Students will explore our learning goals through a series of menus through Google Classroom. Menus typically cover one or two learning goals and last between two to four weeks. We begin each menu with an overview and a kickstart activty to start thinking about the topic. The organization of the menu varies depending on the topic. The students will work through some parts of the menu individually, some in partners, and some in small groups. Generally, the menu will include a research portion, a lab activity, an ongoing project, vocabulary, simulations, and other explorations to help them access the information and skills that they need at their own pace and in a sequence that fits their learning style. All handouts, articles, and web pages are accessible on the Menu itself. They will keep all of their information in a composition notebook that we will call their "log." At the end of the menu, the students take a Checkpoint (short quiz) that reflects their learning on the topic. Checkpoint dates will be announced on the portal.
If a students needs to miss science class for any reason, they should consult the menu and complete items at home to keep up. Videos, articles, and online simulations are good choices when kids are home sick or travelling. Students who miss class due to gifted programming can touch base with me to see which menu items are most important and how they can modify the work to keep up with the class.
The purpose of homework in the science class is to explore new information, review content and vocabulary, or to practice a new skill. It is my philosoqhy that students should not be assessed on this type of assignment. Therefore, homework assignments will not be graded. In order to communicate with parents, I enter the homework in the portal, but it does not impact their overall grade. It will be assigned early in the menu cycle, with several days to complete it at home. Students are encouraged to pick it up early. That way, they can ask questions in class if they need to. On the day the assignment is due, I expect that every question has been attempted. We will go over the answers in class and the kids will correct or add to their work. In the portal, a complete homework assignment will be marked with a "2", incomplete assignments will be marked with a "1", and missing/not attempted assignments will be marked with a "0". Since these assignments do not count toward or against their grade, and because we go over the answers in class, there are no revisions. If a student is absent on the day an assignment is due, they can go over it with me when they return. Generally, there will be one or two homework assignments per learning goal. The homework will be available in my room, on the menu, and on the portal for your convenience.
The vast majority of the student's grade in Science is determined by their checkpoints. Checkpoints are assessed using the district proficiency scales. These scales show how close the student is to reaching proficiency on a scale of 1-4. These scores are then converted to a grade:
Student demonstrates advanced application and understanding of the learning goal.
3.75 - 99%
3.50 - 98%
3.25 - 97%
3.00 - 95%
Student demonstrates mastery with the learning goal.
2.75 - 90%
2.50 - 88%
2.25 - 84%
2.00 - 80%
Student demonstrates he/she is nearing proficiency.
1.75 - 75%
1.50 - 70%
1.25 - 65%
1.00 - 60%
Student demonstrates limited understanding of the learning goal.
Scores are averaged together for the overall grade in the course. Students will file graded checkpoints in the classroom, however, they are welcome to take them home to go over with parents anytime. While I do allow some revisions, it is important for the students to work hard during classtime in order to be prepared for the quizzes the first time around. If they are engaged during class and asking questions, they shouldn't need to "cram" before a checkpoint. In order to retake a checkpoint, the student will need to complete an additional assignment during their recess time, study for the retake, and take it during another recess time. They will be able to eat their lunch in my room during the retake.