Grade: 6th, 7th, and 8th Grade Virtual RELA
Subject / Department: RELA
Room Number: 304
Email Address: email@example.com
Dear Parents and Guardians,
I am honored and privileged to be entering my eighth year as a member of the Creekwood Middle School Team. I was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio and spent my first 6 years teaching middle school students in Harlem and the Upper Westside of New York City. This is my 15th year teaching. I feel like I'm starting to get a handle on this whole teaching thing, but I admit that I haven't got it all figured out yet.
The overall theme of my classroom is to get students to be "real readers" and "real writers". In a nutshell, that means a ton of reading and writing. Simple, no? Well, no, actually. It's going to require a lot of grit, attentiveness, patience, and good old fashioned hard work from our students as we navigate the reading/writing cycle with a growth mindset.
I promise you it won't be easy at first.
What rewarding experience ever was?
Now for some important things to know:
A: Yes, there is HOMEWORK every day.
- The HW is to read for 30 minutes and log it in the reading log, 7 days a week.
Yes, every day is literal. Weekends. Birthdays. Thanksgiving. Even “National Don't Read or Write Day” (that holiday doesn't exist, but if it did, I would still expect students to read & write on that day).
The great thing about this homework assignment is that it never changes. You never have to wonder if your child has homework, what it is, what instructions need followed, rubrics, or any of that other stuff.
The answer is simple: Read 30 everyday. Log it. Done.
B: Everything Notes
At the beginning of every marking period I will email you and your child a syllabus that spells out everything they need to know and do for that 9 weeks, which is why the syllabus is known as the "Everything Notes".
1. Cell phones / devices (optional)--we are a paperless classroom that uses chromebooks pretty much every single day. To supplement our eClassroom, students may elect to use certain apps on their phones to supplement the curriculum. Cell phones are welcome in this class. Obviously Creekwood’s cell phone policies apply, but I’ve never actually had a problem with students being off task with their devices (there’s just too much to do--no idle hands, no devil’s work, as they say).
2. A Public Library Card--Our school library is great. Ms. Cancino does a fantastic job. That said, when it comes to books, more options are better. Especially with eBooks. These are electronic versions of books, if you didn’t know, and they’re WONDERFUL. Why? You can’t lose an eBook. You can’t forget to bring it to class (it’s accessible by cell phone / chromebook). You can’t forget to turn it in on time because it does it automatically. Use the public library! Use eBooks!
The goal of tutoring is to help students with their reading or their writing 1-on-1. Since we do a lot of 1-on-1 conferencing in class already, tutoring is an opportunity to get even more focused feedback even more frequently.
The goal of tutoring is NOT to make up a bunch of grades at the last second in order to pass the class. That’s a dangerous game that nobody wins. It won’t work in this class.
E: When Absent
In 7th grade RELA, we do about 10 million things a day and the lessons build on each other. Missing a day of school is a big deal.
Now of course, it has to happen on occasion, so here is what I need from you:
- I post and share every lesson on schoology so students have a copy to review.
- If your child is absent for any reason, please have them review this lesson online BEFORE coming back to class. Students can then email or text me questions about the lesson, come to tutoring, post questions on the class’s parking lot document, or bring it up during the next 1-on-1 conference.
Why do I do it this way?
- I interact with 150+ students a day. On any given day, as many as 10 of these students are absent. There simply is not enough time to get each student caught up in the 2 minutes before class starts. If the student has looked at the lesson already, it will save countless hours and energy.
So let’s try to avoid, “Hey Mr. Block, what did I miss yesterday?”
And strive for, “Hey Mr. Block, I have some questions about what we learned yesterday.”
F: Your Role
As a parent, your goals are to:
- make sure your child is doing their daily reading HW, weekend writing HW, and logging them.
- check grades on Home Access. Once a week is usually sufficient. It only takes a few minutes. I would recommend making this a routine to do this with your child and check in on all of their classes together.
- look over the Everything Notes to get an idea of what your child is expected to do and know each marking period.
- contact me whenever you have questions, ideas, feedback, concerns, helpful information, or a recipe for a chewy, delicious cookie.
The best way to contact me is email. firstname.lastname@example.org
The next best way is to text. (614) 746-5342
The third best way is to call. Same
The fourth best way is to call the school. 281-641-4400
The fifth best way is to flag me down at a grocery store. ...
H: You Made it to the End!
It’s going to be a great school year! Thank you so much. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
With Love and Gratitude,
SCHEDULETuesdays / Thursdays: 6th grade Zoom at 3pm. ALL GRADES tutoring at 4pm.Wednesdays / Fridays: 8th grade Zoom at 11:30 am, 7th grade zoom at 3pm.