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6th Grade Earth Science

Course Info

Janelle Wilson

Welcome to Earth Science with Mrs. Wilson! This information is to help you be successful in Earth Science. I hope as we we all get settled in, you will view this as our class. I want you to be responsible for learning, and I will do my best to help you learn in a way that is fun and interesting. Please read this information carefully and make sure you understand it. If you have any questions, please let me know.

Contact Info:

Tutoring:

Tutoring is available beginning at 8:15 every Wednesday. Additionally, I am available most other mornings as well. Please make sure you have your agenda signed by me the day before a tutoring session so I know you are coming. I do occasionally have meetings in the mornings, so it is important that I know you are coming ahead of time.

Supplies:

All supplies are required. Please be sure to bring them with you to class every day.

  • Colored Pencils (not markers)
  • #2 Pencils
  • Blue or Black Pens (Please do not write in other colors)
  • Mead 5-star 3-Subject Notebook – we’ll be using these all year, and this brand seems to hold up the best – plus it will make gluing in full sized paper much easier
  • Three tape rolls to refill our tape dispensers (we will be using a lot of tape this year!)
  • Composition notebook (for science fair project) (If you are in first period, you don’t need this.)
  • Science fair project display board – tri-fold (for science fair project – we will not be using the boards until November, but it may be cheaper to buy this now) (If you are in first period, you don’t need this.)

Optional Supplies:

If you are able to provide any of  the following supplies for the classroom, it would be much appreciated!

  • Box of Tissues
  • Regular sized post it notes (3″ x 3″) and mini post it notes (1″ x 2″)
  • Colored and white copy paper
  • Markers
  • Dry Erase Markers
  • Construction paper
  • Glue sticks
  • Extra tape rolls to refill our tape dispensers (we will be using a lot of tape this year!)
  • Small reward items
  • Small wrapped candies
  • Gently used books (fiction and science nonfiction) for our class library

Course Goals:

  • Content Goal: Learn our Earth Science Standards
  • Habits of Mind Goal: Become a creative thinker and scientific problem solver by learning how to ask and find out the answers to good questions.
  • Collaborative Goal: Become better at working together with others to achieve a common goal. Also, become an important individual in our classroom community.
  • Metacognitive Goal: Learn more about yourself and how you learn in order to help you become a better learner. Metacognition has to do with thinking about thinking.

Homework:

You can expect to have a homework assignment two or three times a week. Some weeks it will be more, and on others weeks it will be less. Homework is an important part of practicing science concepts, but it should not take you longer than 15 minutes each night to complete.

Projects:

We will be completing a variety of projects this year. I will give you more information about the specific projects as we reach them. One big project we will be completing this year is a science fair project. We will be doing this during the first semester. I will help you through every step of the way, and we will be walking through the steps together usually on Fridays.

Web Based Portfolios:

I am very excited about our web based portfolios this year. This is something new that I haven’t done with my classes before. Each student will have his/her own blog to record and reference your learning throughout the year. We will also be using other interesting sites to hone our 21st skills. Please see the Portfolio Info page for more information. In class we will set up our portfolios together, and you will have a release form that needs to be signed by your parents.

Labs:

This is a science class, and we will be completing a variety of labs and activities. It is important that you follow our lab safety rules. You will also need to have a lab safety contract signed and on file with me. We will also be learning about lab report formats during some of our labs.

Grades:

Grading Scale:

  • 90-100: A
  • 80-89: B
  • 74-79: C
  • 70-73: D
  • 0-69: U

Grading Weights: (To Be Determined – check for updates)

  • Tests and Large Projects:  45%
  • Classwork and Small Projects:  15%
  • Quizzes and Labs: 30%
  • Homework:  5%
  • Benchmark Exams:  5%

Standards Based Grading:

What does it really mean if you get an “A” in science – or a “B” or a “C”. Does it mean you are good at taking a test? Does it mean you turn in all of your work on time – even if you hastily completed it? I want to know what you know and have learned and relate that to our earth science standards. So as we go through the year, I will be grading assignments using the following scale:

  • 5 – Demonstrates advanced understanding of the standard
  • 4 – Demonstrates a high level of understanding of the standard, but with small errors
  • 3 – Demonstrates understanding, but with significant gaps
  • 2 – Shows some understanding, but insufficient for a passing grade
  • 1 – Attempts the problem/project

The great thing about using a scale like this is that what I am working towards is having every one achieving 4′s and 5′s. However, I know you might not score a 4 or a 5 the very first time I give you an assessment. You will have opportunities to prove to me you know each standard, and I will adjust your grade based on this information. It is my goal that we will all be successful in this class.

Textbook:

We will not use our Earth Science textbook very often in class. I prefer to use it as a reference book rather than the only place we get information about Earth Science. There are several reasons for this, but the biggest reason is that our book is scientifically out of date. For instance, according to our textbook, Pluto is a planet, and there is no mention of the other dwarf planets such as Ceres, Eris, MakeMake, Haumea, and Kuiper Belt Objects. I want this class to be relevant to our current and expanding understanding of the Earth, and so we will use many other sources in addition to our textbook. You can access an online version of our textbook at http://www.pearsonsuccessnet.com. The username is mrswilsonsci and the password is lanierms.

Classroom Community:

I think it is important that you look at this as our class. As an important member of our class community, what can you do to make learning easier for both yourself and those around you? So my biggest class rule is

Do the Right Thing!

It really can be that easy! We will work together to create expectations for our class and community. I will also explain our class jobs, and you will have the opportunity to apply for the ones that interest you. Also, please remember that we are following the school wide discipline plan. I have outline that information below:

Classroom Expectation

  1. Be on time to class with all of your materials, and be prepared to work.
  2. Follow directions the first time given.
  3. Wait to be recognized before speaking.
  4. Keep your hands, feet, and objects to yourself.
  5. Follow all county and school rules and policies.

Consequences

  1. Warning
  2. Isolation (10 minutes)
  3. Detention and Parent Contact
  4. Referral
  5. Severe Clause (any person who jeopardizes the safety of others will be removed from the classroom).

Rewards:

We will discuss as a class what types of rewards we will have and how we can best earn them.

Questions:

If you have any questions about this course, please contact me. Once you have read all of the information, and you fully understand it, please fill out this form with a parent or guardian to indicate your understanding. I am looking forward to our adventures together as we learn Earth science!

Janelle Wilson

August 2010

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