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Welcome to Mr. Maedgen’s 8th Grade English Class!

INTRODUCTION:

      Greetings Parents and students! I am so excited for the beginning of a new school year, and I cannot wait to dive into getting to know you all and talk to you about what we will cover this school year! Just a short introduction about me. My name is Kenneth Maedgen and this is my fourth year as an 8th grade English teacher at La Vega Junior High. I graduated from Tarleton State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Science with a Business Emphasis. I earned my teaching credentials through an alternative teaching certification program. I grew up with a love and respect for education! I would like to instill a bit of that respect, and possibly love for education into each student.

 

COURSE SYLLABUS

      The syllabus includes are classroom rules and procedures, as well as what will be expected of students during their 8th grade year that will help them succeed on the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) test in the Spring.

REQUIRED SUPPLIES:

  • Pocket folder
  • Spiral or composition notebook
  • Highlighters
  • Pencil or blue/black pen

    These materials will be used daily in the classroom and are essential to every student’s success.  The folder and notebook will be kept in the classroom in a designated area by class period. Please do not hesitate to ask if getting any of these supplies will be an issue.  I keep these in my classroom and will gladly give any student supplies.


DISCIPLINE: I will closely follow the discipline routine set up by the school which progresses from 1. Warning, 2. Student/Teacher Conference, 3. Parent contact/conference, 4. Office Referral. Let me state that my main goal with discipline is to eliminate problems with the rules and procedures set up in my classroom.  I will also contact parents at the beginning of any major discipline issue. My goal is to keep each student in my classroom at all times without writing referrals to administration. Referrals are the last resort only when I have exhausted all other options.


RULES: My rules are simple and few. These rules are designed to maintain a safe and comfortable class atmosphere where every student feels safe taking risks in learning.  

1) Come to class on time and prepared. Students will be required to be in my classroom before the tardy bell rings or they will be counted tardy. I will also closely follow the 10-10 rule which states no student is allowed to leave the classroom for any reason in the first and last 10 minutes of class. Students have a passing period between classes in which they will be required to take care of restroom breaks.  I generally will not let students out of class for the restroom, unless an emergency arises. This allows me to provide a safe environment for every student and make sure they are receiving the most instruction possible.

2.) Respect everyone at all times. I will under no circumstances tolerate bullying of any sort. This includes verbal, non-verbal, laughing, and picking on other students. If I witness this behavior, it will result in an automatic discipline referral. I cannot stress enough that it will not be tolerated. We will use many strategies within the classroom to bring about a safe and positive atmosphere where there is mutual respect between students and teachers.

3) Raise your hand to get up or talk during whole group instruction. This rule is very simple but very important in keeping a productive classroom.  I want everyone in the class to feel secure in speaking, but I generally can only answer one student at a time.

4.) Listen and follow instructions. Listening and following instructions is the most important rule when it comes to success in 8th grade English.  A perfect classroom is one where the students do the majority of the work.  I will explain lessons in many different ways with different directions to follow. Students must listen so they can follow the instructions when completing the work.


CLASSROOM PROCEDURES:  I require my class to operate very smoothly so students are always safe and we can get the most out of our instruction time together.  These procedures are requirements in my class.

Entering the class:

  • The first thing students should do as they enter class is make sure they have their folder/journal/pencil or pen (pencils sharpened at this time).  Do not wait until you find out what you are writing to secure something to write with
  • Students will always have a seating assignment. After getting the supplies, each student should find their seat and get in it. Do not walk around the class waiting for the bell to ring.
  • Once seated, find the warm up assignment on the front board and get started.  If there are any questions about the warm up, ask!


