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Word Travelers

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									Word
Travelers
“Start Here, Go Anywhere”
                                                                 7th Grade Literacy
                                                                            2010-2011
                                Course Syllabus
                 Mr. Stafford, Instructor & Guide
                       Email: josh.stafford@myflec.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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