Thursday, September 14, 2006

Back to School Night / Trudeau's goals & activities handout

World Geography at Caddo Magnet High School with Robert Trudeau

Principal graded activities:

* Open notes tests - using the Rand McNally Quick Reference World Atlas, class notes and notes from the class web site, Multiple-choice questions range in difficulty from rote to complex. Brief essay questions are often part of such tests.
* Projects that integrate vocabulary, design, maps and questioning. Typically these begin in the classroom and are finished as homework.
* Mental mapping is tested by hand-sketched map quizzes. Practice takes place in the classroom. Spelling counts.
* Comparison essays are used as both assignments and as the principal activity in the independent work.
* Independent work for bonus credit can be submitted once a week. Making a dish that complements our studies is virtuous because students are always hungry and thus vulnerable to taste adventures. More points will be awarded students who follow the guidelines in researching and writing a comparison essay.
* My activities are guided by the state and parish grade level expectations and benchmarks as well as years of experience and feedback from students and parents.
* Grade updates: we score open notes tests in the classroom. I score projects and mental map quizzes in the classroom. Essays take a while. Students may check on their cumulative average each day, before or after class. My computer gradebook is rarely closed.
* Planning period for me is at 1:25 - 2:15. It’s a good time to call or visit so we can work on your child’s success. The quickest response from me is usually email, although I will be happy to return your calls to CMHS, 221-2501, or: / 861-6809


Using the web site,
* Students may access the site through the school library at lunch, before school & after and at Activity Period. They can print it out in the library, too. Cutting & pasting can minimize the amount of paper needed.
* When there is no specific assignment (this class is light on homework) I expect students to check the web site to compare their class notes with the teacher’s posts. Parents and students should use the site together on Sunday anytime after lunch to look at the coming activities and plan accordingly.

Lifetime skills are the key to value in social studies.
* Reading with attention to detail and awareness of the big picture is emphasized.
* Essay guidelines put an emphasis on classic standards of composition: titling, colorful intro, documentation, use of examples, integration of topics, attention to organization, grammar & spelling.
* Modes of communication, from public speaking to writing and design of materials, is the subtext of this class.
* Interpretation of the atlas, of terrain and populations and cultural forces, is a theme of our class. Evaluation of resources and conflicts is integral to the class objectives. In general, my priority is to emphasize analysis and synthesis and other high orders of thinking.
* Social science is about being an active and capable citizen. This class will have an emphasis on the positive role we can play in the city, state, nation and world. As a role model, I am active in civic volunteer work and regularly email congressmen and the media.
* Fun via arts and crafts, new technology and other non-traditional activities is an important component in learning, I believe. Please see more of the syllabus in subsequent posts at mondotrudeau.

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