This page will answer questions commonly asked by students and parents.
- When are you available for extra help?
- Will there be field trips?
- What is the Leader in Me program?
- What is standards-based grading?
- What is the purpose of standard-based grading? What are the advantages of SBG?
- How will a student’s grade be reported out in the standards-based grading system?
- When are re-teaching/re-learning opportunities, as well as re-assessment opportunities?
- What is the Interactive Student Notebook (ISN)?
- Why use the interactive notebook?
- Is the interactive notebook research based?
- What happens if my notebook is lost?
- What if I'm a new student?
- How do you use the Interactive Student Notebook in class?
When are you available for extra help?
Tuesdays and Thursdays after school until 4:00 pm.
Wednesday mornings before school, starting at 7:00 am.
Other times by appointment.
Will there be field trips?
There will be at least one field trip. Most field trips in my class are online field trips. Last year my students visited Big Ben in London, and previously, New York during an online trip! These trips are based upon the unit we are currently studying.
What is the Leader in Me program?
Leader in Me is more than a program. It is the tools we need to develop successful habits in our life.
There will be more information to come as we discover these habits of successful people.
What is standards-based grading?
In a standards-based system, teachers report what students know and are able to do in relations to state standards. This allows for teachers, students, and parents to better isolate in what areas each student is having difficulty and in which areas students are doing well.
Traditional grading systems that utilize the A, B, C, D, and F communicate or summarize a student’s achievement in a subject. Standards-based grading sums up a student’s level of achievement (e.g., below standard, approaching standard, meets standard, or exceeds standard) on individual, specific standards. Standards-based grading better isolates areas in which students are making progress and, more importantly, helps teachers and students to target areas in which students need further support and assistance.
What is the purpose of standard-based grading? What are the advantages of SBG?
The purpose of standards-based grading is to raise student achievement by clearly communicating students’ progress towards learning outcomes (standards) in a timely, accurate, fair, and specific manner. SBG accurately communicates student achievement to students, parents, and educators. There is a heightened “specificity” in standards-based grading that wasn’t necessarily present in the “old” grading system. In SBG, work habits, attendance, responsibility, etc. are NOT incorporated into a student’s grade as these elements are not part of district standards. Thus, the grade a student receives represents a student’s demonstrated level of learning in relationship to the specific standards and nothing else.
Obviously, work habits do influence a student’s ability to learn and achieve and therefore, they are not simply dismissed nor are they irrelevant in terms of the learning process. A student who does not have good work habits is not likely to learn the material as well as someone who does exhibit good work habits and, as a result, might show lower achievement on an assessment.
I provide feedback on and report out on student progress in reference to those elements (e.g., work habits and behavior) that are not addressed in the standards using my behavior management system, Class Dojo. I understand the importance of work habits and behavior; however, they do not belong in students’ feedback on achievement as related to the standards.
How will a student’s grade be reported out in the standards-based grading system?
I will collect evidence of student understanding through observations, class work, projects, and test data and then evaluate overall performance using the following scale. Students will receive a 1, 2, 3, or a 4 on different pieces of “evidence”/assessments (assessments may be formative or summative assessments; however, homework should not be included as it is considered “practice” for the assessment). Students may also receive a 0 if they do not complete an assessment. For one assessment, a student may receive more than one grade due to the fact that an assessment may cover more than one standard. For example, on an assessment, a student may receive a 3 in one standard and perhaps a 4 in another standard. Both scores for that assessment would be entered into Infinite Campus to represent the student’s level of learning in each of the standards that was assessed.
The Standards-Based Grading Scale is as follows:
4=Exceeds standard (Mastery)
3=Meets standard (Proficient)
2=Approaching standard (Developing)
1=Below standard (Beginning)
In Infinite Campus, these numbers are equated to the following percentages.
When are re-teaching/re-learning opportunities, as well as re-assessment opportunities?
I am available after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Also, options are available on target practice Fridays.
What is the Interactive Student Notebook (ISN)?
The purpose of the interactive notebook is to enable students to be creative, independent thinkers and writers. Interactive notebooks are used for class notes as well as for other activities where the student will be asked to express his/her own ideas and process the information presented in class. Requirements vary from teacher to teacher and is set up according to the directions of the teacher. Some go left/right, others go right/left, and still others go sequential.
Why use the interactive notebook?
1) Differentiation. It reaches and engages different types of learners. It causes students to use both their visual and linguistic intelligences. ISNs encourage students to use both the visual and linguistic parts of the brains.
2) ACTIVE NOTES. Note-taking becomes an active process instead of a boring repeat and write. Students become directly involved in constructing their own knowledge. Much of the work is actually doing something with the information.
3) ORGANIZATION. Students organize as they learn. This skill helps students find the information they need.
4) EVIDENCE. The notebooks become a portfolio of individual learning. You can watch your child's growth over the school year and students have running evidence of their learning. This helps in developing the habit of collecting evidence.
