Dear Students and Families,
Welcome to an exciting semester for all of us! You will be learning to think and investigate as a scientist, and we will be working together as a teacher-student-family partnership toward our goals for success. To support meeting our academic goals, the POWER standards need to be met:
· Pride: take pride in yourself, others and the classroom.
· Ownership: take responsibility for your attitude and actions, care for others and the class.
· Warmth: create a warm classroom community where everyone is welcome.
· Encouragement: set learning goals and motivate yourself and others to meet these goals.
· Respect: respect yourself, others and the class environment by treating everyone with dignity.
The SEALS/TRY/STEP system for awarding good behavior and changing inappropriate behavior is in effect school-wide. A brief description is also available in your student’s handbook.
Under the guidelines of Washington’s Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALR’S) for science, the “Big Idea’s” for the semester are: Systems, Matter, Energy, Earth Processes, Ecology, Cells, and Biodiversity. You will participate with a partner and in small groups in laboratory sessions and hands-on activities. Since students will regularly use scientific inquiry methods during class, a science fair project will not be required. However, for those who would still like to take part in this activity, there is opportunity to prepare a science fair project for entry in the Rotary Club Science Fair in early March.
For the most part, all science materials will be supplied in class. Only paper and pencils will be needed on a daily basis. Students need to bring their binders and calendars to record assignments. Completed science work will be kept in a portfolio in class, and you should only expect to see science homework if it was not finished during class or when working on a project or studying for a test. My classroom is open at 7:40 am and I expect and encourage any student needing help to come my room for assistance. All reading will be done in class, so your student will not be issued a science textbook. However, books may be checked out (overnight only) if needed.
All work will be graded on a 4.0 point scale. When you show that you meet the targets taught in class, you will receive a score of 3.0. As you show that you understand what was presented in class in more depth, you will begin to receive scores of 3.5 and 4.0, which means you are working beyond the target (i.e., grade level state standard). If you show that you understand the basic details and process, but still struggle with the more complex ideas, you will receive a score of 2.0. Finally, you would receive a score of 1.0 if, with help, you understand the basic detail or processes. Scores in half increments are also attainable.
Students will organize their class-work into a unit packet and take it home to share with parents or guardians. Once the packet is reviewed and signed, it needs to be brought back to class to use as notes on the unit tests, and then turned in. Each unit test will have questions from the “Big Idea’s”. Students will be able to see the progress they are making throughout the semester because these major categories will be assessed more than just once. In this way, even if you did not earn a 3 the first time you are tested on a category, you will have additional opportunities to score a 3 or even 4 by the end of the semester. I will be happy to discuss grades before or after school with you or your student.
Parents or guardians please review this letter with your student. Then, complete the information below, cut off the bottom section, and return it to me by Friday, September 10th, 2010. If you have further questions, it is easiest for me to respond to email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also call me at 360-462-6671, ext 14316. I am available for phone calls from 7:30 to 8:00 am, again from 9:30 to 10:30 am, and after school at 2:45 pm. Helping your student to understand science helps them to understand the world they live in and how it works. Your comments on their work, signatures as needed, and support is necessary and appreciated. I look forward to investigating science with your child this semester!