Classes at the new East Middle School are now into their first full year, and the faculty has made a commitment to step into "state-of-the-art" teaching. As you can tell from the video of our new school, you will see that it has a special design that will enhance the ability of the teacher to teach and the student to learn; open spaces, large areas for grouping of classes, and labs for enrichment, etc.
What is the difference between an "A" and a "B"? Why does a person who scores a 51% pass and one who scores a 49% fail? Is there really that much difference in their ability to learn? Unless you are totally new to the Joplin Middle Schools, you are aware that we have into the realm of "standards based" (also known as "competency based") grading, a system of grading based on what local, state, and national standards a student has successfully achieved, rather than a "points" system. You have probably had this system in place for the past year already, if you attended East last year. You may also have seen this approach in elementary school in which the grade cards showed check marks for achievement.
Not all classes will go to this immediately. The grade cards will look different, and they will show your progress in each individual goal in each class.
Click on the "A" above to read more about Standards based grading. You can also go to the link below to see a power point on my grading system.
Basically, our study will take us through American history from before Columbus to today. We will throw in some local and state history as it develops throughout our
study, and we will also spend some time looking at and working with government, citizenship and law.
I will see students every other day, due to block scheduling, but I will have them for 90 minutes daily.
Click on the picture above to see the class syllabus and schedule. We will not always follow it day to day, but it does give you an idea of what we will be doing.
Also, in the ASSIGNMENT page, I will try to keep parents and students updated on work to be done. Every month, the previous month's assignments will be transferred to the "assignment archive", found in the "more" drop down menu.
When I was a teen during the Vietnam War, there was a bumper sticker which stated, "America - Love it or Leave it!" I always had issues with that saying. I felt it should read, "America - Love it or Change it." Our nation's laws are created for a reason. If the reason no longer exists, or it is no longer a good reason, we have ways to change those laws. Otherwise, we should follow and respect them.
That's the way I try to run my class- room, so you can expect the rules set by the school will be followed, and I expect 8th graders to know and follow them as well. This would include dress code, conduct, etc.
As far as classroom rules go, I expect students to follow the Golden Rule, respecting the rights of students in the classroom to learn and feel safe in their privacy and from bullying. I expect students to respect the value of the room and teaching materials as well, keeping them clean and free from damage. I expect to be given the respect needed to conduct my business, which is to provide each and every student the most valuable education I can give.
As 8th graders, they should be at the stage they can understand these expectations without needing a list of them hanging on the wall as they would in an elementary school. Remember, my students should be 8th graders, not 8 year-olds.