5) ENGAGING. Students are actively engaged in the work they 'create' and time they put into these notebooks. Each notebook is personal and different, just like each student.
Is the interactive notebook research based?
The notebook concept was initially devised in the 1970s by several teachers in California and later it was
adapted for the History Alive program created by the Teachers’ Curriculum Institute in 1994.
For those familiar with teachers employing History Alive active instruction methodologies, they know that the
following educational research-based theories have inspired and influenced the activities of that successfully
Theory-Based Active Instruction
Lessons and activities are based on five well-established theories:
Understanding by Design – Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe believe that teaching for deep understanding
requires planning backward—first determining the big ideas students are to learn and then working backward to
identify methods to reach those goals and ways to assess the effectiveness of teaching.
Nonlinguistic Representation – Many psychologists believe that we think and remember better when we store
information in both linguistic and nonlinguistic forms. Research by Robert Marzano and colleagues demonstrates
that teaching with nonlinguistic activities such as graphic organizers, mental images, and movement helps to
improve students’ understanding of content.
Multiple Intelligences – According to Howard Gardner’s revolutionary theory, every student is intelligent – just not
in the same way. Because everyone learns in a different way, the best activities tap more than one kind of
intelligence. Gardner has described these seven intelligences: verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, visual-
spatial, body-kinesthetic, musical-rhythmic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal.
Cooperative Interaction – Elizabeth Cohen’s research has led her to conclude that cooperative groupwork leads
to learning gains and to higher student achievement. Cohen has found that if students are trained in cooperative
behaviors, placed in mixed-ability groups, and assigned roles to complete during a multiple-ability task, they tend
to interact more equally. This increased student interaction leads to more learning and great content retention.
Spiral Curriculum – Educational theorist Jerome Bruner championed the idea of the spiral curriculum, in which
students learn progressively more difficult concepts through a process of step-by-step discovery. With this
approach, all students can learn once a teacher has shown them how to think and discover knowledge for
Bower, Bert and Jim Lobdell. History Alive: Engaging All Learners in the Diverse Classroom.
San Francisco: Teachers’ Curriculum Institute, 1999.
What happens if my notebook is lost?
It is okay. Breath. We will get you started on another one, but typically these are kept in the classroom.
What if I'm a new student?
Welcome to Franklin-Simpson Middle School! We will get you started on the ISN, no worries!
How do you use the Interactive Student Notebook in class?
There are tons of ways that you can use the left hand side of the ISN (courtesy of History Alive):
Design advertisements to represent migration, settlement, or the significance of a specific site.
Make annotated illustrations to recount a story of travel or migration, to represent a moment in time or to label architectural features.
Use simple sketches of powerful images, accompanied by annotations, to help students understand difficult content.
Book / CD / Video Games covers – design the layout using information from the right side.
Draw caricatures to present the main characteristics of a group in history or how an individual or group was perceived by another group.
Write eulogies to extol the virtues of prominent historical figures or civilizations.
Draw facial expressions to summarize the feelings of groups who have different perspectives on a single event.
Create flow charts to show causal relationships or to show steps in a sequence.
Forms of Poetry
Write various forms of poetry to describe a person, place, event or feeling of a moment.
Assume the role of a historical figure to keep a journal that recounts the figure’s feelings and experiences in language of the era.
Illustrated Dictionary Entries
Explain key terms by created illustrated dictionary entries. Write adefinition, provide a synonym and an antonym, and draw an illustration to represent each term.
Use simple drawings and symbols to graphically highlight or organize class notes.
Create illustrated proverbs to explain complex concepts.
Create illustrated timelines to sequence a series of events in chronological order.
Design invitations that highlight the main goals and key facts of important historical events.
Draw and label outlines of the heads of important historical figures. Fill in the outline with quotations and paraphrased thoughts from that person.
Synthesize information from a broad content area by creating mosaics. Use visuals and words to represent similarities, differences and important concepts.
Design drawings or write newspaper articles to represent different perspectives on controversial figures, events and concepts.
Create pictowords (symbolic representations of words or phrases tha show their meaning) to help define difficult concepts.
Political Cartoons and Comic Strips
Create political cartoons and comic strips to provide social or political commentary on important historical events.
After studying specific content, write postcards to summarize information about places or events.
Have students react to provocative statements to introduce historical themes or to critically assess a historical period.
Use graded evaluations to assess the policies of leaders or governments.
Create sensory figures (simple drawings of prominent historical figures with descriptions of what they might be seeing, hearing, saying,feeling, or doing) to show the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of historical figures.
Place information on a spectrum to show multiple perspectives on a topic or to express an opinion about an issue.
Create spoke diagrams as a visual alternative to outlining.
Develop Venn diagrams to compare and contrast people, concepts, places or groups.
“What If?” Statements
Use “what if?” statements to apply newfound knowledge to hypothetical historical situations."