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    Dear Student:

     

              Welcome to math at Cross Middle School.  This is going to be a wonderful year.  All of us at Cross would like to welcome you, the incoming sixth grade students and your parents.

     

    Course 1 Math=Sixth Grade Math

                 This class is called Course 1 Math. It is 6th grade math for 6th grade students.  We will learn the sixth-grade standards using the Pearson EnVision Math 2.0 textbook series, Aleks and Edgenuity (online educational programs), and many other resources.  There will be many opportunities for enrichment and extra support in class as we learn together.

     

    Grades

             Quarter grades for the math class portion of this class will be based on five categories.

     

    • Classwork 10%
    • Math Binder 5%
    • On-line Learning 15%
    • Quizzes 30%
    • Tests 40%

     

    This means that at the end of the quarter the average grade for tests will count as 40% of the final grade.  The average grade for all of the quizzes taken in the quarter will count as 35% of the final grade, Classwork as 15%, and work in the Math Binder will count for 10% of the final grade.   Even though there may be many more points assigned in the classwork category, the points in this category do not impact the final grade as much as the points earned in the quizzes and tests categories.  Some categories, such as homework, citizenship, and work habits may count as 0% of the final grade but are recorded to help communicate student progress with home.

     

    Classwork:  Assignments that are completed in class, and show mastery of content such as classwork checks, weekly classwork worksheets, and the daily mountain math bell work will be graded in the classwork category.  These topics are one of the ways students will learn all of the sixth-grade standards in math this year. We will spiral basic skills mixed with problem solving all year. On Mondays students will complete a graphing worksheet, on Tuesdays they will complete a Jumpstart Worksheet (mixed problem solving). On Wednesdays students will practice geometry skills. On Thursdays students will work on statistics skills, test taking skills, or algebra skills. If students do not finish the classwork worksheets during class, they can finish them for homework on Thursdays. On Friday students will correct the worksheets as a class then show what they have learned that week on a classwork check. This will include problems from each worksheet that week as well as Mountain Math problems.

     

    The textbooks this year are consumable. Students will have their own book to write in and complete. The book should be kept in the student’s math binder unless it is turned in for correction.  The book is also available in an online version. Information for accessing the online content for this year’s books will be sent home later in August. Completion of some assigned problems in the textbooks will be graded in the classwork category.

     

    At the end of the quarter the average grade for all classwork assignments will be equal to 10% of the final grade.

     

    Math Binder:  Students will learn to take interactive notes in math this year over every topic that we learn together. Student notes, and a well-organized math binder, can be a valuable tool for students in class and at home. Students can use their binders on tests and quizzes in class. Binders will be checked at least twice each quarter for a grade.

     

    This category will also reflect assignments that are meant to help a student learn how to learn math.  This includes such assignments as agenda checks and effort logs. 

     

    On-Line Learning:  We will use many on-line resources this year to help achieve our learning goals. We will have time in class on Thursdays to complete weekly computer assignments. Students can also access all of their math sites at home, in the Cross library or public library. Students will keep their log-in information for all of the sites in their responsibility folders.

     

    At the end of the quarter the average grade for all assignments in this category will be worth 10% of the final grade.

     

    Quizzes:  Every week we will take a quiz over the content learned in class over the last week.  These quizzes will include questions similar to those that were on the homework and classwork from the week.  Quiz questions will directly measure your ability to complete the learning objectives for the week.   Students are expected to complete corrective work on any quiz on which they earn less than 100%. At the end of the quarter the average grade for all quizzes taken in the quarter will be equal to 35% of the final grade.

     

    Tests:  At the end of each unit of study there will be a test over the objectives for the topic.  The tests taken each quarter will be worth 40% of the final grade. In quarter four there will be an end of course final exam worth more than a regular test grade.

     

     

    What about homework?

            You may have noticed that homework is not listed as a category impacting the final grade.  This does not mean that there is no homework in math.  Math is a process, and the only way to master a process is by practicing it.  Most days students will have math homework.  To find out what the homework is every day please sign up for weekly math newsletter to see the planned assignments for the week.  A letter with sign up information will be sent home next Monday. If you find that your math homework is taking more than 30 minutes of any day please let me know so that we can adjust the practice sessions to better help you to learn. 

                Students do not complete homework to earn a grade.  Homework is the opportunity to practice and learn the skills needed to be able to meet the learning objective for each topic.  Students correct their completed homework in groups daily to get feedback on their learning.  This collaboration is a big part of the learning process.  Students that complete their homework, and then correct any errors on the assignments in class will have a higher grade because they will do better on their quizzes and tests than students that don’t do their homework.  I record students’ completion of their homework on their weekly effort logs and use the information to assign a work habits grade each quarter.  

     

    I was absent. What do I do?

             If you are absent you will have a number of school days equal to your absence available to make up any work you may have missed.  It is your responsibility to find out what you missed and to turn in your work to the appropriate place.  The work we complete each day is posted on an absent instruction page in the classroom.  Work may also be found on the weekly newsletter, and by asking me or your learning group.  You must label all absent work as absent on the top of the page and turn it in to the absent bin.

    If you will be absent for two or more days, please call the office to make arrangements to have your work picked up.

                If absent work has not been completed by the next progress report the assignment will be displayed as ab and have a score of 0 points.  If it is completed within the time allowed the score will be replaced with the earned grade, if it is not completed it will remain a zero.

