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parent_letter

VIEWS: 10 PAGES: 4

									Dear Parents,                                                                                     August 2, 2011

       I would like to introduce myself to you. I am Miss Gray, your child’s AP Chemistry teacher. My
family has been ranching in Colorado since before it was a state, so I have strong, deep ties to southeast
Colorado and am deeply committed to the success of students in this community. I earned a Bachelor of
Science degree in chemistry at CSU – Pueblo and completed teacher licensure through the East Central
BOCES. I began my teaching career at a charter school in Colorado Springs before I had even completed my
college degree, so I have already been teaching for over fifteen years! You can rest assured that your child is in
good hands in my classroom.

        I would also like to tell you a little bit about the science activities I have planned for this school year.
Preparing students for the world in which they live (and eventually will work) is extremely important. Students
need to utilize technology for much more than socializing with their friends. They need to learn to collaborate,
create, communicate, and discern the truth from a variety of resources. Therefore, in this classroom, we will
rely heavily on mobile device technology as we learn chemistry and identify how it applies to our lives. This
means that they should be prepared to use laptops, netbooks, iPods, cell phones, PSPs, usb-flash drives, SD
cards, or other means of transferring data and accessing content. It is also useful to have their own headphones
or earbuds. Do not expect to be able to use your electronics in other teachers’ classes. Chemistry classes have
special permission to try a new way of learning

         We are going to try something new and exciting next year in the chemistry classes called the Flipped
Class Model. First, all the lectures have been recorded on video podcasts so now the time we spent in class on
lecture/notes will become what the students do for homework. Their homework assignment is to download a
video file from my website or from iTunes and to watch it on a computer, iPod, or cell phone. For those who
(like me) don’t have reliable internet, I can also burn a DVD or transfer the file to your kid’s flashdrive. It will
be critical for the next few weeks that your kids come to class with a flashdrive and/or with their ipods, cell
phones, PSP, or other devise for watching a video and with headphones. Sounds like a very strange request,
doesn’t it! I want them to have access to the lecture in whatever format they are most familiar with. Remember,
this is new, so there may be some technology glitches at first. Please take the opportunity to inform your child
of the family cell phone plan since they may be sending up to 5 text messages to their class per week (20 per
month) and using the data plan when they access web resources or stream podcasts. It’s also a good time to talk
about cell phone etiquette and web security.

        Second, since they are watching lectures at home, the time in class will be spent doing demos, labs, and
practice problems. The assignments that have traditionally been given for homework will now become what
they do in class. This is called the “Flipped Class” model because now they’re doing homework in class and
watching lectures at home for homework. Since AP Chemistry requires extra time, students may still be
spending time outside of class to finish up problems and do extended reading in their text, but in the past when
students were stuck on homework at home they feel frustrated and discouraged and they give up. With the
flipped class, when they get stuck on a problem I will be right there to coach and guide them through it, then
give them another one just like it to build confidence, understanding, and mastery.

        Finally, the way grades are reported is going to change district-wide to more accurately reflect student
achievement. AP Chemistry is “flipping,” but not using mastery learning in which students move at their own
pace. We have to move at the pace determined by the college board so I will NOT be slowing down when
students don’t understand. I can’t. I am available for extra help after school and online so those who fall behind
will have to come in for extra help or hire a tutor on their own. Homework and daily Warm-Up quizzes will be
worth 5-10 points each. Labs are worth 30 points and Unit Tests are worth 50 points. Students have the option
to retake any test so I will not be curving test scores. Please review the “Ticket to a Retake” policy in the
syllabus because it may be the salvation of the GPA.

        I will need your support both at home and in the science lab. We are trying something new and there
will be a little bit of adjustment time, especially on the technology side. It will be easiest if your student brings a
flashdrive to class – it’s the most reliable way to access the podcast and won’t cost you anything on your cell
phone or internet bill. Feel free to view the podcast with your kids as they watch it for homework – but also
realize that we are newbies at producing podcasts and we might seem a little silly! The podcasts will get better
as we get more practice at making them (the silliness, however, is incurable… that’s just the way I am). You
can also support and encourage your child by asking questions about the science we are doing in school and by
participating in many of the Take-Home Activities we’ll be doing, such as the one included with this letter.

        It is also critical that you find positive things to look for in your child’s work. AP Chemistry is VERY
demanding and it may be difficult for you to congratulate you kid for getting an F on a test, but I need you to
find something they did that was right and comment on that – not saying anything at all about the grade! It will
take us until Fall Break to determine whether the grade is due to lack of effort or just due to the rigorous nature
of the course. I will let you know when it’s time to commence the beatings! Until then, please find only good
things to say about their work in this class.

