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Word Travelers “Start Here, Go Anywhere” 7th Grade Literacy 2010-2011 Course Syllabus Mr. Stafford, Instructor & Guide Email: email@example.com Phone: (407) 862-7688 Office Hours: Times by arrangement Class Web Page: www.word-travelers.com Word Travelers: Literacy (Reading & Writing) This course will cover the world of words, hence the title “Word Travelers”. In the world we live in, there are few qualities as essential to success as the ability to be a strong communicator. That is why the purpose of this course is to foster improved communication skills, evidenced by: 1. A broadened vocabulary 2. Unbiased interpretation 3. Deeper comprehension 4. Skilled writing 5. Eloquent speaking 6. Careful listening. Students will learn how to interact with and interpret the words around them. Now that the SAT and most major standardized tests include essay writing, we will spend a considerable portion of time writing essay style compositions both in and out of class. Things to Pack (Course Materials) 1. A Dictionary and a Thesaurus 2. A three ring binder for your portfolio 3. Standard notebook paper 4. Printer paper (students will be responsible for providing paper for the work they choose to print at school) 5. A Composition Notebook 6. Pencils and/or pens (black or blue ONLY) 7. 200 3 x 5 index cards 8. A Library Card Word-Travelers.com Word-Traverlers.com is your complete online guide to this course. From this site, you can access current classroom news, an interactive calendar, updated Tribe points, examples of A+ work, your most recent grades, and all your homework (weeks in advance!). Bookmark this site as soon as possible, and drop by daily to check out a slide show from class, answer the weekly pole question, put a puzzle together, or join in on the Word Travelers Blog. Also, Most of the quizzes from this course will take place online, so it is essential that the student is familiar with the website. Class Calendar Word-Traverlers.com contains a dynamic class calendar that is both informative and interactive. Students and parents alike can see every assignment and due date as well as activities and classroom news. By simply clicking on the events listed on the calendar, you can access every PowerPoint, video, and internet link used in class. You can also download handouts from class, so you never have to worry about losing a paper again. This year, video tutorials will be added for students who are looking for a quick review or deeper explanations of a topic. All this and more is available to the whole year in advance. (Note: it is important to check the calendar daily, as features may be added and subtracted as needed.) Quizzes As stated above, most quizzes are to be taken online at the classroom website. They are assigned on the day the information is covered, and students are usually given two or more days to take the quiz (pay close attention to the class calendar for due dates). Quizzes are open-notes and open-internet; however, they are timed, so work quickly. Quizzes should be completed by midnight on the scheduled due date, once the date has passed, quizzes become locked and can not be taken. Quizzes cannot be made up under any circumstances. Writing Compositions Many of the writing assignments for this course will be submitted using a revolutionary tool known as “The Writing Practice Program” (WPP Online). This internet site is aligned with the national writing standards and allows the student to create a writing portfolio via the internet, in addition it allows for instant feedback and guidance with entertaining tutorials. The benefits for you are substantial, including the ability to continue to revise your writing until you get the grade you want for that assignment. Explorer’s Club During each new unit, the class as a whole will travel into the pages of an exciting new adventure. In addition to this class trip, students will choose to participate in at least one Explorer’s Club. This gives you the opportunity to do some exploring on your own or in a small group. You will usually have numerous thrilling destinations to choose from, based on the style of writing we are studying. As you participate in each Explorer’s Club you will be required to record and report your findings to the class. Each week you are required to do five “20 and 10’s”, this means that you read your chosen book for 20 minutes and take10 minutes to record your summary and reaction in your Explorer’s Club journal. Grades for X-Club are cumulative, so for example, if you only are able to read 60 minutes one week, you could read 140 minutes the next week and be completely caught up. However, it would be in your best interest to stay as current as possible. In addition, X-club is your next best option, after Tribes, to receive extra credit. Journals are checked each Thursday or Friday, please refer to your calendar for details. Assessment Grades are weighted based on a time tested formula to determine a student’s true