As the first nine weeks of the 2013-2014 school year comes to a close…..
What a wonderful group of seventh graders I have been gifted with this year! The positive energy, sense of curiosity, and well-mannered demeanors of my students has made it a treat to have this group as my classroom family. I want to thank you for all that you do to support your child’s educational and personal growth.
As we venture into the last two weeks of the first quarter I would like to share some insight, upcoming dates to note, and a review of classroom routines. The post is long but contains a lot of important information. You may want to save a copy for future reference.
First Nine Weeks Exams: to be announced when I receive the dates- should be on the last week of October.
End of the first nine weeks: Monday November 4, 2013
School Closed: Tuesday November 5, 2013 Election Day/ Teacher Workday
School Closed: Monday November 11, 2013 Veteran’s Day
School Closed: Friday November 15, 2013 Parent Teacher Conferences -10am-6pm
(lunch from 1-2:30 pm) Report cards distributed.
While we have had a very successful start to the year some students have become less mindful of completing required assignments- especially the weekly homework assignments. Weekly homework completion should be at 100%. The assignments are routine, due on the same day of the week, and a full seven days is given for completion. Please stress to your child the importance of completing work in a timely manner. If I am absent all work assigned is still expected to be completed in the given time as well. The classwork I leave for a sub is relevant and will be graded for accuracy.
Frequently asked question: My child accumulated zeros in the grade book due to not completing or turning in work. As a result there has been a drop in his/her grade in that class. What can he/she do now to improve his/her grade?
I do not give extra credit work or accept late assignments. My goal is to do my best to prepare your child for eighth grade and high school. They will be there faster than you think! English 7 is also a critical year for their future academic track. All students must complete English 7 with a ‘B’ average (83) in order to take a foreign language in 8th grade and take the literature course. This is the precursor to taking honors courses in high school.
However there is good news!! My students complete at least double of the required number of assignments per nine weeks as stated in SPS policy. I believe in allowing students the maximum number of opportunities for mastery of content and success in the classroom. It is also reasonable to expect that a child might have a bad day from time. Whether they are not feeling well, didn’t get enough sleep, are mad at a friend, etc. there are times they will not perform to the best of their ability. Giving a larger number of assignments in each category allows me to excuse an assignment or two at the end of the nine weeks. Work that was not completed at all will not be excused.
More good news! We have two more weeks in the first nine weeks grading period and three more nine weeks to go before we complete the school year. This is the best time for your child to have opportunity to go forward and turn things around if work completion has been a challenge.
All of my students and some parents are signed on to Edmodo. Edmodo is my go to source for what is happening in class. My daily agenda is posted on Edmodo. This includes to daily happenings in Room A204. I also attach the majority of handouts, documents, Powerpoints, videos, etc. used in class. Assignment due dates are posted there as well for most tasks. This has been useful for students who are absent, lost/left something at school, or need an extra review of concepts. A wonderful feature of Edmodo is the ability for students to post questions. The post comes to my phone as a text and I am able to provide what is needed as soon as possible.
Class Dojo and Reminder 101
I am a huge fan of technology and tend to jump into all platforms at once. Sometimes it is better to add one piece at a time. More to come in the near future regarding these tools of technology!
Turning in assignments
Each student is assigned a number based on alphabetical order on the class roster. On the bulletin board in the front of the room there are plastic file folders that are numbered. All work is turned into these folders. I will not accept papers in hand, on the desk, etc. This system is very organized and a visual reminder of who has turned in assigned work. All papers should have the student’s name and number written at the top.
Student papers do not travel far once turned in. They go from the folders to my conference table and are graded there. We often complete an initial class review of the work or take a look after official grading. After review all work goes into an individual hanging file folder for each student. This serves as an individual portfolio of student work. There are times we will review former concepts using the papers as well. Keeping paperwork in designated areas and confined to the classroom prevents assignments being lost or misplaced.
Weekly Homework (English):
Weekly Skills Packet:Every Friday each student receives a weekly homework skills packet. It contains three pages: a practice passage, root word/prefix/suffix page, and a literary/figurative language skill page. This reinforces what we are doing in class and is a constant review of skills already covered. The packet is due on the following Friday- That gives everyone a full seven days to complete the work. They are also encouraged to turn work in early if it is completed. Three weekly homework grades come from this packet.
Vocabulary Choice Board: Each Friday the students receive two root word lists to study. For example, this week they are studying the roots spec- and dict-. Each list has ten vocabulary words containing each root. A classwork activity and a weekly quiz are given for each list. For homework the students complete word practice using a vocabulary choice board. There are twelve activities to choose from. Over a full week they are to complete four activities-using ten different words from the weekly list for each assignment. This is also due on Friday. Two homework grades come from the choice activities.
Weekly Homework (Civics):
Civics homework follows a more traditional structure as a semester social studies course follows a different structure than English. Daily homework will either be a written assignment or daily review of notes and the ‘yellow book’. Students are also encouraged to go to practice activities on the STAR portion of the SPS website. Some units may include a unit homework menu which would contain a later due date.
Please stress to your child the importance of completing homework. It may be only 10% of the total grade but has quite the impact when not completed. The zeros have more of an effect on the total grade than it would seem. I give weekly homework to teach your child time management and have them work around weekly sports, church, scout, etc. activities.
Missing work make ups are confined to students who were absent. Students must come to the teacher for the work and have it completed within five days to receive credit- per SPS policy. That time frame is only extended when I have not provided them with what they need. In that case it is due five days after I have given them what they need.
Please feel free to contact me at any time with thoughts, questions, or concerns that may arise and your child cannot answer.
Emails will receive a quicker response as speaking on the telephone is very limited during the school day. I do not have a duty free lunch , have hall duty in the mornings, parent pickup duty afterschool, and meetings/remediation for at least three days a week during planning time. I also check my email in the evening on weekdays. I am glad to speak with you just understand the response time may be a bit longer.
Again, thanks for your support to ensure your child have a successful seventh grade year!