Mrs. Crandall

Welcome Note

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the 2020-2021 school year!

This year we will explore the two areas of physical science, physics and chemistry. This is an exciting topic because it explains HOW THE WORLD WORKS! By understanding chemistry we understand how everything in the world is put together and by exploring physics we can understand how everything moves once it is put together.

I look forward to exploring these ideas with you throughout this year!


About This Class

1.       Class Structure: This year we using a hybrid “flipped classroom” model for science. This means that students watch short videos which (created and recorded by Bull Run 8th Grade Science Teachers) which cover the notes I would normally give in class and removes the traditional 'lecture' format. Students are responsible for watching and listening to the notes during the time given in class and then transitioning to practice work or activities when they are ready. This promotes independent learning/pacing and allows me to circulate and answer questions as students need help instead of forcing some students to speed up/slow down to work as a whole, which can cause frustration with class content. 
The class structure always follows the same pattern: 
1. Notes - students watch the video and fill in the notes in their interactive notebooks
2. Practice Activity 1 - students complete some sort of practice assignment which reviews the notes (worksheet, hands-on activity, review game, etc.) 
3. Lab/Practice Activity 2 - when possible, I like to have students complete a lab that helps review the content. If that is not applicable, students will complete a second review activity.
4. Quick Check - After completing the review activities, students will complete a brief "quick check" to assess their understanding. 
All learning targets follow the same class structure, which allows students to be aware of upcoming quick checks so they are never a 'surprise'. It is my goal to help students understand and master content by using a familiar routine which promotes engagement with learning. This process is highly successful, provided that students use their class time as directed. 
2.       Homework: I assign very little homework throughout the entire 8th grade year, students are given class time to complete all notes, labs, practice assignments, and projects for class. If a student has homework, it usually reflects on how they are spending their class time or that they might want to study for an upcoming test. The only exception being the EDD Project or Science Fair which you can read more about below in item 5.
3.    Quick Checks & Retakes: In class we will complete a brief 5 question “Quick Check” for every new learning target that we work on. These will happen usually between 1-3 times a week. This is a way for me to assess student understanding and for students to gauge how well they are mastering the material. Through this method, each students’ grades should truly reflect their mastery of the content instead of their ability to turn in excessive amounts of homework.
Students cannot retake their quick checks, see the next question below for further clarification, but are welcome to complete retakes on any Unit Test or Portfolio Project. Students who wish to complete a retake must have the retake contract signed by a parent/guardian and turned back in to Mrs. Crandall no later than one week past the assessment date. Most assessments will also have additional practice pages that the student will need to complete. 
4.    Quick Check Retakes & Grade Change Policy: This year, in an effort to lessen paperwork both for me and for the students, the 8th grade science department has decided to not do re-takes for the quick check assignments.  Instead, our Unit test is broken down into sections that match the graded practices so that if your student does better on the matching section of the unit test (showing that he/she has continued to work on and master the material), then I will replace the low grades on the graded practice with the score from that section of the test.  We also decided on this policy as a team to keep from having to test or quiz our students over and over again, while still giving them an opportunity to improve their scores by showing they have learned the information.
5.    EDD Project/Science Fair: All students should be bringing home a project contract near the end of September which will commit students to either an EDD Project (which is a short experiment that students will complete at home) or the science fair. Students should settle on a topic of study for the EDD project or science fair and turn it in with your signature by early October.