Mrs. Thomas' Classes!!

Welcome to Biology class with Mrs. Thomas!

Here you will find information about your class inlcuding: homework, study tips, competency information,

contact info., syllabus, and grading policies.  For Manchester School District information, please go to


Competencies/ Syllabus:

Here is the syllabus, and competencies for Biology.  YOU MUST PASS ALL COMPETENCIES TO PASS THIS COURSE.

Biology, Mrs. S. Thomas 2010-2011     Rm. 221

Welcome to Biology! An easy way to maintain a passing grade in my classes is to do all your work, to the best of your ability, and turn it in when due. My job is to help you with this task. While the primary responsibility for doing assignments rests with you, I will also work with your parents, guidance counselor, your administrator and any other teachers to help you maintain a great grade in Biology! Your success is my top priority. *Make up nights are always a great time to catch-up, get extra help or make-up tests, quizzes or labs (which are summative assessments).

Keep in mind that I do NOT accept late homework (exception= IEP/504 directive). This means you NEED to keep up with your work. The main reason for this is to assure you stay current with all we are learning. *Doing homework helps all other parts of your biology grade, by assuring that you learn the material.

Like all courses, Biology has competencies that you must meet. Each objective will be assessed by one or several performance assessments. The assessment(s) can be labs, quizzes, written tests, or projects. What is important to know is that if you don’t pass ALL the competencies at the minimum grade set by the district, you will NOT PASS BIOLOGY - no matter what your grade is!!!

Biology Competencies: (11 total)

1. Students will understand that cells are the basic structural and functional units of life. LS1.

2. Students will understand that energy, in the form of ATP, is used to keep cells functioning.

3. Students will understand that DNA, the basic unit of heredity, determines the structure and function of cells. LS1, LS3

4. Students will understand that there are many processes leading genetic variation. LS3

5. Students will understand that humans are similar to other species in many ways and yet are unique among earth's life forms. LS4

6. Students will understand that evolution and natural selection will result in organisms changing over time. LS3

7. Students will understand that modern classification systems group organisms by degree of relatedness. LS1

8. Students will understand that organisms are dependent on one another and their environment. LS2

9. Students will understand that matter and energy cycle through organisms and their environment, which originates from the sun. LS2

10. Students will understand that the effects of natural selection can influence an entire ecosystem, not just a species.

11. Students will understand that the growth of scientific knowledge in Life Science has been advanced through the development of technology and is used to identify, understand and solve local and global issues. LS5


Your grade will be based on the following percentages:

SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENTS(90%) of the quarter grade.

DEFINITION: Summative assessments are assessments that demonstrate what students know or are able to do. These include:

· Enrichment Activities (supplementary activities that support standards or

competencies, this includes lab activities) (30% of grade)

· Assessments (written, oral, and performance) (35% of grade)

· Quizzes/ Class activity (beyond skill checks) (25% of grade)

· Writings (term papers, essays, stories, etc.)

· Projects (with or without presentations) (like tests, count for 35% of grade)

· Common performance assessments (Engaging Scenarios) that have been written for courses as one element of the summative assessment process.

FORMATIVE ASSESSMENTS (10%) of the quarter grade.

DEFINITION: Formative assessments include skill checks and reinforcement for the next step in the learning process. These include:

· Skill checks (Quizzes used for practice or reinforcement; classroom openers)

· First drafts of writing

· Teacher questions during instruction or activity in class

· Worksheets (formerly classwork, includes vocab)

· Informal observations (during classwork or lab activities)

· Pre-testing

· Homework *(as reinforcement - this is the kind most commonly given)


*NOTE: YOU MUST PASS ALL COMPETENCIES FOR BIOLOGY to pass Biology, at the minimum grade set by the School District, even if your grades are passing. *

*NOTE: Some assessments will cover 1, 2 or 3 competencies, which means they will be worth a higher percentage of your grade!!


 Class Activities include note taking, notebook checks, worksheets, bookwork, movie guides, participation in class and lab session participation. You have up to 1 week after illness or for completion to make up classwork assignments (Note: Cuts do not count as illness!) For completion, every day loses a percentage of possible grade earned.

 Homework will be assigned regularly, and is due the next class day, unless specified otherwise. Please note, late homework will NOT be accepted.

(Exception: IEP/504 directive).

 Labs will help to introduce, reinforce or assess concepts/competencies. Most labs will be done in class, with a partner. Lab safety is the most important part of lab work, and your lab grade! Anyone who puts themselves or others at risk with inappropriate behavior during a lab will receive a "0" (zero) for the lab (NOT eligible for makeup).

You have up to 1 week after illness or for completion to make up labs (Note: Cuts do not count as illness!). For completion, every day loses a percentage of possible grade earned.

 Quizzes will serve as a learning tool before a test. Please note: quizzes may be announced or unannounced (‘pop’ quiz). Some movie guides count as quizzes, if they cover a competency.

 Tests / Performance Assessments will be given to assess student knowledge of the competencies and chapter objectives. Tests will be given regularly, as needed (usually every 1½ to 2 weeks). Please note that Tests / Performance assessments constitute the highest percentage of the grade. Performance assessments are like tests, and can be included within a written test. They are given to assess Biology competencies. Students can retake performance assessments if they fail to meet the minimum to pass the competency (72%). Students will be allowed 1 (one) retake, up to a 70%. The new grade earned will replace the previously earned grade, up to a 70%. It is your responsibility to prepare for all tests ahead of time.

Midterm and final exams will also be given at the end of each semester. They count as 14% of your semester average.

 Projects will be assigned throughout the year. Projects will usually be graded as 1 or 2 Test or Lab grades. You will be given a full set of instructions and guidelines for all projects, and research basics. **Please note: Plagarism (not correctly citing or quoting ANY/ALL source materials will result in a "0" (zero).* (Also see Academic Honesty Contract). Every day late loses a percentage of possible grade earned, except with a doctor’s note.

As you can see, it is important to complete assignments to the best of your ability, and ON TIME for the highest grade. The goal is for you to pass Biology!! I am here to help you reach your goal. You must also help yourself, by assuming responsibility.

Let’s work together, and have a great year!


Mrs. Thomas

Grading policies:

My classes follow the Manchester School District grading policy. 

Grades are recorded as a percentage of formative or summative assessments. 

Formative assessments can be homework or classwork, and are worth 10% of the grade. 

There are quite a few formative assessments given. 

Summative assessments directly support the competencies, and are worth  90% of the grades, including: 

35% for all tests and projects, 30% for labs, 25% for all quizzes/ class assessments.  

Keep in mind that some assignments count for 1, 2 or 3 competencies at once, which makes the percentage go up!!