How the Classroom Runs

How It All Works

Ever find yourself asking, "How does she handle ____?"  Well, this is definitely the place to come.   I have listed some procedures and logistics about my class here.  I can only hope I've covered everything you might need.  If you have more questions, please feel free to contact me.

Please remember:  Your child is growing up.  Students will make mistakes, and we are here to GUIDE them . . . but they need to be held accountable for both their actions and work, and learn how to correct their own mistakes.  They need to be allowed to fall and brush the dust off themselves (not have it brushed off for them).  They will survive, and this is how they grow into responsible students and citizens.  Our job is to prepare them for the responsibilities and academic rigor of 7th grade.  We can't do that if they are not allowed to correct their own mistakes and learn from them.  We, as adults, need to be their "guide," not their "savior."   

Coming to Class Prepared: (School Policy)
Students are expected to enter my classroom with everything they will need for class.  I have the items posted on the outside of my room each day.  They are responsible for reading this, and making sure they have what they need.  They will not be allowed to return to their lockers.  Should a student choose to return to their locker, they will have their "Responsibility Card" signed.  (There are only 6 spots per six-week grading period)  Should extra locker breaks become a routine issue, a behavioral signing or other consequence can occur.

Restroom Passes:  (School Policy)
Each six week period, students will be given a "Responsibility Card."  They are expected to take care of their business before entering class, but I understand sometimes those emergencies come up.  When this occurs, students must use their card in order to be released from class for the restroom, extra locker stop, or water.   Students  are only given SIX punch boxes for the six week period, and should use them wisely, only in the case of an emergency.   If a student runs out of punches, they must pay leopard bucks for each additional trip out of the classroom.  Should a student not have any Leopard Bucks and need to dismiss from class, they will be allowed for emergency situations, but will have a consequence of a lost recess.  Students are given times to go to their locker and the RR - they are expected to be responsible, use their passing periods wisely, and take care of their business when the time allows.

Eating/Drinking in Class: (Team Policy)
There is NO EATING in class.  However, students are encouraged to bring a water bottle with a LID that closes completely.  This bottle may contain only water, and students will be allowed to refill them throughout the day.  A well hydrated brain performs better!  

Behavior Management:  (School-wide Policy)
There are 4 general school-wide rules -  1) Be Respectful,  2) Be Responsible,  3)Be Safe,  4)Be Positive
(A Matrix is provided in the student planner for students that goes into more details as to what, exactly, falls into each area. It is our guide.)

Students who do not meet the above behavior expectations will receive a "Signing" in our school system.  Parents will receive emailed notification beginning with the very first sign and each one after that.  As signings increase, the level of consequences increase.  (The first sign is a warning) Students have the opportunity to participate in FUN Friday within the grading period.  (at the end of the grading period.)  Students may purchase a Fun Friday, provided they have earned enough Leopard Bucks through good & responsible behavior to do so.  Students must also have no missing work.  If a student does not have enough Leopard Bucks, it is assumed their behavior has not been up to expectation, therefore they did not earn the right to participate.  Students with missing work will stay behind and work on the assignments they are missing.  

Rewards/Consequences:  (School-wide Policy)
Rewards:  Whole-Class earned reward days, Individual Leopard Bucks, Notes Home, "atta-boy", FUN Friday

1 sign = written warning, parent contact
2 signs = 2 day recess detention, parent contact  
3 signs = One 1-hour after school detention, parent contact
4 signs = Office Referral (these are cleared & restarted at the end of each grading period.)
** Please remember students are given "chances" to correct their behavior before they are signed.  If you receive a notification of a class signing, the behavior has been an on-going issue throughout a specific time period.

Movement in the Classroom: (Personal Classroom Policy)
My classroom is not "typical."  We don't have lots of desks or tables.  I do not lecture.  Students are given their choice of seating with one rule -  "Sit where you will be your BEST."   Students are divided into small groups of 4-5, and are given 25 minutes to work through an activity (Zone) with partners.  Students are expected to discuss math with each other and share solving strategies, learning from one another.  At the end of the 25 minutes, students are told to switch, and they move into the next activity rotation for 25 minutes.  One of the activity rotations is a video lesson on the computer, or an online skills practice activity.  Another activity rotation is the teacher table.  This is where I teach my lesson and answer questions - to only 4 or 5 students at a time.  Students are more attentive, feel safer asking questions, and have more one-on-one teacher time.  I am also able to see exactly where students are struggling and offer help, as opposed to them falling through the cracks.  Once an activity starts, students are expected to stay in the area they chose, and work.  The only time for movement is between activities, etc.  When students finish their activity, they turn it in, and are allowed to choose another activity to work on other skills activities until it is time for the next rotation.  I find that once students adjust to this set up, they blossom and grow in their skills and responsibility.  Please understand this is NEW to you and your child. . . they will need time to adjust.  I try to be very clear in the expectations and directions . . . it may seem a bit chaotic at first as they are settling into the routine (that's what the first weeks are for!), but when the dust settles, it is truly an amazing sight to see.