achievement/knowledge of a course of study. This may represent a departure from what you are used to, the typical elementary straight points model. The formula below explains the categories of assessment and how each one is weighted. A student’s grade reflects Assessment Scale (Writing) Assessment Scale (Reading) Class work / Homework - 15% Classwork / Homework - 20% Tests / Quizzes - 15% Explorer’s Club - 20% Papers, Projects, Presentations - 70% Quizzes/ Unit Tests - 60% Grade Scale A = 100-93% C+ = 79-77% A- = 92-90% C = 76-73% B+ = 89-87% C- = 72-70% B = 86-83% D = 69-60% B- = 82-80% F = 59-0% (Personal Note on grades: The grades you receive do not reflect your worth as a person, but rather the effort put into a class) Grade Reports Grades are reported through RenWeb/ParentWeb. Homework Policy – ALL work should be turned in on its due date. Late work will be accepted within the unit period the assignment was due, however a 50% penalty will be assessed. Once we enter a unit, NO work from the previous unit will be accepted. TRIBES Each member of the class will be divided into groups called TRIBES. Over the course of the semester the groups will accumulate points for various activities, games, projects, presentations, and even class conduct. At the end of each 9 weeks, the members of the TRIBE with the highest point total will each receive 7% extra credit on their grade in both the Reading and Writing categories. The members of the second place TRIBE will receive 5% extra credit, and the members of the third place TRIBE will receive 3% extra credit. Also, at the end of each semester the TRIBE with the highest point total in the 7th grade will be guest of honor at a Pizza Party. In Addition to extra credit, numerous other prizes will be passed out over the year. (Note: Once you are placed in a TRIBE, you are in that TRIBE for an entire semester) Class Historian Each classroom will elect a class historian whose job it will be to record the events of the school year via photographs, video recordings, etc. The class historians will receive 2% extra credit in Reading and Writing. Classroom Rules The Rule is Respect. Respect God Respect others Respect the teacher And last but not least, Respect yourself The Consequences This classroom seeks to provide a safe environment where all can come and learn and discuss both facts and opinions. As such, the rule of respect will not be compromised, seeing that it is important in life as well as inside these walls. If the rule is being broken, reminders will be given, and if necessary, a private meeting will be arranged. If respect continues to be a problem, students will be asked to leave. Only after being cleared by administration may the student return to class. Plagiarism All work handed in must be original. If you borrow from other sources, those sources must be referenced. The penalties for plagiarism are heavy, and could result in a failing grade in this course. Learning Disabilities If you have been diagnosed with a learning disability please contact Mrs. Poole, and I will make accommodations for you in this class. Word Travelers: Passport Packages (Units) Unit #1 Choosing your Destination Reading Emphasis – “The Young Traveler’s Gift” by Andy Andrews Writing Emphasis – Narratives, Biographies, & Goal Setting Unit Project(s) – A Memoir Memory Explorer’s Club Focus – Biographies & Nonfiction Unit Test – September 28 Unit #2 Islands of Adventure Reading Emphasis – “Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson Writing Emphasis – Painting with Words (Descriptive Writing) Unit Project(s) – “Awesome Adjective Menu”, “My Island in the Sun” Explorer’s Club Focus – Juvenile Fiction Unit Test – November 16 Unit #3 In Search of the Christmas Spirit Reading Emphasis – Christmas Literature headlined by, “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens Writing Emphasis – Creative Writing Unit Project(s) – “In Search of the Christmas Spirit” Explorer’s Club – Books and Articles related to Christmas Unit Test – December 14 Unit #4 Discovering America and American Authors Reading Emphasis – Survey of Works by Famous American Authors Writing Emphasis – Giving Instructions & The Power of Persuasion Unit Project(s) - “How To” Presentation, “The Great Debates” Explorer’s Club – Readers Choice (Historical Fiction Bonus) Unit Test – February 22 Unit #5 The Words of the World Reading Emphasis – Poetry Writing Emphasis – Poetry Unit Project(s) – “My Poetry Book” Explorer’s Club – Poetry Unit Test – April 13 Unit #6 Exploring England and British Authors Reading Emphasis – “Romeo & Juliet” by William Shakespeare Writing Emphasis – Expository Writing and Writing a Script Unit Project(s) – “Write On” Opinion papers Explorer’s Club – Readers Choice Unit Test – May 10 This syllabus is your Travel Guide for the year. It is of supreme importance to you, and will answer many of your questions before you ask them. DO NOT LOSE THIS DOCUMENT! Get Ready to Become a Word Traveler!
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