Frequently Asked Questions
If ever have questions about the class, the topics we're studying, the grade your earning, or anything else I can help with, please don't hesitate to ask me in person. Of course, there are questions that come up from students often, so I've included them here, along with the answer you'd get from me if I told you in person.
I was absent, did I miss anything important? What did I miss?
Of course you missed something important! In order for you to gain the most out of your education in science, you must be present as much as possible.
If you have to be absent, that means it's your responsibility (not mine) to get caught up. Your first step should not be to ask me what you missed, but rather to check your class' calendar here on the website. Every day's agenda is listed, along with details, about what took place during your absence. Any documents or PowerPoints you missed can be found in that unit section on the website. Biology students should check with a classmate or the master Science Notebook Table of Contents to see if you need to update it. Finally ... after you've done those things, see me about scheduling time to make up any activity, quiz, or test you may have missed, or to get any questions answered.
Above all else remember this: you were absent which means you have more work to do to get caught up, not me.
What should I do if I know I'm going to be absent in the future?
It's crucial that you're in class to get the most out of your education. I'm sure that parents/guardians realize this and wouldn't intentionally schedule a vacation during the school year which would cause you to miss out.
However, in the event that you must miss school, you'll just need to check the class website often and keep up with any lectures, readings, or other assignments that are posted online. Some work is posted in advance of the unit, but that is not guaranteed. Therefore, I will not be able to provide any un-posted work in advance.
I believe that it is most important for students to complete the originally assigned classwork to the best of their ability. I do not want students to rely upon the possibility of extra coursework to make up for performance on the actual curriculum.
Extra credit is not available. Ever.
What if I don't have time, or don't want, to complete my homework or any graded work on time? What's the policy on late work?
At this point in your life, you're adults ... or at least close enough! In the real world (cliche, I know), there are deadlines. If you miss them, there are always consequences. They may be minor, or they may be quite severe. One thing is for sure, you're the only one who has to live with those consequences -- not your friends, not your parents, not me ... no one but you.
Homework, which is for practice of concepts, and graded work have deadlines for a reason: to provide you with the practice and feedback you need to be as prepared as possible for assessments. If you don't complete work by a deadline, you will suffer a consequence: not being prepared for class. But as far as your grade is concerned, you can complete work for a unit by the end of that unit (marked by the date of the unit assessment) without penalty. However, I will identify in Skyward that your work was late.
After the unit has ended, which is after your class period on an assessment day, your work will receive a 50% penalty. There are no exceptions to this rule. Ever. You will have until the end of the semester to turn in such late work. A specific semester deadline for 50%-off work will be announced in class and on this website.
Why do I need to use turnitin.com for my graded work? What if I don't have access to a computer with internet access?
For those who aren't familiar with it, turnitin.com is a popular, long-standing web service that allows students to submit work electronically. The benefits include: a reduction in paper use, a way to verify a student's work is original, and much faster and far more thorough teacher feedback. Plus, it guarantees that students will never lose a paper since they're stored digitally online!
If you don't have access to an internet-connected computer, you have a couple of options. First, you can use the computers in the classroom. Often, there will be time available for students to work on completing assignments if you use your time wisely. You can also come in after school and use the computers. (Check the After School Availability calendar) Second, you can use the computers in the school library ... just be sure to verify the library's hours.
Are there study guides for tests?
No, you're in high school.
Your science notebook, as well as the information provided on this website, outlines all information you can expect on a test. Of course, if you haven't been maintaining your science notebook, you'll be missing information.
AP students should also use the syllabus for their class to help focus your studies.
Why aren't grades rounded?
In order to maintain a uniform system of grading so that all students are treated equally, the grading scale and policies of my class are very objective. A student who has produced 89.99% quality work will have earned a "B+." But, one who has applied him/herself a bit more and produced 90.00% quality work will have earned an "A-."
This also applies to AP classes where plusses and minuses have been eliminated. An 89.99% is a "B," and a 90.00% is an "A."
Save yourself the time: do not ask for me to round your grade or for extra work to boost your grade. It will not happen.
Why are some assignments graded and others aren't? What work will have an affect on my grade? What if I decide not to do the ungraded work?
The purpose of your grade is to show your current level of proficiency (understanding and ability) in science. Summative assessments (tests) serve that purpose, as well as some work you produce based on activities. However, homework, classwork, informal quizzes, and your science notebook do not. Any work you can complete with the help of others, like homework and classwork, would not accurately reflect what you know and can do. As in sports, music, games, etc., homework and classwork is practice. Quizzes are meant only as checkpoints of understanding as we progress through a unit. You should use them as study aids to focus your reviewing time. Your science notebook is to serve as a record of your work in science and a study guide.
Tests will affect your grade. Also, some activities may require you to turn in things like: procedures, graphs, data tables, conclusions, etc. Those will also have an affect on your grade.
It's entirely your choice to complete ungraded work. However, ungraded work is checked for completion and recorded in Skyward. Therefore, there will be a record of your work habits and completion rate available for you and parents to see. Generally, if a student chooses not to complete ungraded work, yet still performs well on graded activity work and tests, it's not a problem and I don't concern myself with it. However, if a student is NOT completing the practice homework/classwork, and graded activity work and tests are poor ...
I don't like where I'm sitting. I want to sit with my friend(s). When will the seating chart change?
I create the class seating chart based on many factors in order to make sure that engagement and learning is maximized. That will likely mean you won't be a group with your best friend, or in one with people you don't function well with. At my discretion, I will change the seating chart on a regular basis, typically 2 - 3 times per semester.
If you are unable to see or hear from your current seat, please see me at an appropriate time so that I can explore how to change the seating assignments.
Why can't I ask for extra credit to help boost my grade?
There are lots of ways you can get something cleared up. First, you could always raise your hand and ask in class. Or, if you're not willing to do that, you could email me your individual question.
If you need some extra help, I'm available almost every day (except Wednesday) after school. If you want to come by for extra help, all I ask is that you check the After School Availability calendar. It is my goal to make sure that I help all students work toward a strong science education.
How can I get something clarified that I don't understand, or how can I get extra help?
Why do I need to hand in my cell phone when I go to the bathroom?
A better question is: why do you need your cell phone to go to the bathroom?! If you need to use the bathroom, THAT is what you should be doing, not wandering the halls texting, tweeting, snapchatting, instagramming, hashtagging, etc.
It ensures that students make good use of their time and return to class quickly. Plus, it's a quick way for me to know if anyone is out of the room.
Do you really consider 9:01pm late if 9:00pm is the deadline time? When will my late work be graded, assuming it still qualifies for earning points?
Yes, of course 9:01 is late if 9:00 is the deadline time. You're given plenty of time to complete work - both in class, and especially outside of class. If you're waiting until the last minute to get work completed, or to submit it to turnitin.com, you'll have to live with the consequences.
One of the consequences is that late work, even one minute late, is graded after all other on time work for all of my classes. It also takes a back seat to my time in setting up labs, putting supplies away, etc. While your late work is waiting to be graded, a zero will be logged into Skyward until the late work is entered into the grade book. Grading late work is never a top priority.