Guzmán’s Science
2013-2014 Syllabus

I am very excited to be a part of Berkshire’s 8th Grade team and am looking forward to making this a successful year for your child! We will be going over this syllabus during class during the first week of school. If you have any questions, you may find my contact information below.

Curriculum
Our class will spend the year studying the State of Michigan High School Earth Science Content Expectations. While this can be a challenging transition, the pace and supporting activities that we will do in class supports students at the middle school level.

Students will have an opportunity to examine the nature of science through inquiry and reflection, as well as the social implications of scientific phenomena. We will build upon basic knowledge of the earth sciences by frequently examining current data, observing models, and conducting our own research into these ever-changing areas of science. Students will be continually asked to think critically about the world around them as they deepen their knowledge in the earth sciences.

I will use a number of different resources, including the Prentice Hall Earth Science textbook. The vast majority of the resources we use, including our textbook, will be accessible to students via my Website.

Interactive Science Binders (ISB)
Your child will be asked to keep all classwork, homework, notes, handouts, etc. in their interactive science binders (ISBs). Students are expected to bring these with them to class and keep them up-to-date at all times. These binders will serve as more than an organizational tool, they are the place where your child will demonstrate their thoughts, questions, and growth throughout the year. Binders will be assessed a number of times each card marking and will account for 30% of student grades. Please see the ISB section of my website for further detail on how binders will be kept, assessed and graded.

Rules and Supplies
I expect that students should be prepared and on time with all supplies (science binder, lined paper, pen or pencil, and textbook). If you have any difficulty proving these items, please contact me. Students should also be ready to follow proper science lab safety procedures, and behave with respect when they enter my classroom. Frequently abusing any one of these can have an enormous impact on your child’s progress and the classroom climate as a whole. In order to keep the classroom running effectively, expect to hear from me if your child has difficulty correcting any inappropriate behaviors on his/her own.

Technology
I welcome the use of Wi-Fi enabled student devices in my classroom when used appropriately. There will be a number of opportunities where these can be used to enhance our curriculum. These are not a requirement, and we will also have access to shared devices if a student does not have access to their own. Please understand that I have a zero tolerance policy for misuse of these devices. If a student is abusing the privilege, I will confiscate their device for the hour. If misuse continues to be a problem, I will drop the device off in the main office for parent pick up.

Grading
Parents and students can be updated on their child’s progress by using PowerSchool. I strive to keep these up-to-date in order to give you a picture of your child’s current grade and attendance at your convenience. I will assume that you have access to this program and that you use it to monitor your child’s grade and attendance. I welcome any questions you may have, but place the primary responsibility for checking this upon both parents and students.

30% of student grades will be based upon interactive science binders. Grades in this category often give information about how well as student is preparing and participating in class.

70% of student grades will be based upon assessments such as projects, lab reports, quizzes, tests, presentations, etc. Grades in this category will often give information about how well students are comprehending material.

Late Work/”Next Day” Pass
We all make mistakes and our “Next Day” pass allows students some flexibility. If I ask to check your child’s binder and they don’t have it with them, they may use their “Next Day” pass and I will check it the following day with no penalty.

I will be collecting long-term assessments such as projects, papers, presentations, etc. If these are not ready on the due date, students may use their pass, which gives them one extra day to turn in with no penalty. After this one additional day, all late assessment grades will be significantly reduced to 60% of the total points possible.

Absences
If absent, your child will be responsible for picking up, completing, and turning in assignments in a timely manner. Each day we will post a short outline of what was done during class on our Website, as well as in a binder in the classroom. I am happy to help students with any questions after they’ve looked up this information. I’ll do my best to keep your child up-to-date during extended or planned absences, but this is not always possible due to the dynamic nature of our class.