Degrees and Certifications:
Mrs. Lara Meeks
Whether it is through English or Theatre, welcome to the family! The start of the 2022-23 school year means I'm halfway through my fourth year at MHS. In addition to teaching English 9, I sponsor the Drama Club and direct schoolwide performances in which anyone can participate. You don't have to be in the club or take the class, and we are always looking for more people to join. We need students with various talents and skills so be sure you keep your eyes and ears open for more information.
I came to Moody by way of Gardendale High School where I taught English and Theatre, and I brought back their theatre program. Prior to that, I spent eight years teaching struggling students in Jefferson County’s alternative school, and I started my career with ten years in Trussville City Schools. Hewitt-Trussville High School gave me my first taste of directing when I worked as the Technical Director. Over the years, I have taught quite a few electives and sponsored several clubs so I look forward to plugging in here.
On a personal note, my husband Rodney will be around during productions since he helps with set work. My students usually become fast friends with him because of his BBQ pitmaster and catering skills. I have a daughter, Savannah, who is a stylist at Forecast Salon in Homewood.. She often helps with the plays as well. It’s a family affair. I'm excited about starting the new year with all of you. Go Blue Devils and Roll Tide!
Students will need these pretty often:
- binder (with tabs)
- loose leaf paper
*Smaller, individual binders generally keep students more organized. It's also helpful for students to carry one (accordian-style) folder to all of their classes. This is a great way to keep up with work or papers that need to go between home and school.
Additional items that will come up later:
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (in a couple of weeks)
- 3x5 index cards (later in the year)
- hand sanitizer
- paper towels
- lysol wipes
Students entering the 9th grade at Moody High School are required to participate in the summer reading program.
How will I be assessed?
Upon return to school in the fall, ALL students will be tested on the summer reading assignment within the first week of being in my class. There will be a few questions that are considered general knowledge; however, that is only a small portion of the test. The remainder of the test will require more critical thinking about what you have read. I’m including some information that should help in your preparation for the test.
How can I prepare?
- Annotate AS you read. Your eighth grade teachers have met with us so we know that you have been learning how to annotate for a while now. Remember that annotating is NOT simply highlighting something, and there must be a note made beside what’s been marked or highlighted. **If you have correctly and completely annotated your book of choice and turn it into me within the first day of being in my class, I will give you 15 points toward your test on the novel. That means it raises your grade by one letter. That’s how important I believe it is to do it-correctly.
- Beyond knowing the five basic elements of the novel (plot, point-of-view, theme, setting, and characters), you will need to specifically pay attention to inferences-looking at direct and indirect characterization is a great way to do this.
- Doing the annotations are NOT a requirement for my general classes; however, it is something you will be doing with everything we read. It will also prepare you for the test and give you a head start with bonus points on your test.
What are you expecting when I annotate?
Here is a detailed instruction guide for those of you who want to earn the bonus for doing it correctly.
- Use various colors of highlighters or pens to mark the basic elements in your novel.
- You don’t have to write full out sentences for notes. Just a word or two will do if it explains it.
- Example on annotating characters-Choose one color for new characters and anything you see that describes them physically or that tells you something about what kind of person they are (inference). Be certain to write beside it why you marked it. Don’t repeat what it already says.
- Example on setting- Choose a different color for setting. Write beside it when it switches to a new place or if there’s anything particular interesting like-turned dark quickly, storm coming?
- Example on theme- Choose a different color for theme. Look for things that you feel like are lessons we should learn. Highlight what happened and write beside it what was learned. For example-If a character was mean to someone and later found out that person was having a really hard time at home, mark that part but then write beside it “learned we don’t always know what someone’s facing at home”.
- For point-of-view you can usually just write it at the beginning of the first chapter. If the narration is in the first person, told by the main character, you would put first person and told by (insert character’s name). You don’t have to do it again unless it changes.
- For plot it is smart to simply jot a couple of notes at the top of the page to remind you what happened. It won’t need to be on every page, but it will be on a lot of them. It might simply say “Joe’s house burned.” or “Big fight happened”.