Transitions:  (Personal Classroom Policy)
Transitions between work rotations is an absolute silent ordeal.  The more we talk, the more time we waste.  Once students are settled to their new rotations and ready to work, they will be given a signal that will alert them that they may begin discussing once again.   

Noise Level Expectations:  (Personal Classroom Policy)
Students are allowed to work together and discuss MATH in their work rotations, however, this needs to be at awhisper-leveled voice as not to disturb other students who may be concentrating on independent work or a lesson with the teacher.  Students will be given one individual noise level warning.  Following that warning, an in-class consequence will be given.  Following that, I begin to sign students who can not work at the correct voice level in class.  In our classroom environment, it is imperative students learn the appropriate working noise level in order to keep us all functioning at our best!  (Independent work is a zone where no talking is allowed.)

Organization: (School-wide Policy)
Students are expected to have a 3-ring binder and dividers.  These binders will be set up, with teacher guidance, in order to comply with the AVID standards.  Students will be expected to keep these binders in working condition, as set up,  the remainder of the school year.  "A place for everything, and everything in its place."   Please ask your CHILD to show you items in their binder each night, so you can check for homework and teacher/school notes.
The classroom supplies are also set up in a very organized fashion.  Students are expected to return items to their rightful places the way they found them.  "Abuse" of classroom supplies is unacceptable.

Supplies: (Team  Policy)
Students are expected to provide their own supplies.  However, in order to limit unnecessary movement during a work rotation, some basic supplies may be collected and then provided at that work rotation.  Please refer to the school supply list provided on the Mary Lillard website for information regarding supplies needed for 6th grade.

Labeling Assignments:  (Personal Classroom Policy)
Due to the number of students I teach in one day, there is a need for structured papers.  Therefore, students will be expected to turn in papers that have ALL the following information:  First & Last Name, Class Period, Date

I do not accept papers without proper headings.  If a paper is given back, it is the student's responsibility to correct the heading and get that paper tuned in on time.

Quality of Work:  (Personal Classroom Policy)
Students are expected to work in a neat, orderly fashion.  Instructions will be given for assignments, and should be followed. Papers not up to expectations will be returned to students to "fix" before turning them back in.  ONLY PENCILS  ARE  ALLOWED for math work (at home OR in class).  

 I see a trend with students erasing their work after finding an answer.  This does not allow me to help them.  I need to see all their efforts (even the incorrect work) towards their math problem solving in order to see if 1) Do they truly understand it, or just guess?  2)How did they get this answer - what mistakes are they making?  3) Did they solve in a "different" way that I might want them to share with the class, etc.   If they erase their work, I can't see any of that - therefore, If a mistake is made, I expect them to simply place an "X" through the incorrect work, and work again right beside it.  (on a separate sheet of paper, if necessary.)

Finishing Work Early: (Personal Classroom Policy)
Students choose an activity from several approved items on which they may work should they finish their rotation early.  Students should not have to ask the teacher, "What do I do now?"  It is expected each student go immediately to this area when finished with their work rotation, and clean up after themselves when it is time to move on. Students should never sit and just "chat" with their partner when finished with an activity.

Using Technology:  (District Policy)
Students are NOT allowed the use of their phones or any other device from home unless specifically directed by the teacher.  I will let students know when they may bring their own devices into class the day before they are needed.  ALL PHONES/DEVICES MUST REMAIN IN BACKPACKS, LOCKED IN LOCKERS ALL DAY unless otherwise requested by the teacher. Otherwise, technology will be provided by the school.  Students will sign an "Acceptable Use Policy" paper to ensure their understanding on the expectations that come with technology use in class.  Off task technology use will not be accepted, and the student may lose their privilege to work with said technology in class. At any point we are using wifi, students are required to log in to the MISD wifi for classroom use. Students will be reminded specifically of the requirements.  Should they not follow the directions given, consequences can follow.
Phones in class without teacher permission will be placed in the safe in the office for parent pick up with a $15 fee.

