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(ASI) Additional Student Information

A Letter to the Student and Parent

Physics Class (Day 1)


Dear Student/Parent,

This letter addresses the most sought after information about this course. It is organized in the order of the most frequently asked questions. Information about the course content is not included in this letter.

I. Supplies: 

Textbook- If you are in a Honors level, A-level or B-level class physics class you will be using a Textbook called "Physics, Principles and Problems" It is available through your instructor, when school begins in August.

Additional Things to purchase:

Workbook & Notebook / Jounal: All Levels-

Physics Workbook and is titled "Physicsphenomena.com - PHYSICS: Problem Solving and Activities". It complements the physics concepts being presented on the Physicphenomena web site by providing problem sets which introduce the student to the mathematical side of physics inquiry. This workbook is to be purchased through the Marian Bookstore, when school begins. The notebook is shrink wrapped and is predrilled to slide easily into a binder. It is recommended that the student does not remove the wrap until the workbook has been placed in the binder.

The Physics Notebook / Journal. This is the Meade Spiral, 3 subject, 150 sheet, 2 pocket folder dividers with a plastic cover and is a specific notebook chosen by the instructor for the use by the student to develop their notes in a journal format. It is durable and large enough for the purpose of this course. The significance of this notebook is that it is both large enough and durable enough to last through most of the course, and is the only thing allowed out on the desk for use by the student during Homework / Skill evaluations.

Binder- The workbook is placed in this. (Remember, DO NOT remove the plastic from workbook until you have placed it in the binder and closed the rings.) 

Folder- Either a multi-pocket folder or two folders are recommended. The purpose of the folder(s) is to keep clean, loose leaf, graph paper, returned papers, and handouts in, unless you purchase a binder large enough to accommodate additional pocket folder dividers, separate folders are recommended.

3 x 5 Index Cards- One or more packages of 3 x 5 index cards are recommended, both becasue on closed notebook evaluations, students are often allowed the use of a 3 x 5 index card, and cut in half these cards make for excellent flash cards for studying such things as vocabulary. 

Loose-leaf- For doing tests, quizzes and assignments (to be kept in a folder)

Graph Paper- For making charts and graphs of data (to be kept in a folder)

Writing Tools- # 2 Pencils and Either Black or Blue Ink Pens. The notebook requires that either black or blue ink be used to record information. These inks tend not to smear and are more legible and less susceptable to fading.

12 inch English-Metric Ruler- Recommend type has holes drilled in it to fit in a binder.

Protractor- used for measuring and constructing angles. Recommend the clear type with the six inch ruler for the base and a small hole at the center of the ruler in which you may insert a piece of string. 

Algebraic Calculator- Note: only NON-GRAPHING ALGEBRAIC CALCULATORS may be used on evaluations. NO graphing calculators are permitted during Tests and Quizzes. However, they may be used for all other work. Make sure you know how to use the one you bring to class for tests and quizzes. Otherwise you will have to do the work with paper and pencil. THERE IS NO THIRD CHOICE. Recommended are the TI-30X IIS solar or the TI-30Xa solar. Exceptions to the rule will be announced when it is appropriate or necessary.

II. Expectations & Evaluations:

1. Tests- Semester and Quarter tests- These are used for evaluation of the learning that has taken place over long periods of time. The Topic Test / Quiz- These would usually involve lesser amounts of material, often, but not always, focusing on vocabulary, concepts, and problem solving. Notes / Homework based evaluations are given one to two times each quarter. These evaluations allow the student to have their notebook journal out on their desk for easy quick reference. The lack of a notebook does not exempt the student from the evaluation.

2. Notes and Practice Problem Sets- Students are expected to develop a very thorough set of study notes in what is referred to as their "Physics Journal" (This is in reference to their spiral notebook). This journal should include information gathered from classroom presentations, on-line notes, textbook assignments, workbook problem solving activities, and laboratory activities (often overlooked ). This notebook should also include the practice problem solutions which are assigned from various sources using a problem solving format called GFESA. (Given, Find, Equation, Substitution, Answer) If these notes are developed on a daily basis, and used to study from, the student ends up with a reasonably thorough study guide for all forms of evaluation. All notes should be dated and titled for easy reference in class and during personal review / study. Notes need to be always written or printed legibly. Both legible printing and / or cursive writing is acceptable for use in developing the notebook.

3. Problem Solving Exercises- These are problem sets found within the workbook. They reflect problem solving skills that must be mastered. These problem sets are also to be recorded in the notebook journal using the problem solving format GFESA.

4. Activities- These are mostly lab based activities in the form of experiments. They provide some hands on experience within specific topics studied. This type of material is either recorded in the notebook journal or on specially prepared lab activity sheets. This material is also evaluated on tests and quizzes.

