Class Syllabus 2013 – 2014

My Goals

My goal is to create a learning environment that encourages high interactive participants.  We will look to our society to investigate our past, our present and our future.  Through discussion, social topics will be analyzed,  theories will be tested, viewpoints will be challenged, and comparisons will be applied. As we advance through the rest of this semester, we will begin to make connections from the lessons to our lives and our lives beyond this classroom.

 

Dustin C. Balsley

912 Woodland Ave

Room #12

Riceville, IA, 50466

E: dustin.balsley@riceville.k12.ia.us

W: dustincbalsley.com

Meet Your Instructor

Hello, my name is Mr. Dustin C. Balsley, and I hope this passage will help you get to know a little more about myself.  I thought I would spend some time to share my experiences and some of my hobbies.

I was raised on a farm for the entirety of my life, where we harvest corn for the beef cattle that we raise.  Working with cattle is one of my favorite hobbies.  Away from the farm, I graduated from High School in Osage, Iowa in 2007, where I was a part of many extra curricular activities, such as wrestling, football, track, music, and many leadership groups. Following High School, I went directly to Luther College and graduated with a Major in History and a Minor in Secondary Education.  In my time at Luther College I participated in wrestling, agriculture advocating, and political organizations.

Once attaining my Bachelor of Art’s Degree, I moved back to my hometown, where I helped the family on the farm while still working at the public school.  At school, I worked with at-risk students and coached wrestling at the Middle School level.

When I am not working on the farm or spending time at the school, I enjoy outdoor activities.  I enjoy cycling, motorcycling, strength training, and volunteering my time for others.  I am interested in getting into some fishing and hunting.

I am excited to start school this upcoming year.  My true passion is with education through historical discussion, political debates, and coaching wrestling.  Riceville seems like a good fit for me, since it is a small agriculture based town similar to my hometown.

If you have any questions or comments for me, please feel free to email me.

Classroom Environment

I hope to create a classroom environment that supports educational practices  To advance educational practices, I believe that it is important to be transparent with the objectives of the classroom.  It is important for a effective learning environment encourages a variety of methods of learning. Such as:

Creativity- It is important for students to think beyond what is visibly apparent.  Creativity supports a better understanding of themselves, the past, the present and future.

Curiosity- Allowing ourselves to follow our curiosity will motivate us to investigate happenings or obstacles more in-depth.  I hope that students will look into subjects with a desire to learn more about how it impacts their lives.

Problem-Solving- Too often is Social Studies accompanied with the memorization of dates and names.  We will focus more to answer the questions of “Why, How, and Historical Impact on Society?”

Self-Investigation- Much of the learning will be from the individual’s research.  I hope to prepare students for college and life beyond structured academic institutions.  Once out of these institutions, learning will be dominated by the individual’s self-investigations.

Classroom Etiquette

I like to keep things simple and easy. I have a few basic guidelines that, I think, will help us best to reach our goals.

Be Positive – Nothing destroys any ambition or drive to succeed than negative members of the classroom.  My goal is to have positive participants throughout the entirety of the class period.  Being realistic, people are going to have “bad days.”  I have no problem with students that need to take a break from the activity, if they are only going to hinder the learning environment.  All assignments are still needed to be handed in, and some sort of assessment will be provided proving the understanding of the material.

Don’t Disrupt – This classroom is an opportunity for everyone to learn, contribute, and grow intellectually. I find that if you are disengaged from the classroom, find something to do by yourself, so that you do not disrupt your classmates. Allow your classmates to benefit as much as they would like from the class.

Share Your Thoughts – Open your mind to new ideas. Collaborate with your classmates. Test your theories. Draw conclusions from your investigations. Its okay to be wrong now.  This class is just one of many preparations to the rest of your life.

Grade Book Outline

  1. Participation (30%)
    1. Criteria
      1. Attendance
        1. 1-2 Absences
        2. 3-4 Absences
        3. 5-6 Absences
        4. 7-8 Absences
      2. Learning Environment
        1. Encourages: Others and Themselves Stay Motivated
        2. Encourages: Only Themselves Stay Motivated
        3. Not Disruptive, Does Not Stay Motivated
        4. Occasionally Disruptive, Does Not Stay Motivative, Distracts Others
      3. Becomes Involved in Discussion
        1. Ongoing, Positive Active Involvement
          1. Responds thoughtfully to others
          2. Contributes to respectfully to arguments
          3. Suggests alternate ways of approaching material
          4. Encourages multiple approaches to analysis
        2. Occasional Positive Involvement
        3. Little Positive Involvement
        4. Occasional Negative Involvement
      4. Preparation
        1. Excellent Preparation
          1. Analyzed topic well
          2. Relates topics to previous readings, course material, discussions, experiences
          3. Assignments done on a timely manner
        2. Good Preparation
        3. Prepared for class slightly more than not
        4. Prepared for class slightly less than not
  2. Assignments (30%)
  • Research Paper
  • Article Response Paper
  • Opinion Essay
  • Arts/Crafts
  • Photo Collection
  • Solve the Problems
  1. Tests (40%)
  • Vocabulary
  • Multiple Choice
  • Short Essay
  • Full Essay

Grade Book Categories are subject to Change/Revision/Addition.  Rubrics will be added with each Assignment and Project.  If you have any questions about the task, check the website, ask a classmate, finally ask Mr. Balsley.

Absent From Class

Check the Website – Mr. Balsley’s websites is full of information on the daily lessons, projects, or upcoming important dates. (dustincbalsley.com)

Check With Your Classmates – To get more details of what was discussed during the class, ask those who have participated in the lesson.

Check With Your Teacher – If you still have anymore questions on the lesson, activities, or projects, find time to contact me. (Email: dustin.balsley@rieeville.k12.ia.us or In Person: Room# 12

Mr. Balsley is Absent

Be Respectful – A substitute teacher will be provided, and more respect should be given to this individual than you might give me. These teachers are finding time out of their own lives to help me out.

Be Prepared – The substitute will have general information of the daily lesson and activity, but you will have to be prepared to lead the projects or activities.  This is an opportunity to involve a new learner to our classroom, so include them into our discussions and activities. BE FRIENDLY!

Final Decisions – Any final decisions, rules, or guideline are left to the substitute. Even if we do things differently in our time together, what the substitute finds most beneficial for the the class has priority.

What If We Have A Problem?

If a problem arises, we will hold a discussion to find the source of the misunderstanding.  If consequences are needed to be enforced they will be handled between those in discussion.  Specific details are varied as every situation is different. Order of which discussions will be held follows:

  1. We will have a discussion between the student and teacher.
  2. If trouble continues… we will have a discussion between the student, teacher, and principal.
  3. If trouble continues… we will have a discussion between the student, teacher, principal, and parent/guardian.

If its trouble with the substitute…

If we have trouble with a substitute we will have a discussion between the student and teacher.  A letter of apology will be written to the substitute, and until this letter is written a ZERO will be placed in every grade following the problem.

 

My Goals Again…

My goal is to create a learning environment that encourages high interactive participants.  We will look to our society to investigate our past, our present and our future.  Through discussion, social topics will be analyzed,  theories will be tested, viewpoints will be challenged, and comparisons will be applied. As we advance through the rest of this semester, we will begin to make connections from the lessons to our lives and our lives beyond this classroom.

 

Student and Parent/Guardian Signature

This signature signifies that both the student and the guardian has looked through syllabus and discussed the information for the classes lead by Mr. Dustin C. Balsley.  If there are any questions, concerns, or comments referring to the content of the syllabus, they will be directed towards Mr. Dustin C. Balsley in a respectful manner.

Link to Original Document

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