This is a page of Frequently Asked Questions that I have compiled throughout my time teaching. Many of these answers are obvious, but it always helps to have a quick-reference guide. If you have a question that isn't answered here, please submit it using this form. I will gladly add it to help everyone out.
NOTE: This page is ALWAYS a work-in-progress.
My philosophy on extra credit is simple. I offer extra credit to students who meet all of the following requirements:
I can't review and study for a test without my quizzes from the unit, but you require them to be kept in our portfolio in class. What can I do about this?
This is an understandable situation, but there is a very simple solution. Students are permitted to sign out their graded assignments from their portfolios that we keep in class. I would suggest that you sign the assignment out, go to the library and make a photocopy, and then return the original to your folder. This should solve the problem.
You have one day for every day you are absent. Then the "0" goes in the gradebook. For example, if you are absent on Monday and Tuesday then all of your work is due to be submitted by the end of Thursday.
Absolutely! We can have conferences with, or without, your parent/guardian present! All I ask is that you ask me with some advance notice so that I can find a common area (library, commons, etc.) that we can meet before or after school.
If this is History class, why do so many of our assignments cross into other disciplines like Math & Science?
Good question! No one subject can ever exist in a silo. One of our goals this year is to cross over into as many fields as possible. History is comprised of the advancements and achievements of ALL fields so we would be remiss if we didn't think divergently about them.
Great question! I do this for several reasons:
Under no circumstances is late work accepted. Assignments are to be submitted at the designated time set by the daily agenda. For instance, if you have homework to hand in, and it is collected at the beginning of class, then I will not accept it halfway through the period or later on in the day.
I actually used to collect late work. Then, during the 2010-2011 school year, I did a little analysis myself about who handed work in, what the quality was like, and how often it happened. I found out several interesting [and important] pieces of information:
Several really important reasons:
Field trips are a valuable part of the learning process, and I strongly advocate for them. At the same time, we must not forget that the primary objective in school is for students to be successful in the classroom.
This being said, I've come up with three criterion for making easy decisions regarding students missing class for these endeavors. In order for me to "sign off" on these activities, ALL THREE criteria must be met:
As per school policy, food is not permitted in class; however, you may keep a bottle of water (with a cap) in your backpack and use it as necessary.
Until the point at which further evidence comes forward, Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. Please don't cite any Oliver Stone movies to suggest otherwise. :)
I believe that Peter N. Stearns does an outstanding job of answering this question. Please feel free to read it here.
You don't have to take either of the these two courses. You have the option to take Academic US I or Academic US II. The classes we take are a choice. Of course, I wouldn't want to lose anyone from my class, but I also understand that not everyone wants a challenging experience no matter how beneficial it is to their future success. The choice is yours.
From The Official Site of the National Honor Society & National Junior Honor Society:
National Honor Society and the National Junior Honor Society are the nation's premier organizations established to recognize outstanding high school and middle level students. More than just an honor roll, NHS and NJHS serve to honor those students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of Scholarship, Leadership, Service, and Character (and Citizenship for NJHS).
This being said, I am more than willing to sign recommendations for students applying for admission to the Piscataway Chapter of the National Honor Society provided he/she meets both of the following criteria:
I believe that the recommendation process is a sham. Normally, it requires no reflection or dialogue between the individual requesting the recommendation and the individual writing it. If I had my way, I'd sit for 15-20 minutes with every student and discuss their background so that we could write the letter together (as it should be done). Since this isn't always feasible I have developed "Plan B."
Students who would like a recommendation are required to complete this form. I will review the student's answers, ask a couple of questions, and then make the decision as to whether or not a letter is justified.
All of these situations come up, and I understand them all. There is one stipulation to permission being granted. Students are only permitted to leave the room after I have signed their planner. I will only sign a planner if the homework is written clearly and thoroughly in it (which happens during the first five minutes of class). My suggestion is that you do not lose your planner. If you do, you will need to find a replacement, or you will not be leaving the room. Utilizing a friend's planner defeats the purpose of this "deal". Bottom line: you come in, write down your homework, and stay organized, and I will be accepting of the times you need to leave class. It's a two-way street.
Regardless, I would encourage you to keep all of these visits to a minimum.
FACEBOOK: I have a Facebook page, but I don't like it. The whole site reminds me more of a giant "water cooler" than anything else. Regardless, I will not "Friend you" or accept your "Friend Request" no matter who you are. Don't bother trying to "Friend" me.
TWITTER: I love Twitter, and I believe it is a valuable medium for communication. Feel free to "follow" me if you wish, but realize that I will not follow you back. It's nothing personal. I just don't want to receive DM's from students. I will converse with you on Twitter so long as the tone is professional and respectful.
TEXT MESSAGING: For work, I have set up a Google Voice number so that parents, students, and staff members can text message me with relevant information or ask questions. The beauty of the Google Voice number is that it operates like an e-mail address, and I save every text message I get in folders. I understand that people today converse more through text messaging than they do through e-mail, and I respect that. Please keep the conversation respectful and professional in tone, and I will be glad to respond to your messages.