Student/Parent Information for
The course goals in ELA are to provide students with strategies to achieve writing success, reading success by improving comprehension skills, expanding students’ vocabulary base, and encouraging students to be life-long writers, readers, and learners.
Curriculum:1. Elements of Literature/Language: Classroom set of books will be used.
2. Independent Reading/Accelerated Reading Program (AR): Additionally, an important component of ELA is independent reading, and we use AR to help accomplish this goal. Accordingly, your child will be assigned a reading goal at the beginning of the trimester. He or she is expected to reach half of his or her AR goal by mid-trimester and the total AR goal by the end of the trimester. This independent reading component will be worth 10 percent of their overall class grade. Therefore, your child should read at least 30 minutes every day. * If your child says there is no homework in ELA, that is not correct. He or she may very well not have a written assignment to do, but each student is required to read every day.
3. Vocabulary: Students will be given daily vocabulary instruction and tested after each unit.
4. Planner: Planners must be used for ELA, and it will be graded. The daily agenda and homework assignments will be written on the whiteboard, and students are required to write this information in their planner each class period. All assignments will be posted on my webpage and in Genesis.
Classswork and Homework: Classwork and homework are important components to this class. Late assignments interfere with learning, and the students should make every effort to complete the work on time. Therefore, students will be ZAPPED if assignments are not completed on time.
In the case of an absence, students will be given one extra day (in addition to the day he or she was absent) to make up missed work after returning to class. Students who are absent should either check my webpage through A-H connect, their classmates, or me in the morning or after school (but NOT during class). It is the student’s responsibility to get missing work.
Communication: If problems or concerns arise in class, I will contact the parent(s) either by e-mail, telephone, or note. If you should ever have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to contact me by e-mail (Tammy.Gruenwald@ahschools.us) or by voicemail (769-506-5940).
Class Webpage:I have created a class webpage. I post the unit vocabulary, assignments that were collected each day, and assignments that are due each day—as well as other information. Please use this outstanding tool! I usually update the webpage late on Friday afternoons for the upcoming week.
Help: I am available most mornings and after school if students need additional help. Students who do not meet unit objectives will be recommended to attend TSP (our after school help program on Tuesdays and Thursdays), where a teacher is available to help the student achieve the objectives. More information will follow on TSP as appropriate.
Grades: To keep advised of your child’s progress in ELA, please check A-H Connect. If you need help accessing A-H Connect, please call 506-HELP. Retakes are available on most assessments but will be at the discretion of the teacher. Letter grades will be earned based on the following percentages:
90% - 100% A-/A
80% - 89% B-/B/B+
70% - 79% C-/C/C+
60% - 69% D-/D/D+
Below 60% is not passing
Categories and percentages for final grading are as follows: Assessments: 70%
Independent Writing: 10%
Independent Reading: 10%
District Common Summative Assessment – Writing 5%
District Common Summative Assessment - Objective 5%
Supplies: The following supplies are needed everyday in class:
• 1 notebook
• 2 sharpened pencils/Markers/Highlighter/Expo Marker
• 2-inch, 3-ring binder with dividers
• Planner • Silent reading book
• Post-It Notes/Index Card
Rules/Procedures: Rules and procedures are based on the concept of respect – respect for self, other students and the teacher. Students will be advised on classroom expectations and procedures.
Gates-MacGinitie Test:Your daughter/ son took the Gates-MacGinitie Reading Test in class. This test provides a general assessment of your child’s reading achievement. While no single test can pinpoint the exact reading level of any student, the Gates-MacGinitie indicates the specific grade level in which your child is reading.
The test consists of two parts, vocabulary and comprehension. The scores recorded below reflect the grade equivalency of each area. For example, if a student earned a 5.1 on the vocabulary test, her/his vocabulary is equivalent to a fifth grade reader in the first month of school. Also, if a student attained a 4.5 on the comprehension portion, his/ her understanding of prose and simple verse is equivalent to a fourth grader reading during the fifth month of school. The overall reading level of your child is an average of his/her scores on the two portions of the test.
Please note that this is an information assessment tool. The results of this test are not reported to the district or the state. Your child’s score does not affect his or her grade in ELA. Results do help me determine what to cover in class and what level to begin on.
Accelerated Reader (AR):This year we will again be working with a reading assessment program called Accelerated Reader (AR). This program will help us to ensure that all students achieve maximum reading growth. I am happy to say that AR is now web-based. Although students will not be able to take tests outside the vicinity of school, students and parents can check AR progress at any time throughout the year. Accelerated Reader involves four simple steps:
1. Based on the results of standardized tests, students are assigned AR points, which they must earn per trimester.
2. Students earn these points by reading an AR book of their choice. With this program now being web-based, there are literally thousands of available tests.
