New Student Orientation

Dear New Student,

Welcome to my classroom. Most of the resources on this page you will find right on Schoology, but in case you’ve found yourself on my page, everything is right here. You must be logged in to Schoology to access most of these links.

Links You’ll Need

Late Assignment Form

Hopefully you won’t need this, but it’s here in case you do. This form must be submitted before you submit your late assignment. If you submit an assignment without submitting this form, it will not be graded.

Note that it’s okay to be late sometimes, so I don’t take points off. However, excessive lateness will likely be reflected in the quality of your work.

Sign-Out Log

Every time you leave the room, whether you’re going to the bathroom or to your locker right outside my classroom for less than a minute, you must sign out with this log. Students who don’t will receive disciplinary action according to the student code of conduct.

Library Book Check-In/Out

To sign out and return books from my library, you must login to BookSource. Login information can be found on your First Day packet. Keeping accurate records of books ensures that everyone can access the quality material that is available to us.


You will need to login to to access our vocabulary assignments. On your first day in class, I will ask you to submit a Google Form with your username and password so I can help log you in in the event that you forget your credentials.

Grading Breakdown

Typically, grades are broken down into the following categories:

  • Classwork
  • Homework
  • Quizzes
  • Tests and Projects

However, I’m not a believer in these categories because they’re not very helpful. Instead, we are going to use the following breakdown, from least to greatest:

District Assessments5%These are mandatory assessments given by the district.
Vocabulary 10%Each unit is given and quizzes in two week intervals starting the first week of school. Students will earn three grades per unit: Percent Correct, Mastery, and Quiz.
Cumulative Workshop Prep Work 10%This is the work that you do leading up to a final work during a workshop unit. For example, it may contain what you’ve done in preparation for an argument essay. This will be graded in the form of a portfolio.
Independent Book Projects 20%Each marking period, you are required to complete an independent book project. Project options can be found in the course syllabus.
Cumulative Workshop Final Works 25%These are the final works per workshop unit. There may be one or two of these per marking period.
Independent Reading Work 30%This is the work that you do as you read your independent books.

Classroom Policies

All classroom policies can be found in the student code of conduct provided by the Piscataway School District. Additionally, please adhere to the following:


We use a lot of forms in this classroom. If you need help finding the form, please let me know and I will assist you. If it is found that you are knowingly not completing forms, such as the sign-out log, you will face disciplinary action.

Late Assignments

I do not give late grades because all grades should reflect your academic ability, not your ability to hand in work on time. I believe that all students learn at different paces and that’s okay. However, work that is done late typically suffers from poor quality. It is in your best interest to get work in on time as often as possible.

Having said that, there are many assignments that cannot be done late. These assignments cannot be handed in late because they are given large windows of time during which they could be submitted.

  • Vocabulary Unit assignments.
  • Reading Work

Assignments that fall in the “Cumulative Workshop Prep Work” and “Cumulative Workshop Final Works” have recommended completion dates. These are dates that you would benefit most from completing specific assignments by. However, because these are submitted as portfolios, you may complete them at later dates. I STRONGLY urge you to complete these assignments by the recommended dates to avoid falling behind.

Independent Reading Work

There is very rarely homework (besides completing the classwork) in this class to make time for independent reading at home. As you read, you should read actively. This means that you are actively engaging with the text, writing down notes, asking questions, making predicts, etc. To encourage active reading, you will be required to submit responses to specific questions weekly.

Cell Phones

As per the student code of conduct, cell phones are not permitted in the classroom. They must be secured and out of sight. There are no exceptions. Cell phones may not be on your desk as you are working, nor may they be in your pocket, wedged in your binder, on your lap, or under your leg. Students seen with a cell phone on their person during class time will receive disciplinary action.


You are fortunate to be given iPads to use as educational tools in middle school. These devices may only be used in class to conduct class-related work. Any student seen using their iPad for non-class related activities will receive disciplinary action.

Respect to Teachers, Classmates, and Classroom Environment

It is the expectation that all students treat their peers, their teachers, and their classrooms with respect. That means that when a person is speaking, no one else is speaking. If you make a mess in the classroom, it is expected that you clean it up so the next students who enter do not enter a dirty classroom.

Lessons are interactive. However, when I am speaking, you are listening. Students who speak during a listening part of a lesson not only lose the instruction necessary for themselves to be successful, but also cause others to lose the instruction necessary for them to be successful.

A question that I ask myself before speaking, and I hope you ask yourself as well, is, “Am I giving an opportunity for someone to be successful? Or am I taking opportunity away?”