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Journals are graded twice a quarter, right before progress reports, and the last week of the quarter. Here’s an explanation of what you’ll find in a science journal and how many points it’s worth:

1. Agenda: (3 points every day) Students copy the agenda at the start of class. It is separated into 3 parts; you, group and teacher. All in-class and homework assignments are listed on the agenda. It is a record of what we accomplish each day.

2. Notes: (5-10 points each) Students record information they learn in class. At the start of the year, taking notes means copying from the overhead or board. As we progress through the year, students are given notes with portions missing which they must fill in. Towards the end of the year, students may be given an outline, or part of an outline; they need to fill in the rest. Tests are open-note, so good clear notes are a must!

3. Experiments: (5-10 points each) Students use their journals to record information from experiments. This may include a diagram, chart, hypothesis, question, a list of variables, the procedure and conclusions. Charts must be drawn using a ruler and have their own titles, clearly detailing what information is contained in the chart.

4. Reflections: (5 points each) Every Friday, students have a homework assignment in their journals called reflections. They are given a prompt and told to write a minimum of 2 paragraphs, filling at least 1 page. Before writing, it’s important to organize the information in a pre-write. The topic of each paragraph should be decided before starting to write, as well as which details should be included. This information is given as part of the assignment at the start of the year. Gradually, students are given more responsibility for this step.

5. Grade Sheet: (5 points 1st quarter only) On the very last page, students should have a list of all the assignments for that quarter, showing how many points they received, how many were possible, and calculating their percent and letter grade.

 Other Good Things to Know:

  • Every page should have a heading at the top.
  • Students can choose whether or not they write on the back sides of pages.
  • Pencil, or regular blue or black ink only (unless color is a part of the notes)
  • No loose leaf papers will be graded
  • Students may not staple, tape or glue loose-leaf into the journal.  (exception:  students can type reflections on the computer and then attach it to a page)
  • Every agenda and assignment gets its own page.