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History: Assignments
Rules, Regulations, and Expectations

Welcome to my classroom. Let's get the rules out of the way, first. Rule number one: don't touch my stuff. Rule number two: don't touch nobody else's stuff. Rule number three: no matter what may be happening, when I say it's time to get serious, it's time to get serious. Rule number four: if I make up more rules, you have to follow them. Rule number five: all normal school rules apply, and I will enforce them.

What are the consequences of breaking my rules? I don't know. I tend to make up punishments on the spot, tailored especially for the situation and the perpetrator(s) of the situation. I can be very creative, and I guarantee I will come up with something you won't like. It will be far better for you to follow the rules, respect everyone in the room, and do what you are supposed to do than it would be for you to tempt fate and risk the dark side of my creativity.

Regarding school rules, with the new computerized whatnots we have involved in taking roll, if you're more than two minutes late to class, don't even bother coming up without a pass from Ram Central. You've been counted absent, and only the kindly folks down there can fix you up. You have to have a pass for everything if you need to leave class and there is no leaving the campus before your classes are over unless your parent is checking you out of school.

Late work is now also a matter of school policy. You've got to turn in your work the day it is due for full credit. You can turn it in one day late for up to 70% credit. Major projects can be handed in two days late for up to 70% credit. After those deadlines, the man upstairs says it's a zero. No credit. Out of my hands. Tough kookaburras, kiddo. This is true for all classes.

District policy requires I have at least 6 grades taken over the course of a grading period and that no one grade be worth more than 25% of your average. I don't want to create a grading environment that punishes one type of student because it relies overmuch on a particular kind of work, so I've decided to use a contract system. Certain activities will be required of all students, but what work goes into the rest of a student's grade is up to the individual student.

No matter what, all work done is graded on a number of points it is worth. At the end of a six weeks grading period, the number of points a student earned in class during that grading period is the grade the student will receive. True, this means I have to do some fancy math to figure out who's passing around progress notice time, but it makes figuring what a student has to do to pass a whole lot easier.

Kids with special needs will get special treatment. Don't sue me or the district over it: it'll be a waste of your time. I have to modify coursework for some kids because state or local or federal law or something requires that I do it. It's outta my hands, so cut me some slack before you sic the lawyers on me. (That's more for the litigious parents than the kids. Not all parents are litigious, but for those who are, I prefer mediation to outright lawsuits. Thank you for not suing me.)

I will have 5 weekly tests in a grading period that everyone will take. Students are then at liberty to choose how to proceed with the rest of the coursework. A student who wants straightforward traditional coursework can do chapter outlines and chapter questions. Those who would like to get beyond the textbook are free to consult with me about doing independent study projects such as book studies, researching a topic in the subject, creating an artistic end-product inspired by our study, creating a graphical representation of information we've studied, or collaborating with others for a large project. Students wishing to substitute one kind of assignment for another will have an opportunity to do so, but they'll need to see me before beginning their work.

Here's the table of assignments and their values:

Points Scale
Weekly Test10Required, 5 of them
Chapter Outline/Summary2Only chapters in the grading period
Chapter Questions6Only chapters in the grading period
Video notes2Up to 5 of them
Document Transcription1 per 2 pagesSee me
Independent projectvar.See me
Group projectvar.See me
Key Figure Dossier3-5See me
Chapter re-write20See me

Here are a few examples of how this might work:

Plan One: 5 weekly tests... 50 points... 5 chapter outlines... 10 points... 5 notes on videos... 10 points... 5 sets of chapter questions... 30 points: 100 points total. I recommend plan one for students who may need help with organizational skills, who just want to get the course over with, or who may not have enough time for research. NOTE: in Government, substitute another chapter's questions and notes for some of the videos: we just won't be seeing that many.

Plan Two: 5 weekly tests... 50 points... combination of other assignments to equal 50 points: 100 points total. OK, so plan two is wiiide open as far as the possibilities go. If you don't understand this, like this, feel comfortable with this, then stick with plan one. Otherwise, meet with me to map out how much work you're going to do and when you'll turn it in.

I expect each student to be making adequate progress each week. Students failing to turn in assignments or keep me appraised of their research run the risk of getting a failure notice or, worse, failure.

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