LATE Work: (District Policy)
Any assignments turned in late will be graded according to the MISD grading policy:  *Late points are deducted, then the paper is graded for accuracy - more points may be deducted depending on accuracy.
1 Day Late =    - 15 points
2 Days Late =  - 30 points 
3 Days Late =  - 45 points

More than 3 days late = NOT ACCEPTED. (This is a change from 5th grade - Please be aware)

Homework:  (Personal Classroom Policy)
Homework is assigned on a weekly basis.  Students are free to complete this work in their own time frame.  Homework papers will be handed out in class, and are due on FRIDAY.  They are also posted online on Monday. (Homework posted online is available on this website - all log in information available in the technology tab at the top.)  All homework is based on review skills previously taught in class, and should not cause difficulty for the student.  Students are encouraged to use their Math Journals for help when working on any in-class or homework assignments.  Late points will be assessed for HW not turned in on the due date. Parents will also be notified via the Skyward system.

* Should a student lose their HW or classwork that is due, they may download and complete it at their convenience.  I do not provide extra paper copies to students.  They have received a copy - after that, it is their responsibility to get an extra copy for themselves from THIS website and get it turned in on time. (Should a student not have access to internet and printing capabilities, he/she needs to discuss other options with me.)


Lesson VIdeos:  (Personal Classroom Policy)
Videos are assigned once or twice a week to be watched and interacted with at HOME.  These videos are for students to take notes  into their journals, and are a preparation for the lesson we will be completing in class the following day.  These ARE graded, and require a parent review and signature each time.    Students will also "rate their understanding" of the concept in their notes.  Should their understanding not be solid, they should make a few notes for questions to ask (specific questions) the following day.  Parents are to review the notes to make sure students took good, neat, thorough notes, including a "rating" and any questions they want to ask . . . . then sign off on the paper.  (Points are deducted for no parent signature, notes that are lacking, or notes not being completed in a timely manner.)

General Class Grades: (Team  /  Personal Classroom Policy)
Grades will be taken for the following types of assignments - (some weeks may be different than others)

Zone Completion (periodic) (averaged with a skills check based on skills covered for the week)
Journal Grades (some will be announced, others will be a spot check - keep those journals updated and complete!)

Independent Class Work (1-2 times a week, depending on duration of skills)
Homework (weekly)
Projects (intermittently)
Tests (after every few skill standards taught - intermittently)
District CBA Tests (each grading period)

** ONLY Tests are available for Corrections (Highest grade of 70)  Tests are marked with a "REDO" stamp.   CLICK HERE to view the expectations for test corrections.  (Students also have this glued inside their math journals for reference.) 

Student Agenda Books / Planners: (Team Policy)
The planners provided to students by the school are CRITICAL for students and parents to keep informed of things going on in class and at school in general.  Due dates for projects, upcoming tests, and homework, will all be noted in the planner.  Students are expected to show their planner to the parent each night to keep the parent abreast of school related items.  Please make it part of your daily after school routine to check your child's planner and binder each day to see what they are learning, keep abreast of upcoming due dates, etc.   Students with a full week of daily agendas completed will receive additional leopard bucks as a positive consequence of their responsibility.

Absent/Tardy Policies: (School & District Policy)
Absent:  Students are given one day per day of absence to make up assignments.  There will be a folder waiting in the "Absent Area" for each day.  The student is expected to check with the teacher upon his/her return to class.  At that point, the student is instructed to pick up their papers from all the days they missed, and bring their papers to me upon their return so I may note due dates for them.  Papers are due by the date on the paper.  Any missed lessons will be the STUDENT'S responsibility to catch up. . . Videos are available in class and online for them to watch on the computer in order to catch up on missed notes and examples/lessons. These may be completed at home.   If needed, they are expected to schedule a time after school/before school in order to get these notes, and any tutoring needed to catch up from his/her absence.  It is the STUDENT'S responsibility to sign up for tutoring on the sheet outside my door  Any papers turned in after the date written on the paper are considered late, and points will be deducted accordingly.

