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Honors Chemistry Syllabus

Honors Chemistry Syllabus
Instructor: Ryan Skidmore
Room: Science 1
Conference: 1st Period

We will be undertaking the study of chemistry! We will be learning a great deal, and I plan to have a great year! Topics we will discuss include:

1st 6 Weeks
Atomic Structure and the Periodic Table 

2nd 6 Weeks
Chemical Bonding
Chemical Formulas
Chemical Equations and Reactions 

3rd 6 Weeks
Mole Concept and Stoichiometry

4th 6 Weeks
Solids, Liquids, Gases
Chemical Equilibrium

5th 6 Weeks
Chemical Kinetics
Acids and Bases
Nuclear Chemistry
Oxidation-Reduction Reactions

6th 6 Weeks
Organic Chemistry

I have tremendously high expectations for all my students and refuse to accept sub-par work, disruptions, or idleness. The standards will be set and remain high all year long. You will be expected to work hard from bell-to-bell each and every day in this classroom. Students should also be prepared to study intensely and frequently for quizzes and tests. This is an Honors class so you can anticipate more difficult assignments, more complex labs, and more rigorous assessments than those found in regular chemistry.  

There are many difficult topics covered in this course. It is not unusual for students to struggle through the content. It takes a great deal of motivation, maturity, diligent study, and dedication to learning to do well. It is extremely important that you never get behind during the year.

I want to provide an enjoyable class for all students and any motivations contrary to this goal will not be tolerated. My professional responsibility is to ensure that all students are able to learn in a safe, focused academic environment. My aim is for all students to master chemistry and be prepared for science study at the collegiate and university level. 

I assure you that I am willing to offer any assistance I can in helping you understand the course content. When you have a question, ask me. When you need extra help, let me know. I am available 20 minutes before and after school; you may also come in during my conference period. It is absolutely critical that you be in class to participate. If you hear the discussion, see the demonstrations, do the work, perform the lab, etc. you will be able to keep up, if you work hard.  

Please come in and take a seat before the tardy bell rings. As soon as you take your seat, please get out your notebook and writing utensil in preparation for taking notes; you will be counted tardy if you don’t have all materials out before the tardy bell - simply being in the classroom isn’t enough to be counted present. If there is a quiz, have out your writing utensil and other materials (e.g. calculator and periodic table). The beginning of class will almost always consist of a 15-20 minute lecture during which time I will introduce new concepts. This is instructional time and students are expected to remain quiet and not interrupt the lecture with chatting or disruptive outbursts. Students engaging in disruptive behavior will receive a warning for the first offence and be removed from the classroom with an office referral for the second.    

The second half of the class period will be given to students to work on problem sets. During this time, collaborative talking will be allowed. Completion of problem sets is crucial in mastering classroom content, and I’m a firm believer in the benefits of positive student collaboration. If you do not take advantage of this time, it will be taken away and problem sets must be completed at home. Personal business should be attended to in between classes. Students will not be allowed to leave the class unless called by the office or another teacher.  

Cell phones should be kept put away at all times. I have a no-tolerance policy for their use in my class; studies have shown that the distraction provided by a cell phone causes students to perform 20% worse on assessments – that’s two whole letter grades! Research has also shown that cell phone use has a negative impact on the learning of other students as a form of distraction. Anytime I see a cell phone (or you staring down at your seat for an inappropriate amount of time) I will make note of it and deduct 5 points from your next assessment. If a cell phone is visible during a test or quiz, that will be considered cheating and result in a grade of zero.

Weekly lesson plans can be found on my teacher web page.

These are posted at the front of the classroom and will be enforced throughout the year. The first violation of a rule will be addressed with a warning; subsequent violations will result in removal from class with an office referral.

When you are absent, it is your responsibility to come see me and get your work made up; I will not be the one to initiate your completion of missed work. You have as much extra time to make up your work as you were absent. For example, if you were absent one day, you have one extra day to make it up. Do not wait until a quiz or test to state that you missed a topic; this will not be accepted as a valid excuse once makeup time has passed. 

If you are absent on a test day, you will take the test the day you come back. If you miss a test review, you will still take the test on the scheduled date. Study guides are available for every test during the year any time a student wants one whether it be a week or a month in advance.  Furthermore, students will always be notified of tests at least one week in advance through both class announcement and on the lesson plans found on the above web page. With advance notice and the constant availability of a study guide, there is no reason to be unprepared to take a test any time after material has been covered in class.     

A wise strategy for classroom success is to obtain a study guide at the start of each new unit and fill it out as we progress toward the next test. Ultimately, test preparation is the responsibility of the student through consistent attendance of lectures, making up missed work, completing problem sets, and completing the study guide.  

Tests (Written or Lab Practical) and Projects = 50%
Daily Grades (Quizzes, Lab Reports, and Worksheets) = 50%

Each six weeks I will drop your lowest daily grade. 

Cheating will not be tolerated. You will receive a zero on the test, etc. and your parents will be notified.  You may not correct a quiz or test you cheated on. All assignments must be turned in before the tardy bell of the due date; late assignments will receive a 20% deduction and will not be accepted 48 hours after the due date.   

I will not return any quizzes or tests. If a student wishes to examine an assessment, they must come in before school, during my conference period, during the activity period, or after school to do so. They will only be available for five days after the original administration.

I do not allow for retesting. Students may come see me before school, during my conference period, during the activity period, or after school to correct a test if they submit a completed study guide before taking the test. Correcting the test consists of identifying where a mistake was made and correctly solving the problem or answering the question with the aid of notes, worksheets, the study guide, etc.; the student may not leave the room with the test and it must be completed independently. Students will receive up to half of their points back for correcting a test in this manner. This must be done within two days after the test.

Because of safety issues, I am extremely particular about students’ knowledge in this area. We will go into detail about proper procedures. These must be followed with great care. A lab safety exam will be administered at the beginning of the year and a score of 80 or better is required to participate in labs. 

Any student not focusing on the laboratory procedure during laboratory exercises (e.g., talking with students in another group, playing on cell phone, etc.) will be removed from the lab and receive a zero; the same goes for any students that are being disruptive or not following proper lab safety procedures. Additionally, a grade can only be assigned to students that participate during labs, thus standing idly for the period will also result in a grade of zero.

All labs will require a proper lab report. Students will be introduced to the proper format the first week of school and will be expected to utilize this format all year long. Typically, the entire group will be graded based on a single member’s lab report due to the cooperative nature of labs, thus it is crucial that all students are careful to properly follow the correct format.   

There will be no opportunities for extra credit; if you have time for extra credit, you had time to work harder on assigned credit. 

You will need a spiral notebook to take notes in and complete lab reports; my official recommendation is a single subject, college ruled spiral notebook with at least 100 sheets. Please dedicate this spiral notebook exclusively to chemistry as you will turn it in occasionally for grading. Additionally, chemistry involves a great deal of math, so you must bring a calculator to class every day. 

Chromebooks  must remain closed in class unless otherwise instructed; you will be notified in advance when they’ll be needed in class. Notes must be taken with pen and paper.

I’m glad you’re here!  I am really looking forward to this year and having you in class!

Ryan Skidmore