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Course Syllabus
Teacher: Mr. Gordon
Course: Approaches to Learning
Grade: 8
th

What is Approaches to Learning (ATL)?
Approaches to Learning (ATL) is one of the Areas of Interaction for the International Baccalaureate program.
Students will develop a variety of skills that help them become better learners. Through the Approaches to Learning
course, students are provided with the tools to enable them to take responsibility for their own learning. Essential to
this is learning how to learn and developing within individuals an awareness of how they learn best. The course
encompasses five International Baccalaureate skill categories which are communication, social, self- management,
research and thinking. It also focuses on the thought processes and key learning strategies that provide the
foundations for successful scholarship through ten skill clusters.


Why does Northwest have this class?
The purpose of ATL is to support student achievement coupled with subject-group objectives. Through the ATL
course, students will develop good intellectual habits; practical problem-solving skills; ethical, creative and lateral
thinking skills; self-awareness; individual strengths and limitations; intercultural awareness; communication skills;
personal and interpersonal skills for school and beyond.

IB AIMS AND OBJECTIVES---
AIMS
The aims of the teaching and application of Approaches to Learning are to encourage and enable the student to apply
a range of Approaches to Learning skills in different learning situations.

OBJECTIVES
At the end of the course students should be able to:
Develop new skills, techniques and strategies for effective learning.
Read critically and for comprehension.
Take effective notes in class.
Select and use technology effectively and productively.
Keep an organized and logical system of information files and notebooks.
Keep and use a weekly planner for assignments.
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Use intercultural understanding to interpret communication.
Use a variety of speaking techniques to communicate with a variety of audiences.
Develop and present opposing arguments effectively.
Make connections between other subjects and disciplines.

COURSE OUTLINE
Overview: Students will read self-selected texts; theme based selections, and participate in novel studies to gain a
better understanding of other perspectives. Students respond to writing prompts and analyze quotations from various
perspectives. Integrated units of study are used in grade seven to promote intercultural awareness. Acceptance and
mutual respect are modeled and expected as students and teachers interact with one another. All of the above are
important as we shape these future global thinkers. Approaches to Learning curriculum is a Mini lessons based
curriculum determined by individual students needs in addition to the clusters that follow. Vocabulary is taught in
context and is reinforced through graphic organizers. Development of writing is accomplished based on Common
Core ELA and Anchor Standards.
Units of study
Organization
Students learn skills related to:
Time management
Self-management (goal setting and organization of learning materials)
Collaboration
Students learn skills related to:
Working in groups
Accepting others
Communication
Students learn skills related to:
Being informed through reading and listening
Informing others through speaking and writing
Information Literacy
Students learn skills related to:
Reading strategies
Research (looking for sources, selecting sources, citing sources)
Reflection
Students learn skills related to:
Awareness of strengths and areas of improvement
Reflecting throughout the learning process
Thinking
Students learn skills related to:
Brainstorming
Applying knowledge and concepts
Creating solutions using critical and creative thinking
Transfer
Students learn skills related to:
Making connections across subject areas

TEACHER SELECTED TEXT
The 7 habits of Highly Effective Teens Sean Covey
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The Giver Lois Lowry
Monster Dean Meyers
The Skin Im in Sharon Flake

REQUIRED MATERIALS
Copy of The 7habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey
3 ring binder
1 subject spiral notebook
loose leaf Notebook paper
1 pack of binder dividers
writing utensils
highlighters
Box of tissue


INTEGRATION OF AREAS OF INTERACTION
Integrated units will be utilized with the purpose of conveying relevance to the curriculum as a whole.
Several ATL assignments will be completed with assistance and understanding of history, science,
technology, math, art, music, and etc.
ATL experience and explore the five areas of interaction:
Approaches to Learning
Students have ownership in their learning and explore how they best acquire new information. Students
work in collaborative pairs which address the social part of the learning process. Students often create their
own graphic organizers for new vocabulary so it can be retained as study guides.
Community and Service
Student will participate in a Service Learning project. Students see the importance of doing for others in a
selfless manner. Students are exposed to reading and writing genres that encourage social responsibility.
Human Ingenuity
Students celebrate the creations of man as they grow as readers, writers, and thinkers. They write to become
better writers and read to become better readers. Students also have a chance to publish and share their
work in the classroom and at various sites on campus. They can also respond to calls for submission from
writing contests. Students will also create a student run business to benefit the community around them.
Environment
ATL fosters the interdependence between the learner and their surroundings. Student work will be displayed
in the classroom to encourage pride in the school learning environment. Students explore other cultures
through their readings and by participating in integrated unit activities, huddles, and assignments.
Health and Social Awareness
Students become aware of social issues during the curriculum studies, integrated units, and independent
reading and research.

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TEACHING METHODS AND STRATEGIES
In ATL students are exposed to a variety of teaching methods to address the learning styles of all students.
Instruction is standards based and student centered. Students work in collaborative pairs, when appropriate,
as learning is social before it is cognitive. Graphic organizers are used whenever possible to give students a
way of connecting new learning with prior information.
Differentiated learning strategies are used during reading and writing instruction. Many times students have
choice and ownership in the curriculum which helps then understand the importance of acquiring an
education.


