I am very excited to introduce you to this school year's theme - Islands of AdVENTURE: Taking Over the World. In the Islands of AdVENTURE we will work together to develop new ways of thinking in order to solve challenging tasks that extend our view of STEM. I have planned a year filled with project based learning opportunities that are not only fun and exciting, but will also have you digging deep into science and engineering concepts. You will be expected to work collaboratively to find novel solutions to real world problems. I am looking forward to learning with and about you as we work together to "Take over the world".
Let's go on a brief walkthrough of the Islands of AdVENTURE website:
XP (Experience Points)
As most of you know, my classes are gamified. That means that, amongst other things, your work will receive experience points throughout the year. These XP are always additive, which means that there is no XP taken away. Your ultimate goal this year is to achieve "World Domination". There are three distinct ways to get XP:
- Blog XP: The blogs are not going away. Each blog is awarded a specific number of XP based on a rubric score that also shows you what you need to do to improve for your next post. The bulk of your XP will always be Blog XP.
- PBL Quests: I have decided to add your project rubric scores to the XP count. The goal for this is to help you move up in ranking somewhat faster, as well as to encourage you to revise your project work for more XP if possible, even after you have presented your work.
- Mastery Quests: Although these may not happen very often (once or twice a PBL run), they are worth double XP. Not all assignments are mastery quests so please do not ask. I will let you know beforehand when a Mastery Quest is coming up so you can adequately prepare for it.
PAPERLESS CLASSROOMAs much as possible, I try to run a paperless classroom. In order to do this, I will teach you how to use several cloud-based tools in order to gather, sort, analyze and communicate information. Some of the tools you will learn to use effectively are Google Drive, Blogger, and Edmodo. You will learn more about these tools as we need them; and I will be giving specific instructions for their use. Please review the AUP included in the green sheet carefully, as you must abide this policy in order to maintain a professional online presence.
I love new tools, so if there is something you would like to use or see, let me know, and we can see about integrating it.
You also must know that this does not mean that you should not have a notebook and writing materials with you at all times. Your notebook is where you will gather your experimental data, as well as any notes that can then be uploaded as needed.
This also means that any paper given to you is important. If someone took the time to make all those copies, and I broke my own "paperless" rule, it is for a reason.
EDMODOEdmodo is where you will find all assignments, quizzes and classroom resources. It is vital that all students sign up in order to have full access to our classroom resources. Parents can sign up, too. Edmodo will help you to keep up with due dates, tests, quizzes, and more. It will serve as your personal at-home tutor as I will often post videos of instruction, as well as additional materials and simulations to enhance your learning experience. You will also use Edmodo to work collaboratively with other students in class, and in other classes.
I will be giving out codes soon, and will expect you to join immediately. Remember, all of our assignments are EDMODO assignments.
Those of you totally new to Edmodo might want to watch the video below, (created by a wonderful Edmodo teacher, Travis Monk of Indiana U.S.), to get a good understanding of how you can get the most out of your Edmodo student account.
"Once a Zero" Policy
There are times when you will receive a W for an assignment. The W stands for warning, and it is your cue to come talk to me about the assignment within three school days. If you do not seek me out to talk about a W within that time frame, I take it as an indicator that you have decided the assignment is not worth your time, and the W becomes a zero.
Remember that if you need to get in touch with me, the best way to do so is by posting to Edmodo. For more private matters, like requesting a re-grade or informing me of an absence, a schoolloop e-mail is the way to go.
I am thrilled that you are here and welcome you to the Adventure community.