Homework/Classwork

Ever wonder where all those grades come from?  Below is everything you ever wanted to know about how your child can make an A as well as percentages that each will be counted in the gradebook! 

Image result for grades

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40% of grade
Reading and Book Assessments:
I will announce a week in advance when a reading assessment is scheduled.  There will be 3-5 each 9 weeks.

Vocabulary:
We will do vocabulary building activities that will be assessed through vocabulary tests 2-3 times each 9 weeks.

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30% of grade
PROBE Research:
PROBE stands for Personal Research On Basically Everything and may done either digitally through Google Slides or in a composition notebook.  PROBEs must:
* include a title page/slide
* include at least 10 facts about the topic
* include at least 3 "I wonder" questions
* include at least 1 picture or drawing
* have ALL sources cited
16 complete PROBEs are due May 1st, 2018.  We will work on them at least once most weeks in class, but students can work on them at home as well.

Occasional Project Work:

 Most projects will be at least partially completed in class.  Anything that needs to be completed at home will be accompanied by detailed instructions and due dates. 


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20% of grade
Agendas:
Being able to use and agenda to keep up with responsibilities is such a crucial skill in life. I will be checking periodically to see that it is really being used; dues dates written down, important dates, assignments, to do lists, etc. even tracking of things outside of school!  The agenda can be any format that works for your child (a book, agenda pages kept in their binder, a notebook, an electronic agenda, Google calendar, cell phone notes and calendar, etc.)

Reading Response Notebook:
Each week this notebook is used to take notes on our whole class or small group reading discussions.  

Writing Notebook:
This is where all your child's wonderful writing will begin.  It will hold their rough drafts, their writing ideas, their poetry, their comics, etc.  When we revise stories to publish them online or into books those stories come from this notebook.  NEVER TURNED IN

Writing Assignments:
These are polished pieces of writing that got their start in the Writing Notebook.  We will have several times during the year that we choose one to type and publish.
THESE ARE GRADED THROUGHOUT THE YEAR AND WILL BE ANNOUNCED PERIODICALLY.

EL Assignments:
These are assignments completed in class throughout the year and that compliment our new "EL" Language Arts curriculum.  In the gradebook, these will often show up as "Unit ___, Lesson ___".

Grammar and Punctuation Practice
This will be practice we work on at least once each week.  This practice will take on many forms: worksheets we discuss together
games
use of published text
assessment of our own writing 

SSR 
‚ÄčEach week you will fill out 1 reading response sheet based upon things you have read during SSR (you can also do this sheet off of your home reading).  This sheet is due each Friday.

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10% of grade

Homework/Class Participation



My philosophy of homework has largely been influenced by the above book written published in 2006 and it has evolved over the years.  I have high expectations of my students in the classroom, but when they are home I want them to spend time with family, outdoors, with friends, doing hobbies, and anything else that helps them to Sharpen the Saw which is Habit 7 in our efforts to be the best we can be. 
Instead of traditional homework, your child will have "Recommended Assignments" which will help them to enrich their experience in my classroom. 
In order to fully engage with their learning, I will also expect your child to actively and respectfully participate in classroom discussions and activities.

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Explanation of ELA Grading

For the last 15 years, I have consistently modified the place homework holds in my classroom.  I have very high expectations in class, but understand the need for down time.  The last few years I have assigned minimal homework, but did not penalize for missing or incomplete work, it became basically extra credit for those students who did it.  This year I am trying something different, I am not assigning homework at all.  My reasons for this include:

  • A need to focus on family time, friend time, and playing outside.

  • Extracurricular activities that keep students busy after school.

  • My desire to keep assignments meaningful.

  • Not all students have an appropriate place to do their homework.

  • Some students have extraordinary circumstances that cause them to be unable to prioritize doing homework.

In lieu of homework assignments, I will always suggest for students who want extra practice to complete “Recommended Assignments”.  These assignments will:

  • Be counted in the 10% of your child’s grade that also includes classroom participation, classwork, group and whole class discussions.

  • Enhance learning- the assignments will always be related to what we are doing in the classroom at the time.  

  • Never be required in order to be successful in my class, they can only help.

Some ideas for “Recommended Assignments” are:

  • Reading journals- write your thoughts about a book you are reading at least 3 times a week.  (I have examples of these that your child can look through).

  • Keep up with class novel reading (recommended assignments will always be posted on our weekly lesson plans)

  • Book projects

    • “Blind Date” a book

    • Digital slide show about the book to present to the class

    • Poster advertising book

    • 3D model

    • Create an iMovie trailer for the book

    • Write a skit about the story

    • Create a test with multiple choice questions

    • Write a journal entry from a character’s point of view

    • Create a comic or a wordless book from the story

    • And lots more!

I understand that this is different and possibly even disappointing to some families.  Please let me know of any negative feelings or concerns you have so we can work on a solution that works for you and for your child.