During Class:

  • Students should never be out of the assigned seat unless approved by the teacher.  Almost every discipline issue I have encountered occurred when a student was out of their seat without teacher approval.  If you need to be out of your desk for any reason at all, raise your hand and ask.
  • Students will be required to participate productively in class discussions and small group discussion.  Always talk one at a time and respect your classmates.
  • Testing days will be silent days so every student has the same opportunity to complete the test with silence.  
  • Anytime a student finishes their work/test early they will be required to read a book or work on another class assignment.
  • CELL PHONES are never allowed during class for any reason.  If someone needs to contact you they will need to contact the front office to deliver a message.  This is a campus policy and I will follow the campus procedures if you are caught on your phone in my class.
Exiting Class:
  • Students will be required to pick up all trash or materials off the floor.
  • Students will need to put their folders and journals back in the designated area.
  • Students are required to be in their assigned seat and silent to leave the class.
  • The bell doesn't dismiss the students, the teachers dismisses the students.  I will keep you in class until all of these steps are completed. If all steps are completed at the bell, I will release you shortly after the bell.

CURRICULUM:

We will be using the textbook as a scope and sequence guide for the TEKS that will be taught throughout the year. This textbook is aligned with the standards required for 8th grade English students in the state of Texas. Each student will have access to textbooks during class time only.  We do not have enough textbooks to give each student. Students will take a Reading STAAR test later in the year to demonstrate their learning from the school year. Students will read a variety of texts and short stories from many different genres throughout the year. Students will also complete several writing assignments to enhance their understanding of what they read.

 

1st Six Weeks:  Analyzing Fiction:  Point of View, Plot, and Characterization

2nd Six Weeks:  Analyzing Literary Nonfiction and Persuasive Texts

3rd Six Weeks:  Analyzing Informational Text:  Main Idea, Supporting Details

4th Six Weeks:  Creating Connections Across Literary Texts:  Poetry, Drama, Mythology

5th Six Weeks:  Creating Connections Across Informational Texts/STAAR Prep and Review

6th Six Weeks:  Producing Research/STAAR Prep and Review

 

TESTS AND BENCHMARKS

  • 50% of the 6 weeks grade
  • Tests will generally be given every 3 weeks with few exceptions.
  • Students are required to have at least 2 test grades per 6 week period.
  • Tests are short reading passages with STAAR level questions.  The questions will be based on the TEKS we are working on at the time.  Each test will provide the teacher and students a guide as to how they are progressing with the ultimate goal of passing the STAAR test in mind.

DAILY WORK:

  • 50% of the 6 weeks grade
  • Students will be required to have at least 10 daily grades per 6 week period.
  • No student should ever fail my class because I have a correction policy. Students will be allowed to correct any daily grade and receive a grade of 75. There is no reason for any student to have daily grades in the gradebook below a 75.
  • Late work will be accepted up to 5 days after it was originally due with 5 point deductions for each day.  After the 5 days it will go in the gradebook as a 0.
  • Students will also be responsible for make-up work when they are absent. I will have a designated place where I keep all the daily work. It is the ultimate responsibility of the student to ask for their make-up work.  I will not allow class time for completion of make-up work, but I am available during my conference time to help students with make-up work. .
  • I will update gradebook as soon as I grade student work so feel free to check grades once a week on parent portal.  
  • My class is designed for students to have success, but it requires them to work hard and complete every assignment.  Every assignment is a building block to the ultimate goal of passing the STAAR Assessment in the spring.

CONCLUSION:

      Once again, I cannot wait to begin this new school year, and I am so excited for the opportunity to know and grow with each one of my students this year, and continue the same success rate of students that pass the Reading STAAR. I will do everything in my power to reach every one of my students on their learning level, and I cannot do that without parent cooperation and support. Please read this syllabus carefully and ask any questions you may have. Summer is over, and I am so excited for this new school year! Thank you for everything you do. If you ever need to contact me with any questions and concerns, my email is the best way, I check it every day. kenneth.maedgen@lavegaisd.org

 

 Also, you can always call the school and leave a message for me and I will call you back as soon as possible. Thank you and let’s have a great year.

 

Kenneth Maedgen

8th grade English