Dear Parents and Students,
Hello and welcome to 9th Grade! I am very excited about this semester. I look forward to meeting and getting to know each and every one of you. I have some fun and exciting activities planned for this semester. I hope to provide an adventurous and safe learning environment for all of my students. Here are a few facts that I would like you to know about my class:
Course Description: Biology is the study of living organisms. This class will cover the 16 Alabama course of study objectives that includes, but is not limited to, the scientific method, biodiversity, taxonomy, chemistry of living organisms, photosynthesis, cellular respiration, cell organelles, osmosis, diffusion, cell reproduction, heredity and ecology. This course is taught using an inquiry approach. Inquiry places a high premium on students using process skills to learn the content objectives. Since this is an inquiry based course, attendance is absolutely necessary for success. Many in class experiences cannot be simulated at home or done outside of class. Other instructional techniques may include lecture, labs, homework, blogs and projects. The course is designed to meet the grade level expectations as outlined by the State of Alabama in the Alabama Course of Study booklet. For more information on Alabama Course of Study visit http://www.alsde.edu/html/CoursesOfStudy.asp.
Major Instructional Goals: Students will engage in activities that build on their prior knowledge and skills in order to strengthen critical thinking, problem solving, and teamwork. It involves more than just lectures and worksheets. Activities are designed to be engaging, collaborative, interactive, student centered, and hands-on.
Communication: The fastest way reach me is by email. If you prefer phone or would like to meet in person, you can reach me during my conference period or after school most days.
Teacher web page: I regularly update my webpage so please visit to find out What’s Happening in Biology. After visiting this page the first time, I recommend that you bookmark it in your web browser. To access this page go to http://balkcom.edublogs.org/
INOW Parent Portal: All grades can be viewed using INOW Parent Portal, which is accessible with a user id and password. You are encouraged to sign up for Parent Connection to help you track your student’s grades in every class. If you do not have a password please contact the Central Office at 334-887-2100 ext.1919. For more information you can visit http://www.auburnschools.org/Parent_Portal.html
Supplies Needed for Biology: Text book: Biology by Miller & Levine, Published by Prentice Hall (There is a classroom set and a digital copy on the student’s laptop, therefore I do not issue textbooks to the students. If a student wishes to have a hard copy to keep at home I will issue that student a textbook.)
- Notebook/binder with looseleaf paper or composition book or some type of bound book
- Blue or black ink pens or pencils
Unit Test, Midterm and Final = 65%
Labs/Quizzes/Projects and Other = 35%
A = 90% – 100% B = 80% – 89% C = 70% – 79% D = 60% – 69% F = Below 60%
Late Work Policy
If 1 week late (5 schools days) then 15% will be deducted.
If 2 weeks late then 30% will be deducted.
If 3 or more weeks late then 50% will be deducted.
No late work can be carried over beyond the nine week period in which it was assigned.
Classroom Expectations and Student Responsibilities
- Be Respectful
- Thoughtfulness is the key word. Rudeness (disrespect of others, disrupting class either by talking or some other means, keeping others from their assigned tasks) will not be tolerated.
- Keep your hands to yourself. Hitting either in anger or in horseplay will not be tolerated.
- Be positive. Foul language, obscenities, or suggestive comments will not be tolerated.
- Students should come to class with the proper materials – laptop, paper pencil and assignments.
- Students should know and follow all school policies, understanding that reasonable rules are necessary for a reasonable society.
- Students should follow the acceptable use policy governing all technology at AJHS.
- Be in the classroom when the bell rings.
- Begin taking notes and booting laptop as soon as you reach your seat
- Be Responsible
- Be Ready
I. Entering Class
- Pick up daily quiz as you come into the classroom.
- Boot up laptop and start quiz and copy notes.
- Work independently on notes and quizzes.
- Be in assigned seat, with all materials on desk, working quietly when the bell rings.
II. Restroom Use
- Students may go to the restroom if needed on our hallway. However, you must use wisely and if abused will be stopped.
- Any time you leave the classroom you need to complete the Sign-In/Sign-Out sheet correctly and completely.
- Report any restroom issues to your teacher in case a custodian needs to be called.
- Homework in biology will be guiding questions that are assigned at the beginning of each unit. These guiding questions are the foundations of all tests.
- Students are expected to correctly complete all homework and bring it with them to class.
- Non-instructional items (cell phones, I-Pods, cameras, etc.) are also disruptive and are not recommended at school because they are often stolen.
- Students are expected to follow the school dress code. Avoid clothing that may be distracting.
Academic Dishonesty is unacceptable! Any student found guilty of cheating will receive a grade of zero. Cheating includes the following:
- Exchanging papers with another student
- The use of unauthorized notes, books, or calculators
- Copying or submitting work from another student in electronic or paper form.
- Talking or communicating during times when graded work is given. Students are expected to remain silent during testing. Any talking during the administration of a test or quiz is prohibited and is considered cheating. *See the student handbook for additional information.
- It is your responsibility to get make up work the first day you return form an excused absence.
- If you miss work you have 5 days to make it up.
- A zero will be placed in the gradebook until the work is made up.
Discipline Procedures Class and lab disruptions or failure to follow student handbook will results in the following actions:
- Verbal warning
- Parent notification
- Detention hall
- Referral to the principal or counselor
- Confiscation of personal items used inappropriately (nonfood items will be returned the last day of term)
The order of these consequences may vary, at the teacher’s discretion, according to the persistence or seriousness of the problem.
Tardies: You are tardy when the tardy bell rings and the doors have already been closed for class to start. Wait to be let in and then sign the tardy list. On your third tardy you will be required to serve a detention.
Tutoring: I am available after school for tutoring, homework help, or to make up missing work or tests. Please let me know the day before if you plan on staying after school.