8th Grade Syllabus

Welcome to Mrs. Schumacher’s Class!

I am extremely excited to spend this upcoming year with Marshall’s 8th grade scientists! I strive to make every lesson enjoyable and challenging, while reinforcing collaboration, organization, creative problem solving, and kindness. I encourage all students to become active learners through regular self-evaluations and self-advocacy, and to strive to become a kind and contributing citizen. 

Class Description

8th Grade Science focuses on beginning physics, space science, natural and technological evolution, & health education. This course has been designed to meet the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and to prepare students for high school science. In addition to learning about the practices used by scientists, we will also focus on design and engineering processes, with special attention to how technology impacts human life and how human activity affects our planet. While we do not follow a textbook, supportive resources may be provided upon request. 

Class Structure

Nearly all class work is completed in portfolios organized by unit. At the beginning of each unit, students receive a Table of Contents, indicating each page in the portfolio, and a list of the unit’s Learning Goals. Students have until the end of the semester to demonstrate mastery of each learning goal as evidenced in their submitted work.

Academic Grades

The purpose of academic grading is to report learning and proficiency of the class standards. Grades should be a representation of what a student knows and is able to do. They are not indicative of a student as a person or a representation of how hard they try. It is also not a comparison to peers. As a result, a 4-point grading scale will be used this year – indicating a student’s proficiency of the standards. Note that students do not earn an “A” just by submitting a completed assignment on time, but rather by producing accurate and original work that shows mastery of a particular standard. This scale is posted online and is subject to change.

Citizenship Grades

The purpose of citizenship grading is to measure how a student contributes to their own learning and learning environment. These grades are an evaluation of many factors brought to measure a student’s general behavior and effort in class. It is the culmination of a student’s willingness and efforts to help or hinder the progress of class and/or others. Citizenship grades are the balance of a student’s efforts and behaviors, not the result of one day or one action. Note that students do not automatically earn a “G” or an “E”, but must earn grades through their actions. Please view the citizenship rubric online for more information. 

Active Learning Goals

At the start of each unit, students will be asked to develop a personal active learning goal. This goal should be a weakness that students want to target and improve on. It may be related to academics, study skills, or citizenship. At the end of the unit, students will self-evaluate and indicate the level of progress towards this goal, as provided by evidence throughout the unit. Efforts towards achieving this goal will contribute to a student’s citizenship grade. 

Grade Improvement

As grading is reflective of learning and efforts by the end of a grading period, students may submit late work or revisions any time throughout a semester, but should consider the natural consequences of doing so. To improve a test grade and show relearning, students may also complete test retakes. No extra credit is offered. One Revision Day will be held each semester, where students have a block period to revise work with support from their teacher(s) and peers. Late work, revisions, and retakes are always at the teacher’s discretion and are not accepted the last week of the grading period.

Homework

There is no homework for this class. The only work that needs to be completed at home is unfinished class work. Therefore, a productive student who maximizes class time should have minimal work this year. Work will never be assigned over a holiday. There are multiple ways for students and parents to identify work, including:

  1. Every Monday, we record the week’s work in the planners.
  2. Email via Marshall’s Homework Notifications

Assessments

Assessments are one of the primary ways to show whether a student has learned the content by the end of each unit. As mentioned, test retakes are allowed to show deeper learning. Test retakes contain new questions and will only be offered on specific days as planned by the teacher. Students absent for the original test will complete the test retake.

Extra Support

My classroom is open at lunch on Tuesdays, and also upon request.

Worst Case Scenarios

In the event that a student chooses to attempt forgery, plagiarize or cheat on an assignment or test, he/she will receive a permanent zero on the assignment, a lowering of the citizenship grade to a “U”, lunch detentions, and possible administrative involvement. 

Recommended Supplies

Students are not required to purchase supplies. However, as they will be used regularly, it is highly suggested that students bring the following everyday:

  • 1 inch 3-ring binder
  • Dividers (or some other way to separate units)
  • Earbuds or headphones
  • Coloring Pencils
  • Pencils, pencils, pencils 

Wishlist

There is no school or district science budget for supplies so Marshall’s science teachers depend solely on our amazing PTSA and family donations. General supplies used by all students throughout the year are listed on the wishlist. Thank you in advance! 

My Teaching Philosophy

My teaching philosophy has evolved over my 12 years of teaching. It is best described as focusing on the “6 C’s”, which exist in a variety of formats across education.

  • Content – science content as dictated by state standards
  • Critical thinking – problem-solving and questioning all sides of a statement
  • Collaboration – working in teams with peers is essential for success across all fields
  • Communication – being able to positively and effectively communicate with others
  • Creativity – a critical component of science that enables students to express their own individuality
  • Character & Confidence – identifying and feeling positive about individual strengths and weaknesses

My Pledge

While I enjoy science and teaching, I love you guys, my students, even more! It is my job to work hard every day to make lessons enjoyable and interesting. It is also my job to treat you fairly and respectfully, with high academic and behavioral expectations. I will attempt to provide you with a learning environment that is full of choice, rigor, kindness, and positivity. It is YOUR job to try hard, to be an active participant, and to collaborate with and be kind to your classmates. If we all do our jobs successfully, this could be one of your best classes!

Next, please complete the class form.