ASSESSMENT (formative and summative)
Formative and summative assessments are used in ATL. Students are graded on the learning process as well
as the final product it yields.
1. Any assignment not completed by the end of class should be considered homework. (formative and
summative)
2. Daily warm-up activities are recorded as daily grades. (formative)
3. Vocabulary quizzes are given as needed with each unit and recorded as quiz grades. Vocabulary is
cumulative, thus students need to study previous lists prior to each test. (formative and summative)
4. Writing assignments are recorded after final drafts have been submitted. (formative and summative)
5. Students may redo a piece of writing for a better grade at any time during the nine weeks it was
assigned. Students must initiate this assignment and complete it on their own. (formative)
6. Quizzes may be given on the material covered in our mini lessons, daily openers, and reading
selections. (formative)

GRADING SCALE
A 90-100
B 89-80
C 79-70
D 69-60
F 59-below

SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS AND RESOURCES
dictionaries, thesauri
various sites on the World Wide Web
television/VCR/DVD
computer,various software applications (i.e. Word, PowerPoint) , and media center resources
newspapers, magazines
student selected readings
recorded books
subject content texts
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HOMEWORK POLICY
Due to the block schedule, homework is not always given on a daily basis. All homework is graded for
completion and effort and not necessarily accuracy. Furthermore, if work is obviously lacking effort, points
will be deducted. Homework turned in on time receives credit. Students who do not complete homework
assignments will complete a Homework not in form and will receive partial credit.


LATE WORK POLICY
Classwork and homework turned in on time receive full credit and receive only partial credit if turned in
late. Five points per day are deducted for all late assignments. Projects are assigned well in advance and can
only receive full credit if turned in on the assigned date. Because tests and projects are graded for accuracy,
students should ensure promptness to lessen the amount of deducted points.


PROCEDURES USED TO RECORD STUDENT PROGRESS
Students grades are recorded on the districts grading program, Schoolnet. Progress reports are given to all
students every interim period. Parent/teacher conferences also provide information concerning students
grades.

Grading Procedures:
* Homework/Classwork 15%
* Class/Group Participation. 15%
* Minor Assessments (reflection journal, notebooks, quizzes) 30%
* Major Assessments (unit tests, formal writing, unit projects) 40%
MISSED WORK/ MAKE-UP POLICY
Students have five days to make up work after an excused absence. Work not made up in the allotted time
receives a grade of zero. Students are responsible for getting missed assignments by consulting the While
You were Out station in the classroom upon their return to school. In case of an extended absence, work
may be requested through the guidance department.

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CLASS EXPECTATIONS & TEAM RULES

Class Expectations:
Be on time for class.
Complete all assigned work.
Bring assignments and materials to class.
Be respectful of all staff and students.
Obey school rules (see student handbook).

Team Rules :
Be an active participant
Be responsible for your success
Be respectful of the learning process

When any of these expectations are not met and there is an
interruption of the learning or teaching process, the following
steps will be taken:
1
st
Offense Verbal Warning
2
nd
Offense Formal warning / Parent contact
3
rd
Offense Parent Contact/ Counselor Referral
4
th
Offense Parent Contact/ After-school Detention
5
th
Offense Parent Contact/Parent-Teacher Conference
6
th
Offense Administrative Referral
***Serious offenses may result in a students immediate removal from the classroom and an administrative
referral

Some students may have individual Behavior Intervention Plans attached to their IEPs which will indicate
more specific procedures for managing their behavior.
PROCEDURES FOR NON-INSTRUCTIONAL DUTIES
1. Upon dismissal from morning bus holding, students are to secure books and materials for their morning
classes. Breakfast should be eaten before students enter their morning class.
2. Attendance is taken at the beginning of each class while students are doing their daily warm-up activities.
3. Emergency drills will be practiced as deemed necessary by the administration. Procedures for these routines
are discussed with each class.
4. The teacher dismisses class, not the bell. The bell signals that instructional time has come to an end and gives
the teacher permission to dismiss.

Presentation of Rules and Procedures:
During the first two weeks of school, all expectations, consequences, and procedures are discussed with all
classes. Appropriate class procedures will be modeled and practiced as deemed necessary by the teacher. Expectations
and consequences are posted in the classroom. These will also be reviewed as needed.
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COMMUNICATION WITH PARENTS
Parents will be contacted throughout the year and are encouraged to e-mail should a concern arise. Each family will
either receive and/or can request:
1. Copy of team rules, consequences, rewards, and procedures
2. Interim progress reports
3. Nine week report cards
4. Assignment book/sheet signed daily if requested
5. Telephone calls or correspondence concerning student behavior or work that is outstanding or in need of
improvement
6. Standardized testing results
7. Class syllabus
8. Parents can also communicate with the teacher via district e-mail (see CONTACT).

CONTACT
Please feel free to contact me in order to discuss your childs progress in the course. You may call the office at
601-987-3609 and leave a message. I can also be reached via email:

Please refer to Northwests student handbook for additional information.










This certifies that I,
________________________________________________________________________________(student) ,
have received and read the Approaches to Learning course syllabus for the 2014-2015 school year.

Childs
Name____________________________________________________________________________________
___________________
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Childs
Signature__________________________________________________________________________________
_______________



This certifies that I,
__________________________________________________________________________________________
__parent) , have received and read the language arts course syllabus for the 2014-2015 school year.

Parent/Guardian
Name____________________________________________________________________________________
________________

Parent/Guardian
Signature__________________________________________________________________________________
______________