Letter to Parents/Guardians

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Parents,

Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Tefel Hall, and I am your child's English teacher this year.

This page should answer most of your questions about my class.

The Point System

My class is based on a point system. Students must earn a certain number of points every week, but how they earn those points is largely up to them. This allows them to focus on the lessons they need most.

The following lessons from my introductory unit explain this system in greater detail:

The Belt System

Lessons and assignments are divided into levels, like karate. Every student starts off as a "white belt." At the white belt level, students earn points by doing the 19 lessons of the Introduction.

White
Unit # Unit

Lessons

Completed?

16

Introduction

0–19

 

Yellow Belt

After completing the Introduction, students move on to the yellow belt level. At this level, I put a lot of emphasis on typing. The goal is for students to be able to touch type, however slowly. (Touch typing means typing with all the proper fingers, without glancing down at the keyboard).

Students also spend some time on basic writing skills.

Yellow
Unit # Unit

Goal

Completed?

32

Typing Club

Student can easily do the typing test (Losing Weight), without looking at the keyboard.

4

Basic Writing Skills

Student can easily do the quizzes at this level.


The following lessons explain our goals at the yellow belt level.

How long do students remain at the yellow belt level?

That depends. Some students remain at this level for weeks, even months. Trust me, it's time well spent. Other students stay at this level for less than a day.

To graduate from yellow, there are no formal requirements. All a student has to do is to tell me: "Mr. Hall, I already know how to touch type, and the quizzes at this level are easy for me."

I respond by saying, "Congratulations, you're a blue belt."

Blue Belt

Having graduated from yellow, students move on to lessons at the blue level.

Blue
Unit # Unit

Lessons

Completed?

15

Intermediate Writing Skills

0–2

24

Paragraphs

0–10

17

Journal Writing

0–14

4

Blog (Optional)

0–14

11

Grammar: Level 1

0–6

33

Vocab

0–6

 

Proofreading Test

Email Mr. Hall when you're ready to take this test.

Students at the blue belt level can also earn points by doing:

  • Typing Club
  • Basic Writing Skills

 

Our big goal, at this level, is to get students started on some personal writing assginments (Journal Writing). Also, if a student chooses, he or she can earn points by making a website and posting their work online (Blog).

Green Belt

At the green belt level, students start practicing a greater variety of reading and writing skills.

Green
Unit # Unit

Lessons

Completed?

3a

Basic Reading Skills

0–7

15

Intermediate Writing Skills

3–10

11

Grammar: Level 2

0–18

10

Fascinating Facts

0–17

10

Fascinating Facts

Write at least one letter from a foreign country.

Students at the green belt level can also earn points by:

  • Practicing their typing skills (Typing Club)
  • Working on their basic writing skills (Basic Writing Skills)
  • Studying vocabulary (Vocabulary Lessons 1—47)
  • Writing a blog post (Journal Writing / Blog)

 

Orange Belt

Our big goal at the orange level is to give students a way to earn points by reading short stories and novels.

For students with limited access to books, I will arrange a day that they can come to the school building and pick out some books from my classroom library.

Orange
Unit # Unit

Lessons

Completed?

15

Intermediate Writing Skills

 

20

Narrative Tense and POV

0–16

7

Creative Writing

 

11

Grammar: Level 3

 

29

Short Stories (Reading)

Read the introduction and at least one short story.

13

Independent Reading

 

Students at the orange belt level can also earn points by:

  • Practicing their typing skills. (Typing Club)
  • Working on their basic writing skills. (Basic Writing Skills)
  • Studying vocabulary. (Vocabulary Lessons 1–47)
  • Writing a blog post. (Journal Writing / Blog)
  • Writing a letter home to a friend. (Fasinating Facts)

 

And so on . . .

And on it goes. With each new level, students learn more skills; they also get more options. By the time a student reaches Black Belt, he or she can earn points by completing assignments from any unit on the Main Menu.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

How do I know what my child should be working on?

Start by going to the Belt Levels page of my website.

Then ask your child these questions:

If your child can't answer these questions, please email me and I'll be happy to tell you.

How can my child get their grade up?

Grades are based on points.

Total Points Your Child Has Earned
Total Points That I Have Assigned

This percentage gets translated into a letter grade, in accordance with SFUSD's grading policy:

Greater than 90%

A

80–89%

B

70–79%

C

60–69%

D

Less than 60%

F

Simply put, a student who wants to raise their grade must earn more points. Generally speaking, students earn points by:

The following lessons explain this system in greater detail.

How can I know how many points my child has earned?

Start by checking Synergy. (If you don't know how, ask me!). Under English Language Arts, you'll see only one assignment: It's called "Overall Points".

You can also see how many points I've assigned by going to the Weekly Schedule.

I update grades on Synergy every weekend. Students can also calculate their grades almost up to the minute. If your student doesn't know how, ask me.

Do you use Google Classroom?

No, I rarely use Google Classroom. All lessons are posted on my own website, tefelhall.com.

To submit quizzes and written assignments, students use a website called Quia (pronounced key-ah).

Can I see what these quizzes look like?

Sure! At your request, I can email you your child's username and password. That way you can log in (as your child) and see each quiz for yourself.

You'll also be able to visit your child's Quia Homepage, which includes a list of all the quizzes that your child has completed.

More Questions?

The 19 lessons of the Introduction explain nearly all the policies and procedures of this course. These lessons are like a very detailed syllabus, and I encourage every parent to browse through them.

That said, I realize that you are all very busy, so I don't mind at all if you email me with your particular questions.

I'm looking forward to hearing from you!

It's my pleasure to have your child in my class this year, and I hope to meet all of you soon, in person or on Zoom.

Sincerely,

Tefel Hall
7th Grade English