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Can the students have their electronic devices in class?
Because we have the Chromebooks for instructional purposes, there is no need for students to use their cell phones during class. Everything they need is available with the school issued technology. I will ask that students keep their personal devices tucked away during my class.
Do you allow food and drink in the classroom?
Students are welcome to bring a water bottle to the class. Due to allergy issues, cleanliness concerns, the risk of damaging computers,science lab safety, and distractions it can cause, all other food and drink should be consumed in the cafeteria.
Homework? Do we have it?
Homework for the sake of homework will not be assigned. There will be things that I ask students to complete at home if they did not finish in class, or if the classroom environment is not conducive to the completion of the assignment. I understand and recognize that there is a myriad of activity that consumes kids after school, and copious amounts of homework can cause a student to be overwhelmed with life. I do, however, encourage a student to read every single day after school. It is amazing what 20 minutes can do for a kid each day. Having said all that, please understand that the needs of each student is different, and I will consider their differences when it comes to homework. If I do give a homework project assignment, there is never a need to spend money to create it. Homework is for students, and I ask that parents give only minimal input on homework.
Is Advanced harder than the regular class?
This is a matter of perspective. The point of Advanced is not to give a student more or harder work than the other students have. My goal is to discover how students learn and teach them in that way. We don't do harder or more work, but as we learn the state standards, we do so with greater rigor and depth of understanding.
How do we know what is going on in class?
Asking your student what is happening is the best and first place to start. However, I will work diligently to keep my website updated. I also publish a blog. It is important as well to check the gradebook, as I try to update it weekly...I am not always successful, as many of the things we do take a very long time to assess. Again, the very best way to stay informed is to ask your child about class and what s/he is doing and learning.
What if there are Missing Assignments in the gradebook?
Don't panic. It is likely that I have not entered the assignment, and it shows up as missing until I do so. Send an email and ask me about it.
What about grading?
It would be my hope that every child made a 100 on every assignment, but that is not reality. Students will face challenges that many of them have never faced before this year in my class. There will be tears of anxiety, but they will turn to tears of triumph when they overcome the obstacles they face. 5th and 6th grades are pivotal years for many students when it comes to having to work hard for the "A." I don't put a lot of stock in grades honestly. I look at the whole child and his/her learning and growth. Please be advised that not everything we do will be a grade. I know that many students fret over that, and I understand that. I sometimes may plan on taking a grade on an assessment or assignment, but realize that doing so is not in the best interest of the students. Sometimes I may give an assignment that is not for a grade, and decide to take a grade on it. Sometimes I may take a grade for some students, but not for all students. Please understand that I will do what is in the best interest of each individual the student.
Do we have free time?
Kids always want to know how much "Free Time" they get in class. My standard answer is "none." We have things to do, and sitting around and doing nothing is not on the list of things to do. In an effort to motivate students and reward students for a job well done, we will sometimes take a break and do something that is fun, but that does not happen every day, or every week for that matter, only when it is earned.
There will be more questions asked throughout the school year, and I will try to post them here as they come.