I'm Doug Adomatis, and I teach science. I teach science by having students do science. In a typical lesson, students explore new concepts in class by doing laboratory exercises and simulations. At home, students learn by reading the textbook or watching a video that explains the new concepts. Back in class, students practice what they have learned before they are tested. The benefits of learning this way are that students do the easy stuff at home at their own pace, like taking notes, which frees up class time for problem-solving, hands-on activities, and projects. Best of all, instead of lecturing in class, I have time to work more closely with students.
A Typical Day in Mr. A's Class
Do on Arrival (DOA)
Students will have an assignment on the board to be completed at the beginning of class. For example, students will write the day's learning objectives, definitions to vocabulary words, or equations for physical relationships. Students will complete these activities in a notebook for review. While students are working on the DOA activity, I will check homework. To wrap up this phase of the lesson, I will address questions on the homework.
Students will have time in class to practice what they learned. For example, students will work on problems from the textbook or a worksheet. I will circulate the room, helping students.
After students have had a chance to practice working with new concepts, I will check for understanding through formative assessment. Formative assessment may be graded as a classwork grade. Based on the results of formative assessment, I may differentiate my instruction, allowing some students to move on while I work with students that need help.
Students will work on a project, lab, simulation, or other hands-on activity, applying what they have learned previously and exploring new concepts.
I will wrap up the day's activities by addressing any issues that came up in class and assign homework.
Norms and Expectations
My classroom is a positive learning environment. Students are expected to stay on task and not disrupt the learning environment by distracting or discouraging others in any way. Students should be ready to learn when the tardy bell rings, which means in their seats, working on the DOA assignment. Students are not allowed to enter the classroom after the tardy bell without a pass. Students must ask permission to eat and use personal electronic devices in class, and students should ask permission to pack up before the bell. Students are not allowed to crowd around the door to the classroom.
Homework is not negotiable. Success in my class requires that students complete homework before coming to class. The concepts explained and skills demonstrated in the homework are essential for mastery. Students who do not complete the homework before class may be required to complete homework during class and may miss out on group activities.
Students are expected to keep a 3-ring binder for organizing notes and other work. I recommend a 1-½ inch binder with pockets. Occasionally, I will check notebooks. Failure to make and keep an organized notebook will result in a conversation with parents.
Students may work individually or in groups to explore or practice. I will assign groups as necessary. Groups function with positive interdependence and individual accountability. That means students assigned to a group must provide evidence of individual learning. For example, groups may work on a lab together, but everyone writes their own report.
Demonstration of Mastery
Students should achieve mastery of the learning objectives before being tested. All students learn at their own pace; however, test dates are firm. Students that require more time to learn will need to spend more time outside of class.
I use quiz grades to measure student progress towards mastery. Quizzes are less frequent and are weighted more than daily homework or classwork grades. Typically, there will be a quiz every week. Students may re-take quizzes after school during office hours. Quiz grades will be averaged.
Students are expected to follow written instructions and be self-starters when working on exploratory activities. Students may have to work together due to limited equipment and supplies. I will be available to guide students during their explorations, but my priority is to work with students who need me the most.
Our school is a project-based school. In my class, projects are inquiry activities that may span multiple days, culminating in the delivery of student work that demonstrates their learning. Typically, I will introduce projects at the beginning of a unit, several days of instruction will follow, and students will complete the project before the test.
Projects are major assessments. I will provide a detailed project description, an example, and either a rubric or a specific set of learning objectives. I plan to provide class time for project work; however, students should also expect to spend some time on projects outside of class.
The quarterly grade is comprised of minor grades (10%), quizzes (30%), and major grades (60%). Minor grades include homework and classwork. Major grades are tests and projects.
Semester Grade is comprised of first-quarter grade (45%), second-quarter grade (45%), and an exam grade (10%). The final grade is comprised of the first semester (50%) and the second semester (50%) grades.
Tests are summative assessment. There will be no test re-takes or test corrections. I may offer an alternative assessment under special circumstances.
Zeros are entered in the gradebook when a student has not completed an assignment. The zero will be removed when the assignment has been completed. No late assignments accepted after the end of the quarter.
I am available most days after school to help students. Students with an average course grade trending below 80% are required to attend office hours on Thursday after school. Students who need help are requested to complete a form, including name, date, and the topic they want to be reviewed.
I will post information to students about the course and specific assignments in the Google Classroom. Most communication with parents, like the class newsletter, will be sent through the "Email Guardians" feature of the Google Classroom. First-day class activities will include setting up student and guardian accounts in the Goggle Classroom.
For direct communication with me, my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and the school's phone number 864-250-8844.
Student Supply List
- Notebook, 3-ring, 1-½" with pockets to keep loose papers, and 4 or 5 dividers.
- Small 3-hole punch stored in the notebook.
- Corded earbuds stored in a notebook pouch.
- Filler paper (college rule).
- Graph paper with 3-holes for notebook
- Access to the Internet outside of class (let me know if this is an issue).
- Index cards.
- Mechanical pencil with extra lead erasable pen with refills.
- Recommended calculator:
TI-Nspire ($$$), TI-84 ($$), TI-30XS ($)
- Calculators, any type.
- Calculator batteries.
- Printer Paper (8-1/2 x 11")
- Graph Paper with holes for 3-ring binders.
- Assorted, individually wrapped candy (skittles, nerds, sour patch, swedish fish)