grade honors level classes in addition to seminar classes.  I enjoy the variety of teaching both of these courses and feel very fortunate to be involved in both programs this year.



    The course content is 60% reading comprehension, covering all genres of literature, as well as vocabulary through context.    Seminar students will be using the Fiske Word Power book also.  In addition, studying grammar and editing skills and proper writing conventions will comprise the other 40% of this course.  Multi-tasking and possessing self-discipline are the keys to success in this class designed for students who are not stretched by the normal curriculum and who think outside the box.  Seminar English class is one mile deep, not one mile wide.  In other words, it differs from other 9th grade English classes by not being more of the same but different in its teaching and learning style. Quality, not quantity, is its emphasis.  One of my goals for the year is to make sure that all of my classes will be an enriching, informative, and enjoyable time of the day for all of its participants.   Moreover, I demand much critical thinking and discussion from all of my classes.  I am proud to say that my class was voted as "Most Appreciated" by the senior class last year.  I could not have asked for a better honor.  

    It should be noted that 
    Reagan's 9th grade EOCT scores were Number One in the county every year since the test's beginning!  This EOCT/Common Core test measures reading and writing skills. I attribute our success to the team of 9th grade teachers who work hard to be consistent,knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and informed.  This test is no longer counted in our school's report card, but the final exam for this course is created by the NC Department of Public Instruction and counts for 20% of the student's grade in the course.




    Homework in the form of long-range and short-range assignments will be given and weighted as 20% of the grade in this class.  That means that the students should spend thirty minutes to one hour each night for this course, and whether homework occurs over the weekend or not will really depend on how much time each student invests during the week.  I try to let students know on Fridays what the following week will involve.  I also try to keep the calendar of assignments updated on my website.
    I try to keep the workload consistent and reasonable. Many of these students take several other demanding classes and are involved in various after-school, community, church, and family activities  I try to remain cognizant of their busy lifestyles.  Students suited for honors and seminar classes will be excited about the kinds of challenges they present, not frustrated by them.


    Please feel free to communicate with me whenever necessary.  I am here to be a part of the three-member team(yourself, your student, and myself) which will ensure the success of your student as he or she navigates a fun-filled, educational, and unforgettable freshmen year of high school. 


     I am looking forward to working with you this year.

    Marilyn Mercer



    Materials list:  1 inch hardbound notebook just for this class

                           Five dividers

                           Notebook paper

                           At least two blue or black ink pens (work should be done in pen)


                           One box of tissues
                                          One hand-held hole punch

                           Summer Reading:  I want you to enjoy your summer as you rest, travel, and enjoy spending time with family and friends; however, if you do want to know what we will be reading next year, look below:

    Animal Farm
    To Kill a Mockingbird
    A Separate Peace(maybe)
    The Great Gatsby(seminar only)
    Romeo and Juliet
    The Odyssey
    Of Mice and Men
    Great Expectations and Lord of the Flies (if time permits)
    Selected memoirs(student choice) with thesis paper assigned
    A variety of essays
    Poetry:  Narrative and Lyric
    Short Stories (selected from several different texts)
    It is a great idea to have personal copies of the novels we will be reading, but I will have class sets in my room so that we can all be in the same edition and on the same page(literally) at the same time without much trouble finding our places. 
Last Modified on June 12, 2015