Honors Class Expectations

Here are the expectations for Mr. Boyle's Honors U.S. History I classes for the 2010-2011 school year.

This course will examine all areas of life in the United States from the end of the French and Indian War in 1763 to the years surrounding the Industrial Revolution. The people will be looked at in every way, including their geographies, histories, cultures, political choices, military campaigns and social convictions. We will do this in a variety of ways, including group work, lecture, and research.

What to Bring to Class Every Day/Class Participation/Grading

• Everyday students will come to class prepared to do their best work. They will be expected to come to class with their textbooks and notebooks (preferably a 1-inch three-ring binder), as well as pens and/or pencils and whatever else may be needed for class on a particular day. Because students will be placed in groups with other students to help the learning process, they will be expected to prepare completely each class.
• Daily class participation by each student is expected and required. Class participation may include, but is not limited to the following: taking notes on a teacher lecture or student presentation, actively participating in a class discussion (which includes speaking and listening), working on task on the activity that has been planned for that day (be it individually, with a partner, or with a larger group), actively watching a video by taking notes on what is being shown, or working on some history related task (i.e. timelines, outside historical reading, etc.)
  • Class participation will be assessed daily on a three (3) point scale. Students earning three points will have  participated fully in the class period’s activity and stayed on task. Students earning two points will have participated mostly in the class period’s activity with some minor deviations from the task. Students earning one point will have participated somewhat in the class period’s activity with some major deviations from the task. Students earning zero points refused to participate in the class period’s activity and did not complete the task.
  • If work for another class is being done during history class, I retain the right to take that work. The work will then be handed to the teacher whose assignment is being completed in my class. I also retain the right to give the student a zero for class participation for that day.
  • While in class, students will be expected to respect the rights of other students to learn. This includes raising their hands and being recognized by the teacher, not bothering other students while the teacher is conducting a lesson, not chewing gum, and giving their complete attention (no texting, iPods, cell phones, etc.) to the lesson being conducted. Failure to respect others in the classroom, including the teacher, may result in a number of consequences including, but not limited to the following: a zero for class participation for that day, after school detention with the teacher, phone calls to parents, request for a parent meeting, etc.
  • Class participation will make up 10% of the quarter average.

• Writing assignments will be given during the marking period to give students the opportunity to display what they understand about a given topic. These assignments may be as little as a paragraph or may be a longer essay. Students will be assessed on their ability to express their ideas coherently and effectively, as well as their ability to demonstrate understanding of the topic being discussed. This writing should represent more than a repetition of the facts, but should go beyond with some insight about the topic. Writing assignments will be announced as such when the assignment is given. Writing assignments will make up 10% of the quarter grade.
• Each student will have their own history blog this year, which will be a mandatory part of their work. The blog is to be updated each night with a brief summary of what happened in class that day. There will be other assignments that will be added to the blog during the year. Each student will also be expected to comment on the postings of their classmates on a rotating basis throughout the year, at least three times a cycle. This does not mean that the student may not comment more than three times, or that other students may not make comments on that student’s blog. These are simply the minimum requirements. The blogs will be set up through blogger.com and we will do it as a class. Parents will be able to view these blogs whenever they choose to follow their student’s progress through the course. The blog will be 10% of the quarter grade.
• On-line discussions will also take place during the year, typically in every cycle without a test in it. These discussions will take place at nicenet.org. Typically, I will post a question to be answered, which may include an article to be read. Each student will be expected to make an original post and respond to one of their classmates post over the course of the cycle. Participation in the discussions will be 10% of the quarter grade. A rubric explaining the on-line discussion process will be given to each student and will be available at nicenet.org.
• Projects will be essential to helping the student’s understanding of the topic being studied. These projects will be varied in scope and presentation. They will all include some form of written and oral expression, and may include some kind of visual to be created. These projects may be assigned as individuals, pairs, or small groups (4 or 5 students). If Internet access is necessary for these, computer lab time at school will be scheduled. Projects will make up 15% of the quarter grade.
• Quizzes will be given periodically during the marking period to assess the understanding of the students in a formal way. These quizzes will be announced one day in advance, however, I do retain the right to give a “pop quiz” when appropriate. Quizzes will make up 10% of the quarter grade.
• All tests will be announced at least one full week in advance of the test. Tests may take a variety of forms, including, but not limited to essay, multiple-choice, fill-ins, or a combination of these. Tests will make up 35% of the quarter grade.
• Homework will be used exclusively as a formative assessment, meaning that I will use it to check for the student’s understanding of what is being discussed. These assignments will take a number of different forms and will be used in class at some point (usually the next day) to demonstrate the student’s understanding of the topic. Because homework is going to be considered a formative assessment, it will be checked, but not graded. This check may be through some kind of self-assessment, a class discussion, a conversation with a partner about the work, random teacher questions, the teacher moving around the room asking questions of the student, any combination of these, or any other option the teacher chooses to use. Every effort will be made to make sure that homework assignments are relevant and appropriate to the learning at hand. Homework assignments will be announced as such when the assignment is given.


• If a student is absent, he or she is responsible for finding out what was missed in class, including notes and any homework that has been assigned. Any missing assignments, quizzes, and/or tests must be taken/turned in within two days for each day the student is absent. For example, if a student is absent for two (2) days, the student has four (4) days to make up the work. Failure to do so will result in zero points earned for the assignment.

Extra Help

• I will be available for extra help and student make-up work as often and as long as is necessary. The best days for after school extra help and make up work will be Tuesdays and Thursdays. Students with concerns will be expected to come and see the teacher to arrange a convenient time for both of us. It is better for the student seeking extra help to talk to the teacher as soon as he or she realizes help is needed. The teacher also reserves the right to call any student back for extra help and make-up work when necessary.

Teacher Contact and Other Information

• I also maintain a class blog at http://mrboyleshistoryblog.blogspot.com/. Updates will be posted there at least daily, in addition to other information that I may find appropriate to share with the students.  All information for this class can also be found at our class site at nicenet.org.
• Should parents have any questions or concerns about the progress of the student, they should not hesitate to contact the teacher. The teacher may be reached best at dboyle@trsd.net, but you may leave a voicemail message for me through the school.
• THE STUDENT is the most important figure in his or her own learning. I cannot simply pour information into the heads of students and expect it to be learned. Therefore, the student must take responsibility for his or her own learning. I will provide many different materials to help this learning and understanding grow, but it is worthless if the student does not take an active role in the learning. Every opportunity will be made available to help students learn, but they must and are expected to take advantage of these opportunities.
• The teacher will follow the policies in the Triton Regional Senior High School Student Handbook.