Commonly Asked Questions and Helpful Advice

World Cultures FAQs

  • What supplies do I need to have for World Cultures?

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    Students need access to a ultra-fine Sharpie and a set of twistables or colored pencils for various projects and homework assignments throughout the year. 

    NOTE: Not having the right supplies is NOT an excuse for not having an assignment done on the due date! Plan ahead!

    Students also need a three-prong folder to keep all important documents organized and together. This folder (his name is BRAD) will usually stay in Ms. Vollentine's classroom but may be brought home to complete assignments or study for tests. DO NOT LOSE BRAD!! You may want to replace BRAD at certain points of the year because we will run out of room and have to do a BRAD clean-out. If you bring in a new folder, you can just take the old BRAD home and keep him in a safe place for finals. :)

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  • Can I redo an assignment or test/quiz for a higher grade?

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    Short answer: Yes. Most grades can be resubmitted for a higher grade. 

    Long Answer: While grades can be resubmitted for credit, the new assignment or assessment (test, quiz, entrance ticket, etc.) will NOT be the same as the original assignment. Students can expect that they will have to complete a whole new assignment or a different test if they didn't do well on the first one. The concepts will be the same, but the format will be different.

    Please note that it is easier to just do your assignment or test right the first time. That is intentional!

    Also, students will have to document that they have completed all practice assignments (whether or not they were taken for a grade) and may be required to attend mandatory study sessions before being allowed to retest or resubmit a project. 

     

    And, just in case you're really interested...

    My Grading Philosophy:

    Grades should demonstrate mastery, not behavior. If a student demonstrates an understanding of a concept at a high level, he or she should have a high grade. Similarly, if a student does not understand a topic, that should be represented by a low grade. If a student is particularly busy and finished a project a day late or has a bad night's sleep and bombs a test, that doesn't show how well he or she knows the material, it shows that he or she is having a bad day. We're all human, I understand that and do not think that our human-ness should determine a class average. I have built my grading policies around this philosophy and do my best to assess student understanding of the material, behavior notwithstanding. 

    However, please remember that I am only one person. I cannot allow students to repeatedly blow off first attempts because they know that they can simply redo the same assignment for full credit. I would spend countless additional hours grading on top of the many hours I already dedicate to the task. I have worked hard to create barriers to get to re-do work that are fair to both me and my students and mutually beneficial. 

    I am always open to feedback about the way I assign grades to students. Please let me know if you have questions, comments, or concerns. 

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  • What is the deal with late work?

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    Students should make every effort to turn work in on time. Students who do not have work done when it is due will have to take steps to get that work turned in. Work not received in a timely manner will result in parent contact, lunch detention (homework club), and/or assigned tutorials. Students who make a habit of late work will be assigned an action plan for improvement.

    NOTE: Absences on the due date of projects/assignments do NOT earn students an extension! Projects/assignments should be ready to turn in when students return from an absence. 

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  • What should I do if I am absent because I am sick?

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    It's hard being absent in Middle School. We move at a very fast pace and you will have to make up the class time you miss by spending time outside of class getting caught up. The best thing to do is to prevent absences as much as possible. Practice good hygiene by washing your hands and not sharing drinks! Get a flu shot! Do whatever you can to prevent getting sick. 

    However, I realize it's near impossible to avoid getting sick all year long. Luckily, there are several things you can do to minimize the terrible-ness of being absent! Here's a list:

    1. Check the daily agenda and/or Canvas for an idea of what we did in class. Open and print any assignment pages (if possible).

    2. Email Ms. V any questions you have about what we did - caris.vollentine@dsisdtx.us

    3. Work on your assignments if you feel up to it.

    4. When you come back to school, COME TO TUTORIALS to get help on work, pick up assignments or handouts, and turn in completed work. 

    5. Later, check Skyward to make sure that all of the work you missed got turned in and graded.

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  • What should I do if I know I'm going to be absent?

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    Come to tutorials BEFORE you miss school to get the work you will miss. Unexcused absences (vacation, athletic events, orthodontist appointments, etc.) do NOT earn you extra time to complete assignments!

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  • How are grades calculated?

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    In middle and high school, final grades are calculated as follows:

    70% - Summative assignments like quizzes, tests, and major projects

    30% - Formative assignments like homework, daily assignments, entrance/exit tickets, class participation, etc. 

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  • When are tutorials?

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    Tutorials are available most every morning in room H104 (Ms. Vollentine's room) from 8:30-8:55. Additional tutorials time can be arranged on request.

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  • What is World Cultures about?

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    The focus of our course will be to master world cultures and world geography using critical thinking strategies, examination of primary and secondary source materials, academic writing practice, inquiry-style lessons, projects, and more. This course is designed to help students acquire a better understanding of culture, history, government, economics, current events, and the world as a whole.

    See the "About World Cultures" page for even more information.

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