NAME: Mr. Sylvester

SCHOOL: Duxbury Middle School

CLASS: 7th Grade Life Science

SCHOOL PHONE: 781-934-7640 ext. 405

About The Teacher

I am in my Thirteenth year of teaching science in Duxbury.  I am an avid runner,
cyclist, fisherman, surfer, snowboarder and teach 7th grade Life
Science.  A graduate of Ithaca College in
2002, I studied environmental science and have done research in both the US
and Canada, pertaining to birds, insects and fish.  I hold a masters degree in
the field of Science Education.

Mission For The Class


Dear Student and Parent(s),
	Welcome to the 2015-2016 academic year of Integrated Life Science in 
Seventh Grade at Duxbury Middle School.  This letter will explain our 
course, basic requirements, methods of evaluation, and safety 

Our course is a study of biology with an environmental-ecological 
approach.  This will be accomplished through an active lab-oriented 
program of investigative learning.  We will begin by defining life and by 
applying life functions as they pertain to us and other species on earth. 

As the year progresses the other sciences are integrated into the 
curriculum as they relate to this theme.  This allows the curriculum to 
remain current with the State of Massachusetts Curriculum 
Frameworks.  In the spring, we will culminate our life science venture 
with a comprehensive look at Duxbury's ecosystems.  Our textbook, 
 will be our major resource and readings 
should be done when assigned.  The readings are an excellent 
appendix to the activities, concepts and student notebook work 
attained in class.

	The Seventh Grade Science Program is unleveled.  The program utilizes
cooperative learning 
strategies that are highly regarded in the teaching field today.  Students 
are evaluated as individuals within this program not only on what they 
contribute to the class but on how they perform and develop individually 
during the academic year.

Through various teaching strategies in an activity-based program, 
students may perform very well and achieve high grades for their 
individual performance that will indicate their own success, but may not 
necessarily indicate that they are achieving at the same level of 
excellence as another student.

	Our requirements include the following:
1. 	Each student is expected to have a 3-ringed notebook for class.  
Almost without exception there will be a daily entry made into this 
notebook.  Labs, notes, data, and activity sheets are examples.  By 
checking and discussing this notebook together, you may monitor the 
progress of your child.  A well-kept notebook ensures two things:  that 
the work is completed and that your child has a corrected, accurate 
record of academics from which to build knowledge and concepts.
2. 	Each student is expected to have a pencil or tool of writing at the 
beginning of class.  Drawings are often required; colored pencils may 
prove useful.
3. 	Each student is expected to be prepared to work at the beginning of 
each class.  This eliminates repetition and provides for more time in 
laboratory activities.
4. 	Each student is expected to be honest.  I care and want to know what 
you are thinking!  Use your senses and skills to perceive, not  
necessarily your neighbors.  If you are cheating, you will receive a zero 
for the quiz, test, or activity with no chance for make-up.
5. 	Each student is expected to respect the instructor and your fellow 
classmates.  You do not have the right to disturb your classmates 
opportunities to be educated.  

	Evaluation of student performance is based upon the following:
1. 	Homework - Homework is checked at the beginning of each class.  It 
is checked for thoroughness, not correctness.  It is discussed and 
corrected as an introduction to the days activity/lab.  Therefore 
homework cannot be made up for credit.  It is essential that you come 
completely prepared for class.
2. 	Class work and Lab work - A positive active participation in all 
activities will be subjectively evaluated.  It is of utmost importance that 
you take the initiative in this course.  If you are to learn in a lab-
oriented class, you must experience it or you will miss a majority of the 
intended goals.
3. 	Written Lab Reports - Formal reports of lab experiments will be 
objectively evaluated.
4. 	Science Notebook - A well organized document of each terms work 
will be reviewed periodically for all papers, table of contents, and 
numbered pages.  At this time grades earned on activities will be 
recorded and progress report updates will be issued.  Organization is 
an invaluable life tool emphasized at this grade level.
5. 	Quizzes and tests - Periodic assimilation of material and concepts 
will be evaluated.
6. 	Lab Practicals - Testing of your ability to actually perform certain 
lab skills will be scored.

	You can expect me to be clear in my presentation of material.  If you 
do not understand, it is your responsibility to ask for clarification.  Daily 
course itinerary and homework assignments are written on the 
whiteboards for reference.  Extra help is available daily Monday through 
Thursday unless teacher meetings are scheduled.

	Safety is a primary concern in any laboratory situation.  I want each 
student to be able to be given the opportunity to participate in hands-on 
science investigations.  The basic safety rule is to use common sense 
and good judgment at all times.  Students who violate safety regulations 
will be given non-experimental assignments and office referral.  The 
common safety of all students is my highest priority while working in the 

	I hope to make this class one of the most memorable learning 
experiences in the Middle School.  To do this, I need your help and 
cooperation.  The world of science will be an exciting one if you give it a 
chance.  Please feel free to contact me at any time if you have questions 
or concerns.