Instructor: Mrs. Jodie Morgenson (A.K.A. Mrs. M.)
Classes: English 9, Advanced Speech, World Literature and World History, Waverly High School
Respect for ourselves guides our morals; respect for others guides our manners.
– Laurence Sterne
Expectations: I have two rules.
- I expect RESPECT. I expect that you show yourself, others (including me) respect. (Be nice.)
- I expect LEARNING. In this class, we will be learning at all times. (Work hard.)
I promise to follow these expectations as well. I will respect you from the outset and I will always work hard right alongside you.
Communication is the key to understanding. If I don’t know something about you, I might have trouble empathizing with you. If you clue me in on a situation that has prevented you from completing a task or makes it difficult for you to concentrate in class, I can help. If you don’t tell me, I might not know you need help. Many conflicts can be solved OR—better yet—prevented through communication.
Consequences (for not fulfilling expectations)
Every situation is different, but consequences may include a verbal warning, an immediate, after-class, or after-school conference, parent contact, or an on-the-spot consequence that hasn’t even been invented yet!
In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.
Personal Digital Devices
There is a time and place for technology’s use in education. Please do not text, make phone calls, use social media, or play games during class, unless you’ve been instructed to do so, or you have special permission. Often, I will give you time to listen to music on your personal device (with earbuds) during work time. If you are having trouble focusing on the class task, the best policy is for you to put your phone away.
For grades to have real meaning, they must be relatively pure measures of each student’s achievement of the learning goals.
Grading: Assignments in this class are categorized and the categories are weighted as follows:
- DIAGNOSTIC (pre-assessments): not graded
- PRACTICE/FORMATIVE (homework, in-class practice, quizzes): 10%
- DAILY READING (preparedness and participation): 5%
- BOOK REPORTS: 10%
- ASSESSMENTS (tests, projects, papers, finals): 75%
- –> To figure your quarter grade, use this formula:
- (P X .10) + (S X .05) + (B X .10) + (H X .75) = quarter grade
Regardless of point value, every assignment’s grade is calculated using the standard Waverly grading scale below with a twist
|100-94% = A
93-86% = B
85-78% = C
77-below = NOT DONE
- 8/8 = 100% (A)
- 458/458 = 100% (A)
- 5/7 = 71% (not done)
- 57/93 = 61% (not done)
- 18/20 = 90% (B)
- 91/123 = 74% (not done)
- 852/1025 = 83% (C)
Not Dones (Where are the D’s and F’s?)
Instead of settling for almost failing (a D) or failing (an F), I prefer to push you to constantly seek improvement. This means I may from time to time ask you to engage in a redo.
The consequence for a student who fails to meet a standard is not a low grade but rather the opportunity—indeed, the requirement—to re-submit his or her work.
Sometimes a redo will be presented to you as an option, and sometimes it will be a requirement. Even if I say “no”, your self-advocacy shows that you care and this will be duly noted. Any time you can practice advocating for yourself, you should because this is truly the one time in your life when you can practice where pretty much everyone has your best interest at heart. After graduation, self-advocacy will become a must.
If you keep up with the assigned work, study before tests, use class time wisely, and advocate for yourself when you need help, you will be happy with your grade, which is why I do not offer extra credit. No need to ask.
Rationale for Grading System and Policies
I believe that grading should reflect the learning that has taken place during a quarter or semester, rather than the practice you have done or the extra credit you have crammed in at the eleventh hour or which has nothing to do with the learning goals. In other words, it isn’t fair to equate a large chunk of your grade to practice, or behavior that is not directly linked to the knowledge and skills you are trying to master. The most important part of your grade is what you demonstrate at the end of the unit, quarter, or semester, after you’ve had a chance to practice (and hopefully master) the knowledge and skills you’ve been practicing while receiving guidance and feedback from me. In other words, I’m challenging you to legitimately show me what you’ve learned, so your grade will reflect your true achievements.
I know there is strength in the differences between us and I know there is comfort where we overlap.
– Ani DiFranco
Class Activities, Assignments and Deadlines
In honor of all of our brilliant differences, there will be times when you and your classmates may be engaged in different activities. On many days, all students will be engaged in the same text or task; on other days you will be able to choose what is best for you; and there will be times when I choose for you based on the pre-assessment information. Know that when you notice that you are reading a different text than your classmates, performing a different task than your neighbor, or turning in an assignment on a different due date than the rest of the class, this does not make one learner better than the other – only different! We have to give everyone what they need when they need it.
We avoid homework when we can. Sometimes we cannot complete everything that we need to in a single class period and in that case, homework may be assigned. I realize that you have plenty of commitments that extend beyond my classroom, but I only give assignments that I feel will help you master the concepts and skills we are working on in class. You won’t ever get “busy work” from me.
If you know you will be absent, please work with me to get your work in prior to your absence or immediately upon your return. If you are in a sport or activity, or going on a family vacation, this policy is designed specifically for you (though there are other reasons why you might know of your absences ahead of time). If you are unexpectedly absent, please talk to me about what you missed and make-up deadlines. If you are absent for a significant period of time, I may draw up a work contract for us to ensure we are clear with a timeline for work to be made up. I will always work directly with you to negotiate a manageable make-up deadline.
NEW INFO about MISSING assignments will be updated as soon as I have it!
For now: If you have a situation that will prevent you from completing something on time, please see me immediately. I am a reasonable person, but I can only be reasonable if I have a clear picture of why you are unable to comply with the deadline.
There is much difference between imitating a man and counterfeiting him.
Many forms of plagiarism exist, and it is important that you avoid it. The best way to do this is to create your own original work, or to cite all of your sources when drawing from somewhere other than your own mind. Students caught plagiarizing will be required to redo the paper or assignment. A learning contract will be drawn up to outline the timeline and expectations of the redo. You may be required to do this after school (on multiple days) under teacher-supervision, depending on the situation. You may suffer a very rare grade penalty as well. Each situation is unique. Our school subscribes to the TurnItIn service. If you are at all uncertain about whether or not you’ve plagiarized something, I urge you to use the Turnitin tool to determine this ahead of time.
I would prefer even to fail with honor than to win by cheating.
Cheating, like plagiarism, is something that can be broadly defined, but for this class, we will define it as any act of dishonesty designed to gain unfair advantage on a class assignment, activity, or test. Students caught cheating may receive no credit for the assignment, test, or quiz, and will be asked to write a letter home explaining what has happened. The same applies to a student who allows another student to cheat from his/her work.
Did you know that our district foundation offers grants for student project ideas? Do you have an idea? Let me know. I’ll work with you to apply.
In closing, I will always push you to stretch yourself as a student, to experience literature, theatre, and real world texts in new ways, to capture your thoughts in writing, to think, reflect, solve problems, to be creative, to take risks in learning and to be exactly who you are –not who you used to be–not who others think you are– but who you are TODAY.
APPENDIX A: How to Communicate with Mrs. M. Outside of Class:
APPENDIX B: Helpful Links:
Do you have questions? Never hesitate to ask!
Welcome to our class! I look forward to working with you.