5. Special Activities- These are occasionally assigned. They may be in the form of research, perhaps in the form of a research paper, or involve a computer related project. Points are assigned according to the amount of work involved in completing the project and the quality of the work done.

6. Class Participation- This area of student behavior is not necessarily assigned points. In part, the reason for this is that it may appear to be subjective rather than objective, as it is usually intended to be. It is best to evaluate objectively rather than subjectively. Also, all students are expected to be prepared to answer questions and should be prepared to do so at all times, whether they raise their hand to indicate that they wish to be called on or not. Repeated failure to answer questions correctly during class discussions will not result in the loss of points, but will be duly noted for the purpose of parent conferences and the filling out of information on high school and college evaluations. On the other hand, becasue of the use of online materials there is an objective way of arriving at class participation / cooperation information. The online work can be quantified and evaluated objectively so any class participation grade will fall under this category of information that can be tracked by a computer, in terms of individual student account activity. 

7. Grades- Grades are determined by tracking by point values assigned to each evaluation and activity.  This value is then expressed as a percent and impacts grades according to the amount of pionts assigned to an individual item as compeared to the whole. (i.e. a 25 point quiz only counts 1/4 as much as a 100 point test) Though mid-quarter, quarter, and semester grades are still the significant milestones in reporting grades, everyone involved in the school recognizes that grades are availble 24/7 on Powerschool.

Note:  Formative evaluations (evaluations done during a quarter) are returned to the student, because their purpose is to "...,help, shape, develop, mold,..." [Webster] a person, and it is useful to see one's mistakes and see how to avoid them in the future. Summative evaluations (quarter and semester tests), on the other hand, are not returned because their purpose is to provide a "final summing up of ..." [Webster] a person's performance at the end of a grading period and are not for the purpose of instruction. The student is informed of the grades on summative tests. Parents and students should check the student handbook for information about making up missed work due to absences. There is a time limit defined by the school for making up tests, quizzes, and assigned work. Failing to make up work definitely affects the grade. 

8. Extra-credit- As the administration has pointed out over the years, extra-credit is for the student who has met the requirements of the course, done well, and needs additional challenges. It is not intended for the student who is doing poorly, who is not investing enough time in the required work, and who certainly doesn't need a teacher loading them up with additional work.  This student needs to invest more of his/her time in studying and doing more practice problems. Extra-credit is not intended to be an easy assignment, worth lots of points, that a student acquires without much real effort, so they don't have to accept the low grade they have earned. There may be times when an extra-credit question or problem will appear on a test or quiz. Such a question or problem will be designed to go beyond the level of the typical problem in the unit currently under study, and will challenge the student to synthesize an answer. 

9. Attendance- Absences should be avoided except for illness or a family crisis. Missing class has a negative impact on the student's learning, because it interrupts the progression of lessons and leaves the student having to learn material on their own. A student is seldom as successful learning material and testing well when absent as they are when present in class. This is true whether the student misses class because they stayed home or misses class because they volunteered for an in school activity which took them out of class. Students need to choose wisely from the smorgasbord of in school activities that cause them to miss class. 

III. Classroom Rules and Procedures: (These statements complement the school rules and the physics classroom / laboratory rules) 

#1. Students are expected through their behavior to contribute to the learning environment. Any actions which interfere with the learning of one or more students in the class, interfere with instruction, or in any way show disrespect or lack of courtesy towards another individual or group of individuals, are punishable by one of the following actions: Written punishment, before school classroom detention, school detention, or a referral, which may result in suspension or even expulsion depending on circumstances. ALL SCHOOL RULES APPLY in the classroom as well as in other parts of the school building and grounds.. 

#2. Students should be sitting in their assigned seats when the bell to begin class sounds. They are to have their materials out, open on their desk, ready for class to begin. They are to remain in their place until they are dismissed. If instruction is delayed or interrupted, students should study current materials until class begins or resumes respectively.

#3. If students are using government textbooks they are in effect borrowing them and have an obligation to keep them in good condition. They are expected to keep Government Textbooks covered at all times. These are on loan to the student. When a cover shows wear, the student, who is assigned the book, is expected to replace it immediately to avoid damaging the book and having fines assessed. Students who do not wish to see that the book is kept covered may purchase the book at full replacement cost. Penalties for not keeping the book regularly covered include after school class detentions and fines. Students who purchase textbooks may want to cover them so they stay in good condition and do not lose their value. (Since they, or more correctly their parents own them, it is the owners choice whether to cover or not.) 

#4. All work turned in must have complete, correct headings consisting of the following in the order shown and located in the upper right-hand corner of the page. Points may be deducted from work turned in with incorrect or incomplete headings. The following example demonstrates the correct heading. 
   

                                                     (Student Name)    Mary Smith 
                                                     (Subject)              Physics (or Chemistry, etc.) 
                                                     (Period)               Period 1 
                                                     (Date)                 August 19, 2010 
 
 

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