Now, let’s focus our attention on set item due dates. These expectations are communicated to the you within the first two weeks of school. These should be in your agendas.

  1. Students, you are expected to READ personally selected books on or slightly above your reading level for 20 minutes every night. (Fiction & Nonfiction).  You are expected to bring your personal novel to school – to every class – every day. By the end of the second week of school you find out, “Unless I give you other HW to take care of, you MUST  read for 20 minutes every night.” Subsequently, you are to log your reading on your Independent Reading Log. Reading Logs are unpredictably checked. Additionally,divide the book by the number of Journal Starters (19) you will have to complete. Journal at every Journal Stop (every 1/19th of the book) and when something very important happens. Journal entries will be unpredictably checked. The journal entries are to be done in a regular notebook or on your websites – I check them periodically as part of a random check.
  2. Students, you are expected to turn in Approach Papers monthly. (Fiction & Nonfiction). You are given the formats & explicit notes on Approach Papers (FICTION or NONFICTION) by the end of the second week of school. Approach Paper grades close on the last school day of every month. No matter when you finish a book, the Approach paper for that book is due 3 DAYS after you complete the book. You must have another book within a week of finishing a book. See these resources for guidance:
    1. Approach Paper Assignment for a Fiction Book
    2. Approach Paper Assignment for a Nonfiction Book
    3. See how it is graded – RUBRIC – The Approach Paper Assignment.

    All due dates should be in agendas already.

  3. Students, you are expected to turn in an Article of the Week (AotW) every Friday (Nonfiction).   By the end of the second week of school, you are given explicit notes that detail my expectations concerning (A) reliable sources for quality high interest articles such as Kelly Gallagher’s Site, (B) how to deal with the article (4 things to do) and (C) what must be turned in and/or posted. I will occasionally post alternate articles you can choose to do.
  4. Students, you are expected to work on Vocabulary throughout a 2 week period whenever a vocabulary is developed. (Fiction & Nonfiction). This includes posting details for the word a student’s group is responsible for to this or a student’s website, creating a poster for the group’s word, creating VISS Chart(s), making some kind of Vocabulary Artifact, and studying the list. I always suggest studying 3 words the first night, 6 on the second night, 9 the on the third, and all 10 words from that night until the test.
  5. Other HW assignments will be given as needed throughout the year (Multi Mode & Genre). The 20 minutes of reading will yield to other HW responsibilities for MY class only. In one sense, a child could choose to read only at bedtime for an evening in order to (1) get some vocabulary work/studying done, (2) to work on an Article of the Week, (3) to work on an Approach Paper, etc.

IMPORTANT NOTE ON PRIORITIES!! I will never accept the reason for not having done your homework as, “I had a lot of Math/SS/Science HW,” or “I was at ((insert sport here)),” or “I got home too late.” You must do 20 minutes of HW for me every single night, whether you work on vocabulary, read in a personal novel, complete a part of an Article of the Week, or some other assigned task. This includes weekends and holidays.

Some extra notes for clarification. Read carefully.

Here is an example of how you should put #5 to work for yourself. Any in-class assigned project related work is supposed to take the place of HW items on the regular calendar. HYPOTHETICALLY, toward the end of the 1st quarter, for instance, in order to give the children time to work on their Anthem Group Projects, no Article of the Week is due (5 weeks worth). After the projects are done being created, I would add the AotW back into the HW expectations. Additionally, during the reading of Anthem, personal novel reading at home could (and should) be pushed to bedtime reading with to allow for even more time to work on projects outside of the classroom. All of this is communicated to you repeatedly over the span of a quarter. This logical shuffling of priorities – an essential skill – will be their modus operendi when it comes to high school work/assignments and even more so later in college and university work.

During the school year, please bring your concerns to me directly. It can be very difficult for me to piece together concerns communicated by word from an email someone else gets that should have come to me directly initially. Also, please be clear and specific in your emails to me. I am thankful to colleagues, and parents over time who have taught me the value of being polite, clear, specific and direct.

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