TMCS, through the thick and thin our world has been through lately, continues to be my dream job, and I wouldn’t want to teach anywhere else! I consider TMCS a haven; a bubble, where kids get to be kids, and teachers get to focus on what’s truly important–the whole child. Middle school is definitely my sweet spot! I love the kids’ enthusiasm, the way they are finding out who they are, and even the drama that comes along with middle school. Through teaching English Language Arts, Social Studies and different exploratory classes, I love being able to help middle schoolers learn balance in their life between academics, creativity, self-discovery, self-acceptance, self-care, kindness and empathy, outdoor activities, and developing a healthy mindset. It’s my pleasure to interact with these young people daily, and my hope to make a positive mark on their lives!
I follow the Common Core standards for ELA and the Essential Standards for 8th Grade Social Studies, which can be found on the NCDPI website.
Goals for All ELA Classes:
- for each student to personally grow in the areas of reading, writing, oral expression and working together
- for students to develop a love of what the written word has to offer (and what they have to offer the written word)
- to work on developing any talents and strengthening any difficulties students may have within these areas
- to prepare students for the demands of high school in the areas of reading, writing and oral expression
Classwork may include, but is certainly not limited to: guided novel studies, journal writing, paper/essay writing, group and / or partner work on short-term and long-term projects and other assignments, independent work; whole group seminars, small group literature circles, read aloud, small group time with teacher; silent reading; work on vocabulary and spelling; oral presentations, take AR quizzes, short stories, nonfiction and poetry studies, viewing clips and movies and responding to them
- At least one class participation grade will be given each marking period. Students who regularly, actively participate in class work will score high in classroom participation. Students who regularly talk, read or do other things during class will score low in this area.
It is your child’s responsibility to write homework and short- and long-term assignments in his or her agenda.
- For 6th graders, I will sign the agendas when we write homework in them. If there is no homework, the agenda will not be signed by me.
- For 7th and 8th graders, I will only sign students’ agendas by parent request. Please contact me if you would like me to sign your child’s agenda daily.
Homework includes, but is not limited to:
- read 2 books of choosing near your lexile per marking period & fill in one given journal per book (2 journals per marking period)
- read assigned texts from class
- short- and long-term project work
- study and prepare for tests
- study and work on vocabulary and spelling
- finish up work that was assigned but not finished in class
Late Work Policy: All work is expected to be turned in by the assignment’s due date. Each day an assignment is late, one letter grade will be deducted. This means that all assignments only have a 3-day period until they become an F. Late work will not be accepted at the end of the marking period. Individual Education Plans will be honored. In addition, if a student is working diligently on an assignment or project and realizes he will need more time, he should come to me ASAP and I will consider an extension. Otherwise, the above policy will be followed.
Every child has the right to be able to focus and learn in class. Students are expected to behave in a manner that allows themselves and others to do just that. Behavior that interrupts the learning of oneself or others will be given a verbal warning. If distracting behavior continues, the student’s name will be written down. If the student has to be spoken to again, he or she will get a check mark next to his or her name, and will serve the next available lunch detention, and will miss out on lunch break as well, eating a silent lunch inside. The student will also call home and tell what he or she did to receive a lunch detention. Repeated offenses will result in after-school detention and / or conferences with parents.
The grading scale has changed this year. It is now a classic 10-point scale. 90-100=A; 80-89=B; 70-79=C; 60-69=D; 59 and below = F. I grade assignments with points. Different assignments and tests will be worth varying amounts of points. Most projects and tests are worth 100 points. Other assignments and homework will have varying scores.
- Please regularly check PowerSchool to keep up with grades.
- I am human, and I make mistakes. Keeping up with PowerSchool can not only help you stay informed, but you may see that you turned something in and it is not in the gradebook. If you point it out to me, we can figure it out together.
- I will have high expectations for you to be doing your very best on everything you do. I will be holding you to this.
Each student will keep a portfolio of completed & graded work. Some of the portfolio will be digital. Students are allowed to take hard copies home to show parents, but the work must return to school ASAP to stay in the portfolio. This portfolio will followed students all through middle school, and the work in this portfolio may be taken at the end of eighth grade to keep at home and. The portfolio will be regularly weeded out, and students will regularly evaluate their own work and growth using the portfolio.
In order to promote student ownership of work and behavior, all students are expected to attend and lead student-led conferences with a parent or guardian in the fall and in the spring. The students will be guided and prepared on how to lead the conference. Students will use their ELA portfolio for the ELA portion of the student-led conferences.
Most units in my classes will be mini-expeditions. However, the middle school will be collectively doing one full extended expedition each year. We have revised this year’s expedition, and it will center around From Surviving to Thriving. It will begin towards the end of the first marking period, will include Adventure Treks, and will conclude by the end of the school year. It will have a heavy emphasis on having kids evaluate where they are at at this point in their lives in many areas including school, and teaching them skills to not only survive, but to thrive in these areas. This will be a very personal and reflective expedition, helping each child become his or her own personal best through hands-on activities, challenges and service to others.
Students will be using Chrome Books regularly at school. They will have a secure email address and their own Google Drive to store their work on. They must abide by our usage policy, which we will soon have ready to be signed by students and parents. These Google accounts can also be accessed on any device that have internet connection at home or elsewhere. We are now using Google Classroom, which will hold many assignments and rubrics.