Tardy:  Students have a tardy bell at 8:30 in the morning.  They will be marked tardy by the office, and not admitted into class without a pass.  Students arriving late to class during the course of the day will be given a tardy slip to staple in their agenda book to notify the parent.  Any work missed due to being tardy is the student's responsibility to make up. Students who are frequently tardy will incur consequences following the school's tardy policy.  Parents are officially notified through a school letter on the 3rd tardy to any specific class.

Missing Work:  
Parents are notified through the Skyward system of missing work. (It will show a zero in the grade book)  Please check with your student regarding missing work - was their name on it?  Did they tear it out and turn it in?   Is it in their backpack?  Was it actually completed?  If after questioning your student and searching their binder & backpack, you don't have any answers, please download the assignment from this website, and get it turned in ASAP - late points are being deducted!  PLEASE check Skyward DAILY to keep abreast of your student's work.

When work is due, I will check the boxes at the end of the day.  I place checkmarks in the grade book for students who turned it in.  I will input a ZERO in Skyward for any student's paper that is not turned in at that point.  Therefore, you are continuously updated of missing work for your student, should he/she have any.  You are able to check with your child regarding work prior to the 3 day deadline.  Skyward may not show a grade yet, as I have to get time to actually grade the papers, but if you see a ZERO - you know it was not turned in on time.

SUGGESTION: TEACH your child how to log in on SKYWARD.  These are THEIR grades . . . THEIR responsibility.  Place that burden on THEIR shoulders and set the expectation that they are to check each day, and "fix" anything that needs fixed.  Show them how to contact me if they have a question.  Put them in charge of their own learning.  By all means, please follow up on your own time, but it's time to start placing responsibiilty on THEIR shoulders.

No Name Papers:
I have a bulletin board in my room set up for "no name papers."  It is the student's responsibility to check this board for missing papers if they feel they turned it in.  If it doesn't have a name on it, I can't assign a grade, even if it was turned in.  I do not run around asking whose paper it is . . . this is their issue to address.

Emergency Drills:  (Team Policy)
These are taken very seriously for obvious reasons.  Students not following procedures or any horseplay during an emergency drill will receive an AUTOMATIC signing in the system.  This is a zero-tolerance situation.  (should the behavior be more severe during a drill, students may be issued an automatic after school detention or office referral.). Unfortunately, in today's world, we never know when an emergency may pop up - students MUST be well trained to handle the situation properly, should it ever arise.  These drills are made to train your child in the event of a fire, natural disaster, or serious lockdown situation.  Please impress on them the importance of SILENCE in order to LISTEN to directions and keep themselves and their classmates safe.

Substitutes: (Team Policy)
Students are expected to behave with a substitute the same as they would were I in class.  I allow students to sit in their "best spots" for the day, but may not allow them to work in groups . . . it may be an individual workday.  (This depends on the class dynamics, and how I feel about the situation prior to the substitute coming in.)  Substitutes are asked to list names and incidents of any students not following his/her directions (regardless of however I may normally run the class).  Incidents/students listed on the substitute list will be investigated upon my return.  Depending on the outcome, situations will be handled accordingly.   I try to be as fair as I can.  The consequence for misbehavior with a substitute is an automatic after school detention.  Depending on the infraction, consequences may be more severe.

Packing Up: 
Students will be given the final signal that class is over and it is time to switch classes.  We will not switch classes until all rotations are properly cleaned up and all supplies returned neatly to their proper location.  Trash is expected to be picked up and all chairs pushed in.  We leave a nice inviting environment for the next class.  If the students are not working together to prepare for the switch, students may be tardy to their next class . . . . they are expected to find solutions and work together.  I give several reminders, time warnings and guidance.

Dismissal Procedures: 
When the bell rings, students are lined up into their "modes of dismissal" areas and dismissed.  If a student has an after school group with which they are meeting, has a detention, or extra time with me after school, they will remain in the classroom until the assigned time to leave. 

Please make sure you set up your Skyward account and keep track of it regularly to keep tabs on your student's progress.  At this level of education and going forward, teachers no longer have the luxury of one class of 20 or so students.  We have over 100, and rely on you to keep your student on track and teach them to follow up with missing work, redo opportunities, etc.  If you are unsure how to set up your account, information is available on the MISD website or in the school office.

This was a lot of information, and I know some of it may not apply to every student . . . . but I wanted to cover as much as I could to make your information gathering a bit easier!   If you still have questions or would like to speak with me, please let me know!