     

    I earned a bad grade. Now what?

                All tests and quizzes may be retaken.  If you did not understand the skills being assessed on a quiz or test before you took the assessment the first time, you must do something to change the misunderstanding.  Please see me, the teacher’s aide, your learning group members, your parents, or the free tutoring available at the public library (see my website for links to tutoring resources) for help to relearn the topic.

                To retake a quiz, you must correct all the problems that you missed on a new sheet of paper.  For each question that you miss you must write at least one sentence explaining what your error was and show work for the correct answer.  Staple the redo paper to the original and turn the corrections into the redo bin in class.  You cannot redo a quiz without the original work.  This is so both you and I can see the changes in your learning.  I will average the scores from the corrections and the original quiz together. 

                To retake a test, you must correct any problems you missed and have an adult sign the test to show that you have studied for the retake.  You must then return the test and make an appointment for the retake.  You will retake a different version of the entire test.  You will receive the higher of the two grades. 

                You may not redo classwork assignments, including classwork checks, for a changed grade, but you are encouraged to correct your errors to help you learn the material better.

                It is your responsibility to ask for help if you need it.  Some sections of this class may be harder for you than others, but if you put forth effort you will succeed.

     

    Materials:

    You will need for this class:

     

    To bring with you every day:

    • Pencils (mechanical with lots of lead or regular with your own sharpener)
    • Dry eraser markers
    • Loose notebook paper
    • Folder to take home assignments and bring them back (your responsibility folder)
    • A calculator. (see note below)
    • Earphones/earbuds to use with the classroom computers

     

    To leave in the classroom:

    • Divider tabs for the binder
    • A 1½ -inch or 2-inch binder (just for math class)
    • A folder with pockets (just for math class)
    • A box of tissues (please donate)

     

    To keep at home for now and use later in the year:

    • More pencils
    • More loose paper
    • More dry-erase markers

     

    If you have any financial concerns about obtaining these supplies please let me know.

    Calculator:  You will learn how to use a scientific calculator this year.  Any Texas Instruments scientific calculator will support the textbook activities. For most lessons and for homework a basic calculator will be fine.  There will be a limited number of calculators available for student use in class, but you may find it easier to have your own calculator that you can practice with.  You will want to have at least a basic calculator at home to use for many of the homework assignments this year.  By the time a student enters Course 3 (Eighth Grade Math) they will need a TI 84 Graphing Calculator. 

    Textbook

                To help us learn this year we will be using several resources.  The book for this class is enVisionmath 2.0 by Scott Foreman, Addison Wesley.  This is a consumable book (the book has pages that are meant to be written in and used.)  The book has two volumes and will be kept in the classroom, in each student math binder.  (Please be careful with your book.  Due to limited resources if you misplace or damage it, you must replace it.)  Throughout the year we will also use worksheets, computers, manipulatives, and each other to help us learn!

                Please look for information by the end of the month detailing directions to access the online portions of the book at home.

     

    Classroom Rules

                In order to help you learn in a safe, comfortable environment we will follow a set of classroom rules.  These rules, as well as the consequences for choosing to break the rules, are posted in the room and included on the Weekly Effort Log.  The behavior notes made on these logs will be used to assign your citizenship grade each quarter. We will use the Sixth-Grade responsibility plan in my class as well.

     

    Teacher Communication

                There are many ways that I will communicate with students and parents about my expectations over the course of the school year.  At the start of each unit of study students will take a pre-assessment that details the learning objectives for the chapter.  The homework is posted daily in the classroom and students are given time in class to copy their assignments into their agendas.

                Please check my weekly newsletters for information about the units that we are studying, homework, notes, and valuable study aids.

                I update grades to the parent portal every two weeks, usually over the weekend.  Please email the registrar (swilliams2@amphi.com) for information about your username and password for the parent portal if you are unable to access this important tool.  I also provide students with the information on their Weekly Effort Log and by requiring them to access their grades on the Tyler system every week. 

                Some parents find it helpful to have me sign their child’s agenda to help facilitate communication.  Just let me know by phone or email and I would be happy to do so.

                If you need to contact me at any time please email me at lfalcon@amphi.com, or leave a voicemail message at 696-5959.

     

    Frequently Asked Questions about Parent Portal

    What does the red exclamation mark mean? This mark shows up when I have entered the assignment to the gradebook, but I have not yet entered the score for your student.  This may be because it is still being graded, or the class is correcting the work in the room before posting. It does not mean that the work is missing.  Missing work will be indicated with a 49%, ab, or mi designation.

    What does a 49% mean? This is the grade assigned when the assignment was not turned in.  If I have no record of a student completing an assignment by the end of the quarter, I enter a score or 49%. If your child feels that they did the work have them check the no-name folder in class. During the quarter I will enter a missing (0% grade) for the assignment until the last week of the grading period.

    What if the assignment appears but there is no grade listed? The assignment is entered into the gradebook, but not due yet.

    What does an “e” mean? The assignment was not graded for your child.  They may have completed an alternative assignment that better matched their learning needs for that topic.

     

    In closing, welcome to Cross Middle School.  We are going to have a wonderful year.

    Sincerely,                                 

     

    Leah Falcon

    Sixth Grade Math Teacher

    Cross Middle School