Course Information

Class Norms:  Our norms are a list of thoughts and actions, agreed upon among members of the classroom, about how we will treat ourselves and one another.

​In general, students can do as they like in this class, provided it doesn’t affect their learning or the learning of others in the class.  We work quite hard to fulfill all the course requirements, so it is important for students to remain attentive in class at all times. I trust that students will be responsible for their learning and will not engage in any activity that will take away from their own learning or from a classmate’s ability to learn.  

During lab time, you must always follow the rules for lab safety.

Preparation for Class: The items are sample items, not necessarily required brands or styles. Needed Daily (although not necessarily used daily):
  • Pencil and eraser    
  • Loose-leaf paper     
  • Colored highlighters
  • glue stick
  • Lab composition notebook with sewn binding
  • Sticky labels
  • Colored pencils

Needed for Notebook Check by end of each Quarter:

  • A 2″ 3-ring binder dedicated solely to Biology
  • 5 tabbed binder dividers

Attendance: Regular attendance is very important for success in biology.  The attendance policy corresponds with the school-wide policy. Most of the labs, presentations, videos and other assignments are difficult, if not impossible, to completely make up.

Missed Class Make Up: If a student misses an assignment due to an absence, it is their responsibility to seek and schedule a make-up.  Much of the work we do in class is linked on Google classroom.  Upon your return to class pick up any assignments or handouts you missed.  If you missed a lab due  to an excused absence, it is YOUR responsibility to schedule a lab make up session within two weeks of your absence.  Missed labs may require actual lab make-up or completion of an alternative assignment.

Late Work:  Late work is accepted without penalty for excused absences.  It is the students responsibility to check if he/she missed any checks for completion (i.e. stamped work).  Completion stamps will not be given for unexcused absences.  Time sensitive items may not be accepted late.  In general, complete your work on time.  If you need extra time,  please speak with Mrs. Alvernaz in advance about your need for an extension and your plan for completion.  

Extra Help Opportunities:

  • There are weekly study group sessions for Biology scheduled for every Tuesday after school.  Mrs. Alvernaz will be available on those days for lab make up and extra help.  
  • There are weekly study group sessions for Biology MCAS in the Spring.  These sessions are focused on Biology MCAS preparation and practice with released questions and testing strategies.
  • Mrs. Alvernaz holds afternoon review sessions prior to major tests so that people with after school commitments can attend.

Group Work: We will frequently work in pairs and teams, particularly in the laboratory.  Sometimes I will allow you to choose your own partner, at other times I will assign students to work together.  I expect you to accept these assignments without complaint/whining.  Although we will do lab work in teams, each student will write up his/her own lab report.  During group work, answers and solutions may be freely shared, but all members are expected to contribute.  Simply copying answers from another lab report, homework, etc. without having helped to produce the product is plagiarism and will be treated as such.

Leaving Class:  One person may leave the classroom at a time.  You should not leave the classroom during direct instruction (i.e. lecture or giving directions).  Before you leave the classroom you must fill out the sign-out sheet.  If you have a cell phone, it must be left in the classroom. To sign out, legibly sign your name, list the time you are leaving class, and where you are going.  When you return to class, mark the time you returned to class.  Although there is no set limit to the number of times you may leave the classroom, if you choose to abuse this privilege you should expect disciplinary action.

Electronics Use:  Listening to music is not permitted during direct instruction, group work, or lab experiments.  Occasionally, you may listen to music during individual work time.  We utilize iPads/Chromebooks in class.  Please be mindful of appropriate use of technology while in a classroom. CELL PHONES are not permitted in class.

Cheating:  Cheating will not be tolerated and is clearly a violation of course and school policy.  The following acts of cheating are examples of behavior that will result in disciplinary actions as outlined in the student handbook.
  • Passing calculators during a test, quiz, or other assessment
  • Copying someone else’s test, quiz, assignment, or report
  • Letting someone copy from a test, quiz, homework, assignment, or report
  • Looking at notes or a phone during a test, quiz, or other assessment
  • Sharing questions from a test with students who have yet to take the test
  • Listing someone else’s data without giving credit, or worse,
    making up data to fit the expected answer.  It is acceptable to present your own data, to state the reasons that you feel the results should be disregarded, and then to present another student’s data (making sure the source is acknowledged)
  • Using opinions, facts, ideas, charts, data and direct quotes from research papers, newspapers, magazines, textbooks, websites, or another person without citing the source.  If plagiarism is suspected, you will be asked to complete an additional “how to recognize and prevent plagiarism” assignment.


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