Homework & Academic Policies

INDEPENDENCE

An important part of 6th grade is teaching you to advocate for yourself.

​I am always happy to communicate with your parents, but you should try to communicate for yourself first which is a very important step to empowerment, confidence and independence.

A Word About Homework

There has been a great deal of research, discussion and debate about amounts and efficacy of homework .

My research and experience with middle school students has led me to this conclusion: If students are applying themselves and working hard, to the best of their ability, at school for 6+ hours each day, they are learning, growing, achieving, and- often- exhausted. When school is over, students need time to hang out with siblings and friends, play an instrument, participate in sports, scouts, and other activities, be with family, read and have "downtime." This is critical to growth, happiness and developing interests outside of school.

Although this is true, it is also important for students to be responsible for completing their work and using their time wisely. Learning to balance responsibilities is one of the important skill students work on in middle school. With this in mind, Core homework is, generally, nightly reading and one weekly writing assignment- often about the book or a social studies topic. Every once in awhile I will assign work in preparation for the next days lesson and/or projects to be done at home, and students will have time to plan and prepare. There will also be tests and quizzes for which students must study at home. In addition, students who do not finish classwork must complete this work at home.

I have found that when students are overwhelmed with homework, the first thing "to go" is reading. Reading daily is absolutely critical to your child's development as a learner and thinker. Please make sure your child is reading each night, and if they are at any time overwhelmed with the amount of Core homework, please have them talk with me to make a plan for how to deal with the situation. Just ignoring it will not make it better.


**If you feel your child "needs" more work at home, ask them to read more, write a story or keep a journal, try a new outside activity, or create a project of their own design. If your child has ANY opportunity to be "bored" and creative (note: limit screen time!!) , that is a very, very good thing!


Since Core homework generally consists of nightly reading and weekly writing.

  • Please make sure your child always has a quiet homework space and a good book. The library at MVMS has many new titles and a wonderful librarian, Ms. Palmer. The Mill Valley Public Library will also help create a list of books based on your child's preferences.
  • If your child needs help on a writing assignment, you are welcome to give suggestions (but avoid criticism :). The best help you can give is to ask your child to read their own work ALOUD with a colored pen in hand. This act helps students recognize many common errors.
  • PLEASE REFRAIN from proofreading your child's work; this does not give me an accurate picture of your child's growth, strengths and needs.


If students are ever confused about assignments, they should (in this order):

1. check Google Classroom and/or Upper Sea Homework Planner

2. call a friend

3. email me directly (remember I might not get the email until the next morning if it is after school.)

WHERE TO FIND YOUR ASSIGNMENTS

Please visit Google Classroom or your Upper Sea Homework Planner to access current assignments. I do my best to post new assignments on Google Calendar by 4pm each day. However, please note that all assignments are also announced in the classroom and students have the opportunity to input them in Google Calendars or paper planners during the school day.

**Most documents will be uploaded there, but there are times when they are only handed out in class. If you are absent make sure to check. Assignments names and deadlines are also posted in the classroom on the whiteboard.

**​You are responsible for understanding what the homework is and writing it down, on your Upper Sea Homework Planner, before leaving class. If students are ever confused about assignments, they should (first) check Google Classroom, (second) call a friend, and (third) see me. You can email me directly, but if it is after school, you should be aware that I may not see the email until the next morning. This is not an excuse for not completing your homework.

**If you do not have enough time to finish an assignment during class work time, you are usually welcome to take it home to complete it as homework.


Absences

You are responsible for making up ALL work missed due to absence. Length of time to complete work depends on circumstance. You should ALWAYS check in with me when you return to school after an extended absence. This is your responsibility!

You should check Google Classroom. If you are confused or have questions, you should call a friend and/or email me directly.

**If you know ahead of time that you will be absent, please let me know. That way we can make plans for you to take care of whatever work you will be missing.

LATE WORK

In 6th grade you are taking on more responsibility and as part of this the expectation is that work will be turned in complete and on time with your name on it. Late work will be accepted until a week before the end of the trimester; however, the assignment will lose points for every day that it is late. After one week unexcused (4 classes) you will be working for a maximum of 50% of the points. If you are having trouble completing an assignment, come see me. The goal is for you to learn through the process of doing your work and if you miss assignments, you will be missing pieces of the academic puzzle of 6th grade.


Grades

  • Daily classwork, larger projects and tests, participation and preparedness are all part of your grade.
  • We generally keep work in the classroom so it is available for reflection and portfolios.
  • Larger graded projects are clearly defined by rubrics, which outline points and expectations.
  • Students are encouraged to revise work if they are not satisfied with the final outcome. This honors growth mindset, the learning process, and is important for developing and practicing new skills.


Parents will be invited to student-led conferences in December, to review work -- process and product --with their child.

PLEASE CHECK BACK FOR THE DATES LATER IN SEPTEMBER.

REPORT CARDS

Final letter grades are given at the end of each trimester. Through class work, homework, projects, participation, preparation, and tests, you earn points towards your grades. You will get periodic updates during the trimester to let you know where you stand grade-wise.

40% Assignments: In-class and homework

50% Assessments: Tests, papers, and projects

10% Preparation & Participation

Students earn grades that represent the quality, depth, and effort in Core.

A – exceeds requirements in depth, understanding, and effort

B - exceeds requirements in depth, understanding, or effort

C – meets requirements

D – more practice or effort needed to meet requirements

F – Understanding and effort not demonstrated

OFFICE HOURS

If you needs to meet with me, you can come in during Panther Time or make an appointment to come in at recess or lunch. Please schedule your meeting, so that we can make sure to have time to work together!