        Your child’s success in AP Chemistry is important to me as is our communication about your child’s
progress. Falcon High School open house is August 9 from 6-8 pm. We will have a mandatory parent meeting
at 5:30 so we can address issue that only pertain to AP Chem. If your child is also an athlete, please come to
G109 as soon as the Fall Athletic Parent Meeting is done. Your attendance also earns your student a free
Homework Pass! Feel free to call or email me whenever you have questions or concerns. My school number is
495-1149 x 2057 and my email address is jgray@d49.org . My classroom website can be accessed at
www.missgrayscience.weebly.com or simply use the camera on your iPod or smart phone to link directly on
your mobile device using the QR Code (must have code reader app installed) in the bottom right corner of this
page. On that site you will find the class syllabus, links to podcasts, and any other handouts we distribute in
class.

         I look forward to working with you to help your child learn the skills necessary to be successful in
science. Now it is your turn to tell me more about your child. Please make sure you have reviewed the syllabus
on my website with your student and signed the Lab Safety Contract to return by Friday, August 12. There is
also a portion called “A Million Words or Less.” This will help me to get to know your child’s strengths,
talents, and personality so we can work together more effectively. No one knows your child better than you and
I would really appreciate your insights. You can write as much or as little as you choose. Feel free to send it in
an email, a voicemail, or even on a sticky-note! Thank you in advance for taking the time to complete this
activity.

Sincerely,




Jennifer Gray
                                  Falcon High School Chemistry
Please review the policies in the syllabus and discuss them with your child. Your signature below
indicates that you have accessed the class syllabus online, read and support the guidelines for this
class. Please complete the personal lab safety and Technology Questionaire, then sign and return
the bottom portion only. Keep the letter above for yourself and your child.
*NOTE: limited print copies of syllabi are available at school if web access is unreliable at home

Important Lab Safety Information about Your Child (check all that apply)
   o wears contact lenses
   o sulfur allergies
   o latex allergies
   o heart condition
   o asthma
   o other severe allergies? (please specify)________________________________________

Technology Questionaire: What technology do you regularly interact with either at school or at
home? (check all that apply)
   o Cell Phone                                    o Laptop
   o Smart Phone                                   o Netbook
   o iPod Touch or iPod Nano                       o Desktop PC or Mac
   o iPad                                          o None
   o PSP or DS                                     o Other ________________________


   Parent Signature______________________________________ Date_____________

   Student Signature_______________________________________Date_____________

In a million words or less, please tell me about your child.
____________________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________________
                Falcon High School Science


                                     Laboratory Safety Contract
Your work in the science laboratory will occasionally involve the use of equipment and chemical reagents
that have the potential of doing harm if they are not handled properly. In order to make your learning
experience in the laboratory meaningful and safe, it is essential that you adhere to the following general
safety rules at all times. Specific safety procedures will be given in each laboratory when they are
needed; these may also be supplemented by your instructor.

•Wear safety goggles during all activities involving the use of caustic or corrosive chemicals and at any other time
as directed by your instructor.

•Contact lenses may represent a hazard under certain circumstances. If this is the case, your instructor will inform
you and require you to wear goggles specifically designed for people with contact lenses.

•Do not eat or drink in the laboratory. Never smell any chemical directly from the container. To smell a chemical,
fan the vapors toward you with your hand.

•Wear closed toed shoes.

•Horseplay, practical jokes, and pranks are dangerouand prohibited.

•Immediately report any chemical or bacteriological spills to your instructor so that proper cleanup procedures
may be carried out.

•Learn the location and proper use of all safety equipment: fire blanket, eyewash fountain, first aid kit, fire
extinguisher, and fire alarm.

•Avoid wearing loose, baggy clothing in the laboratory. Tie back long hair and roll up long sleeves when working
near ALL open flame or heat source.

•Treat all toxic and flammable chemical reagents with extreme care. Follow any specific instructions given by your
instructor concerning the chemicals used in a particular laboratory activity.

•Dispose of used chemicals and solid waste in the proper container and according to your instructor's directions.
Never handle broken glass yourself, immediately inform your instructor.

•Keep your area clean by wiping your work surface after use. Clean all equipment and return it to its proper place
in the laboratory after use. Notify your instructor immediately of any accident, no matter how trivial it may
appear.

Laboratory Safety Contract
I have read, understand, and agree to follow the safety procedures described on this
page as well as any other written or verbal instruction provided by my instructor.




Student Name                                                      Period




Student Signature                                                 Parent/Guardian Signature


FHS2011-12

								
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