October 30, 2008Dear Students and Families,
Welcome to Ms. Mansoor’s History Class! I’m excited about the opportunity to get to know you, and I’m looking forward to a happy and productive school year. I would also like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. I graduated from Benedictine University with a major in Social Science and a minor in Education and Film Studies. I believe that education should be diverse and teach students skills that they can use in the classroom and beyond. My priority is to create a unique and academically proficient environment for your student in my classroom.
Curriculum areas we will focus on this semester include:1) Introduction to United States History2) Formation of a New Nation (1750s-1820s)3) Political Growth and Expansionism4) Civil War and Reconstruction5) The Gilded Age: Industrialization and Corporate Expansion
My theme of assessment is geared towards students being a life-long learner in the classroom and outside of the confines of the classroom. My theme of assessment is geared towards students being a life-long learner in the classroom and outside of the confines of the classroom. My theme of life-long learning and my role as a teacher requires me to assess content from the curriculum and assess human judgments that will apply towards life-long skills. Also, my role as a teacher will not be restricted to just teaching material to my students; I will also learn from my students in regards with better assessment methods and teaching tools that are best suited towards a diverse community of students. My philosophy regarding assessment will not only prepare students for the rigorous world of high-stake testing required for the Illinois state and for getting into college, it will also prepare students for life-long skills needed for work and social environments outside of the classroom. Teaching my students to be a life-long learner will also allow them to continuously gain education, insight, and inquiry independently that will help them advance in the diverse environments situated by the twenty-first century.
While formal and informal assessments are important in assessing student progress, I feel that homework is not. Homework is often a repetitive and mundane way to learn the material. First of all, I cannot introduce new material in homework. Homework can only reinforce ideas that are learned in the classroom. Worksheets and questions from the textbook are often questions that only test content, not creativity, wisdom, or critical analysis. Homework needs to cover all areas of my theme of assessment, life-long learning. Instead, my form of homework will be in the form of papers, projects, or presentations that will extend throughout the quarter or semester. This type of homework will allow students to develop critical ideas while learning the material in the classroom. It will allow students to develop their teamwork skills during presentations. It will allow students to improve their writing style and level of organization by completing essays, projects, and presentations on time and in an orderly fashion. It will allow students to be more creative since the homework assignments will be extended-response, not restricted-response. It will allow students to complete more authentic work to prepare them for life outside of the classroom. Since my homework assignments will be given in advance and students will be given adequate time to complete the assignments, no make-up work will be allowed. Students will know the deadline or the due date for the assignments; no excuse will be taken from the student. The only two exceptions are a death in the immediate family (proven by a death certificate) or an emergency hospitalization (proven by a doctor’s note). I do not want to give my students the ability to procrastinate, which is becoming an epidemic among students in this fast-paced twenty-first century.
I will also ask my students to sign a classroom expectations contract that will be developed by the students and my input. A sample expectations contract follows:Respect for SelfI will always do my bestI will positively participate in all classroom activitiesRespect for OthersI will stay on task without disturbing or distracting othersI will not use ‘put downs’ or harass othersI will respect other people’s differences and opinionsRespect for SchoolI will raise my hand to speakI will enter and exit the room quietlyI will complete all assignments on timeI will actively listen when the teacher is speakingSign: ___________________________ Date: ___________________
My grading scale will be on a ten-point range. Receiving an A will represent a score of 90-100. Receiving a B will represent a score of 80-89. Receiving a C will represent a score of 70-79. Receiving a D will represent a score of 60-69. Receiving an F will represent a score of 0-59. I am choosing this particular grading scale because most high schools and college classrooms use this grading scale. Students will be better adapted to the college environment after high school with accordance to this grading scale.
Special classroom events planned for the semester include Columbus Day celebrations and Thanksgiving Day Celebrations.
Upcoming school events you should be aware of include:November 1, Open HouseNovember 15-18, Book FairDecember 15-16, Parent-Teacher Conferences
Please mark those dates on your calendar. Studies show that parental involvement in a child’s education is one of the strongest indicators of student achievement. We hope you will make it a priority this year to attend as many school-sponsored events as possible.
If you have any questions or concerns or if you would like to visit our classroom, schedule a conference, or volunteer to help out, you can contact me at j_Mansoor@ben.edu. I will reply to emails within 24 hours.
Once again, welcome to Ms. Mansoor’s History class! Let’s work together to make this the best year ever!
Ms. Javeriya Mansoor