About the WHS English/Drama Department

The faculty of the Weston High School English/Drama Department approaches the teaching of English and drama with the simple goal of assisting students in their journey as they become more critical readers, more thoughtful writers, and more effective speakers and performers. To achieve this goal, we demand students read carefully, speak deliberately, and revise their writing regularly. We believe in the merits of empathizing with a character, speaker or even an author whose life or experience may take us beyond our own. More than anything, we work to foster our students’ love for the word. In their first few years of English at the high school, students can expect a common experience. Juniors and seniors are free to choose from an expansive list of electives.

The English courses in grades 9-12 are designed to increase each student’s skills in the use of written and oral language. They are also designed to encourage open and clear communication, and foster reading for comprehension, information, and enjoyment. Each course requires homework and student participation in class discussions.

In Drama classes, students’ develop skills relevant to many aspects of Theater Arts, including technical design, performance, and direction.

All students are required to take English each year, and in grades 10-12, advanced courses are available for our most engaged, motivated students.  The department encourages students to select classes based on content and workload to create an engaging, balanced approach to learning.

Department Head

Ms. Kate Lemons, 6-12 Department Head

 Ms. Lemons was named Department Head as of the 2009-10 school year.  She has taught in the English Department at Weston High School since 2003. She has also served as the advisor to the school newspaper, Wildcat Tracks; as one of three teacher representatives on the High School Council; as a mentor to new English Department faculty; as coordinator of the Mountains Beyond Mountains initiative in 2005-06; and as a member of the Weston Professional Development Academy Committee. Before coming to Weston, she served as team leader and English teacher at Falmouth High School, 1998-2003. Ms. Lemons earned a Masters of Education in Secondary Education from the University of Massachusetts and a Bachelor of Arts from the Harvard University Extension School.

English Curriculum

Note: There is always the possibility that courses listed in the Program of Studies may not run due to low enrollment or budget constraints.

All students are required to take English each year. Drama and Journalism classes are offered as electives and do not fulfill the English requirement but can enrich students’ overall learning experience.

Students should confer with their guidance counselors, English teachers, and/or the English Department Head to determine appropriate course selections where there are options.

Link to Program of Studies

Standards:

English Grades 9-12
Drama
Speech

Helping Students with Writing

Some information for parents/tutors...

To help parents and outside-of-school tutors best help WHS English students with their writing, the English department has created a list of suggestions and guidelines:

Look at the assignment sheet and rubric: Talk to the student about the expectations and see if he or she is clear about the assignment.

Ask lots of questions in the planning stages: What are you interested in writing about? What do you want to argue? What do you think this motif symbolizes? What quotations would help support that? etc…

Outlining: Help the student figure out what to discuss in what order by asking questions. Should your paper move chronologically through the text? Be organized by character? What do you think your first body paragraph should be about? etc…

Brainstorm ways to begin the paper: How will you grab the reader’s attention? A quote? An anecdote? An analogy? See what he or she can come up with.

Writing the paper:

-Let the student complete a couple of paragraphs or a draft before looking at it.

-When you help edit, try to circle grammar or punctuation mistakes, but don’t tell him or her what is wrong. See if the student can recognize the errors.

-If you notice that words are repeated over and over, just point that out and let the student figure out how to eliminate repetition.

-If whole sentences need work, write things like: “Try to make this smoother or more concise.” But resist the temptation to rewrite it for them.

-Ask questions in the margins: Do you need this sentence? What do you mean by this? Can you find evidence to support this? etc…

Editing the paper:

-Encourage the student to go away from the paper for a little while and then revisit it with fresh eyes.

-Ask him or her to read it aloud. Hearing it can really help catch mistakes and recognize awkwardness or repetition.

-Ask the student to consult the rubric one more time and make sure he or she is meeting the expectations.

Encourage him or her to meet with me: That’s why I’m here, and I’m more than happy to help.