3. After the student has completed reading their book, they take a computerized quiz.
4. The computer adds the quiz results to its database, and teachers check the progress of the student.
Reading Level/ Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD):
ZPD tells your child’s range of reading levels that they should look for when selecting a book. For example, if your child’s reading level is 6.0, their ZPD range is 4.3-5.9. That means that they should choose books within that range because that is below their level of frustration and at a level where they can be successful. Students are NOT permitted to read below their ZPD range—unless I have approved their reading selection. If they have not received prior approval from me to read below their ZPD, their AR test will not be accepted. They can read above their range—if they are comprehending the text and are successful with their AR tests. For those students who do not want to take AR tests, there are alternatives available, and they are listed below. AR tests cannot be retaken if a student fails the test.
AR Dishonesty Policy: Unfortunately, throughout the years we have experienced students being deceitful with this AR program. With the commencement of the school year, administration and teachers felt that students and parents should be offered a review of the procedures enforced in the event that such dishonesty should occur.
Accordingly, Roosevelt Middle School’s teachers and administration have a unified approach to handle these situations, and we have adopted guidelines if students are found to have been dishonest while taking AR tests. There will be a no tolerance stance on AR dishonesty, and consequences will be applied by administration. In addition to a teacher making a student referral to administration, administration will make a parent notification, and the following consequence will also apply:
Both parties to the dishonesty (the person giving the answers and the person receiving the answers) will automatically lose the point value of the book they are taking the test on. For example, if Sue takes a 5-point test for John, both Sue and John will lose those 5 AR points. If the test is worth 15 points, they both lose 15 points, etc.
It is our hope that this policy will help students make choices that are honorable. We know that it is very difficult for a student to say “no” to one of their friends. This would be an ideal time for parents to discuss peer pressure and how important it is to make good choices. Perhaps you may even want to help your child develop a response so that they will be equipped to deal with situations like this that may be difficult for them.
We appreciate your support in helping us provide the best education possible for your child. Please contact me should you have any questions with regard to the AR program.
Parent-Child Novel and Dialogue Journal (Alternative Accelerated Reader Assignment): In an interest to expand my students’ reading horizons and enjoyment, I have developed a supplement and/or alternative to our Accelerated Reader (AR) program.
This is how it works:
1. You and your child will participate in this project together.
2. First, you and your child will select a book that interests both of you. The book needs to be at least 100 pages long.
3. The parent reads the first chapter of the book and then writes a letter (at least one half a page) to his/her child in the dialogue journal. The letter should contain the parent’s thoughts, feeling, impressions, concerns, etc. – it is NOT a list of comprehension questions or a summary of what has happened in the chapter.
4. The child reads the first chapter. When he/she is done reading the chapter, the child will read the letter from the parent and respond by interacting with that letter - stating his/her own thoughts, feelings and so forth (at least one half a page).
5. This procedure will continue throughout the novel – always with the parent first reading the chapter and writing the letter to the child.
6. This is important - no oral discussion about the book is allowed between the parent and child while reading the novel. All discussions must take place through the dialogue journal.
7. At the end of the book, parent and child will now have the opportunity to discuss the book. Set aside some time, share a bowl of popcorn, and talk away!
8. If your child selects an AR book to read, he/she will receive whatever credit earned for that AR test and will receive 8 points for the dialogue journal. If your child does not chose a book that is on the AR list, he/she is still earning AR points by receiving 8 points for the dialogue journal.
9. In order to receive credit, your child must turn in the dialogue journal and an information sheet (available in the classroom). If for some reason the journal doesn’t meet expectations, the full 8 points may not be awarded.
The dialogue journal is an excellent way for parent and child to share the joy of reading; I hope that you will be able to do this at least one time this year!
Reader’s Journal (Alternative Accelerated Reader Assignment): You will write a well-developed reflection paragraph at the end of the chapter or section. These reflections are to be written very deliberately and encourage you to take an active role in your reading. You will receive AR points for the journal only—but not the AR test. In other words, if you choose to do the reader’s journal, that is how you will earn your AR points. You cannot do the reader’s journal for AR points and take the AR test on that book—it is one or the other.
• have a minimum of 10 entries per book
• elaborate with specific details and examples and reflect on your reading in any of the following ways:
o Ask Questions
• Question why the character did something
• Inquire about a reference or word you do not know
o Make Connections
• Connect with your character on a personal level
• Connect the text with other texts you’ve read
o Make Predictions
• Predict what happens and why
• Describe something specific that you liked and why
• Explain something you disliked and explain why
o Aha! Moments
• These are things you realize as you’re reading that you did not know before. It could be related to the story or relate to the real world!
Reading Test Results: Gates Vocabulary: __________
Gates Comprehension: __________
Gates Overall Reading Level: __________
AR Trimester Goal: __________
ZPD Range: __________
I have read and understand the policies and procedures in ELA Reading class.
I have read and understand the AR Requirements and Dishonesty Policy.
I have read and understand the alternative Accelerated Reader assignments.
I have read and understand the reading test results, the Accelerated Reader trimester goal, and the ZPD range.
Student Name ______________________________
Parent Signature ___________________________________________