Welcome to Environmental Explorations! I hope you are looking forward to taking this class as much as I am looking forward to teaching it. During this year we will study environmental issues concerning our water supply, the air, conventional and alternative energy sources, land use, and how the human population impacts our environment.
Although most of us would agree that some classroom policies are usually understood, we want to make some of them very clear so we put them in writing here for both you and your parents to see.
- No eating in our room—that includes candy, snacks of any kind, breakfast, etc. That also includes drinks of any kind (sodas, coffee, tea, etc.) but we do allow water bottles. This is a laboratory with animals, chemicals and other unclean things, so the reasoning should be obvious.
- Coats and jackets should only be brought to the classroom on days that we’ll be going outside, otherwise they should be left in lockers—too many bodies, too little room.
- No hair brushing or combing—save it for the restroom. It’s unsanitary to do that around other people. That’s how you get lice. Yuk.
- Cheating is defined as not doing your own work, but you are just as guilty when you help someone else to cheat. Not only is getting help during a test or quiz considered cheating, but plagiarism and copying someone else’s answers on worksheets also fall into this category. If caught cheating, we will not hesitate to send both students to the office for administrative action, call your parents, give you a zero on your work, etc., etc., etc. Bottom line: Don’t do it.
- Use the restroom, talk to friends, whatever, during the time between classes. If you must leave the room, you must sign out on the clipboard and take a class pass. No one will be allowed out during the first or last 10 minutes of class. This is a school-wide policy.
- Tardies to class are not acceptable. It’s rude and disruptive. You’re old enough to have figured out how to get to class on time so that’s what we expect.
- Making up science work is a pain!! The ideas and class discussions that you miss when you’re absent cannot be made up; the paper and computer work that you miss, however, can be. At the beginning of each unit you will receive a syllabus with dates, deadlines and homework, so even when you are out you should know what is going on. However, always double-check with someone in class since fire drills and other calamities can play havoc with the syllabus. Make-up tests and quizzes for this class are made up before school or during CORE in the Re-take Room, and not during class time or lunch regardless of what other teachers allow. Labs frequently can’t be made up because they’re one-shot deals and are dismantled quickly. When they can be made up, they can only be made up before school because our room is always in use. Outside activities are also one-time deals—if you miss them, you’ll have to talk with a classmate to find out what you missed and you’ll still be responsible for the missed material on tests. The same is true of class discussions—we have no book, so those discussions you miss will severely impact your understanding of the material, and consequently, your test grades.
- The syllabus for each unit is your lifeline for being prepared for class. All assignments will appear there. Even if you miss class, you will still be expected to turn assignments in on time and be prepared for quizzes and tests except under unusual conditions. Forgetting to read the syllabus is no excuse! However, you will be constantly reminded about the syllabus for the first few months.
Supplies You are encouraged to have a three ring binder to hold the syllabus and graded papers. In addition, you are required to bring in the following by next class:
- An old pair of close-toed shoes (like tennis shoes) TO BE LEFT IN THE CLASSROOM FOR THE WHOLE YEAR!
- Bug spray, preferably with Deet
- A box of tissues
- A box of Ziplock(style, not brand specific) sandwich bags. J
In addition, a zippered pouch with scissors, highlighters, glue stick, and white-out is very useful for you to have.
Grades Your quarter grade will be based on tests, quizzes and projects. In Phoenix,, if an assignment has no grade, then it has not been graded; if there is a “z” or “0”, then you have not turned in the assignment. If you miss taking a quiz or test, you have ONE WEEK to make it up unless there are unusual circumstances that you’ve shared with the teacher at the first opportunity, either in person or by email. If a quiz remains untaken after a week, no grade will be given for it and no further chance to take it will be offered; if a test remains untaken after a week, you’ll receive a zero for the test. The retake policy is posted on our websites.
Projects A couple of large projects will be assigned during the year—a bug project, a leaf/ wildflower project—and numerous smaller ones, with the bug project due close to the end of the first quarter. Also, each student will work on a Capstone Project all year. More specifics on all of these project a little later.
Late Work Assignments not turned in on time will ONLY be accepted late during the unit they were assigned, and all late work must be turned in no later than one week before the end of the quarter.
BYOT Please bring your school-issued Chromebook or your own laptop or tablet to class every day. All phones must be kept silent and out of sight unless instructed otherwise. If you have to be reminded more than once about your phone, it will be held by the teacher until the end of class. You can’t learn when you’re distracted.
I’m really looking forward to seeing each of you in class and we think that if you expend the effort necessary, you will learn and achieve your goals for this year. Remember: You’ll get out of this course only as much as you’re willing to put into it. As the saying goes, average effort will not get you outstanding results. Also remember:
We, your teachers, will not fail you. You fail yourself.