Organization is critical: Just as each grade level gets more difficult than the last, this course will become more rigorous as the year progresses. If your student is doing well, that’s great, it’s a good start. But that early success will require continuous improvement to be maintained. Ninth graders at all ability levels need tight organizational skills and tools. Systems only work if they are used regularly, as in daily! And systems like binders, folders, compositions books, pencil pouches, agendas and calendars will only be used regularly if the system is simple. The fewer steps and the fewer tools the better. Kids have to have what they need when they need it, that should be the goal as you work with your child on this.
Homework lunch: Most students at HSPVA can’t or don’t want to meet with a teacher after school. For this reason, on most Gray Days, I offer “homework lunch”. A student just needs to grab their lunch and come to my room. We’ll eat together and they can get the help they need. My expectation is that students are engaged enough with what is happening that they come in with specific topical questions, not vague plaintive questions like, “what do I need to do to get a better grade?” or “what did I miss when I was gone?”. They need to come in with exact questions, ideally that they have written down such as, “when you were talking about climate the other day, I didn’t really understand the difference between Tropical Rain Forrest and Tropical Savanna, would you explain that to me please?” or “I noticed I missed question 4 on the quiz about land use, can you explain to me why GIS isn’t the right answer?” These questions generate meaningful dialogue that has purpose and will result in positive outcomes for your child. This time may also be used for re-testing or make up testing.
The class calendar on this site will tell you when these are available. In some cases, I will assign a student homework lunch with me if I feel that they are not taking the active steps needed to be successful or if I note a specific learning deficit that might indicate potentially poor performance on the state mandated End of Course (EOC) exam. If I assign a mandatory homework lunch, I will email you and tell you why I believe it is needed.
I work hard to make the class engaging and relevant to students. But you already know that you are the most effective actor in your student’s success. Your active engagement with your student and their activities will have the greatest impact. After all, it’s a kid’s job to resist effort and take the path of least resistance, it’s our job to make sure they don’t! Please know that I understand and appreciate your help.