Welcome to AP Biology!
Welcome to my classroom! This will be my first year teaching AP Biology at Carnegie Vanguard High School. I hold a Bachelor of Science from Tarleton State University with a degree in Animal Science and a Biology minor. I will work hard to foster the life skills of asking questions, critical thinking, never giving up, and academic independence as we master content.
Course Description and Format (from College Board):
The AP Biology course outlined in this framework embraces this challenge by deemphasizing a traditional “content coverage” model of instruction in favor of one that focuses on enduring, conceptual understandings and the content that supports them. This approach enables students to spend less time on factual recall and more time on inquiry-based learning of essential concepts, helping them develop the reasoning skills necessary to engage in the science practices used throughout their study of AP Biology
BIG IDEA 1: EVOLUTION (EVO)
The process of evolution drives the diversity and unity of life.
BIG IDEA 3: INFORMATION STORAGE AND TRANSMISSION (IST)
Living systems store, retrieve, transmit, and respond to information essential to life processes.
BIG IDEA 2: ENERGETICS (ENE)
Biological systems use energy and molecular building blocks to grow, reproduce, and maintain dynamic homeostasis.
BIG IDEA 4: SYSTEMS INTERACTIONS (SYI)
Biological systems interact, and these systems and their interactions exhibit complex properties.
Science Practice 1: Concept Explanation Explain biological concepts, processes, and models presented in written format. Science Practice 2: Visual Representations Analyze visual representations of biological concepts and processes. Science Practice 3: Questions and Methods Determine scientific questions and methods. Science Practice 4: Representing and Describing Data Represent and describe data. Science Practice 5: Statistical Tests and Data Analysis Perform statistical tests and mathematical calculations to analyze and interpret data. Science Practice 6: Argumentation Develop and justify scientific arguments using evidence.
The AP® Exam:
The AP Biology exam is scheduled on the morning of May 14th. The exam is three hours long - 90 minutes to answer 60 multiple-choice questions and another 90 minutes to answer six free-response questions (2 long and 4 short). Each section is weighted equally (50% for MC, 50% for FRQ). A four-function, scientific, or graphing calculator is allowed on both sections of the exam. Students are permitted to use the AP Biology Equations and Formulas Sheet on the exam.
Textbook and Other Resources:
- OpenStax AP Biology online textbook (details will be given in class, on HUB, and in OneNote)
- AP Classroom (details will be given in class, on HUB, and in OneNote)
- A binder or notebook for Biology
- Your HISD laptop, fully charged
- Writing materials (pencils and pens)
Notebooks: Notebooks are an important tool for organizing information and your thoughts. Notebooks may be graded at least once during the nine weeks period, and there may be several spot checks. Your notebook will be organized using the provided instructions.
****** This year we will be using OneNote as our digital notebook. *******
60% Major Assignments – Unit exams, Quizzes, Labs, Projects
40% Minor Assignments – Minor Labs, Demos, Homework, in-class work and all other uncategorized items
**All assignments and grades are cumulative
Tests are patterned after the AP Biology exam and are thus a mix of multiple-choice and free-response questions.
Labs related to the topic will be completed throughout the year. You will be required to write a pre-lab report prior to doing a lab. Once the lab is done, you will have one week to submit the rest of the report. Not all labs will require a formal lab report and you will be told when one is required.
Projects are long-term assignments and include presentations to the class as part of the grade. These are mostly done outside of the class period.
Quizzes typically follow reading assignments. Lectures may not come until after the quiz.
All Others include classwork, homework, participation, and other similar short-term assignments.
It is vital that you follow instructions for submitting homework and class work. Houston ISD emphasizes not only the TEKS but also the Texas College and Career Readiness Standards (TCCRS). These standards are based on cognitive skills that will increase students’ college preparedness.
Classroom Culture and Procedures for online instruction:
- Be on time and on task. On time is defined as logged into the Teams class session before the start time. Cell phones should be put away.
- Always ask if something is not clear.
- Mute yourself unless you are about to speak.
- If you need to speak raise your “hand”.
- Leave comments or questions in the chat if you don’t want to speak. I will periodically circle back to the chat to take a look.
- New rules and expectations are going to evolve for both teachers and students. Let’s conduct ourselves assuming the other person is trying their best.
- Be respectful. Be appropriate. Be kind. Be present. You never know who is recording/watching…
- We will be using the HUB every class period as our starting point for attendance and assignments but primarily working through OneNote.
- Not everything we do will be for a grade. Some things are just to help you improve in biology.
Classroom Culture for in-person instruction:
- Be courteous to others.
- Be prepared with all needed supplies and work.
- Be on time and on task. On time is defined as seated at your desk before the tardy bell rings. (You will be counted tardy if not seated by the bell.). Cell phones placed in assigned pocket on the wall.
- Always ask if something is not clear.
- Leave the room the way you found it (Leave No Trace).
Procedures for in-person instruction:
- Come into class quietly, place your cell phone in your assigned pocket on the wall, sit in your seat before the tardy bell rings, and prepare for class. Tardiness is not acceptable and you will be counted tardy if you are not in your seat before the bell rings.
- You may not eat or drink anything but water during class without my permission.
- You may use a pencil or pen for your notes section, but all work that is to be turned in must be done in standard blue or black pen. Please try to write neatly and legibly. Work that cannot be read cannot be graded and will be returned as incomplete.
- All major projects are due by 8:30 am of the due date. You will be told in advance which projects are due at the beginning of the day. If your bus is late, please bring the project to me then proceed to 1st
- Talking or distracting other students, intentionally or unintentionally, during a test or quiz is not tolerated. You are now in high school and should conduct yourself as such. Disrupting a test or quiz will be considered a violation of academic integrity and will be reported.
- All proper PPE should be worn, and safety precautions should always be followed.
Consequences: Any/all of steps 1-4 may be skipped; dependent on the severity of the incident.
1) Verbal warning.
2) Personal conference with teacher.
3) Lunch detention and parent(s) are contacted. (lunch detention applied only during in-person instruction)
4) Parent/teacher/student conference.
5) Referral to Administration.
Headings: All papers turned in must include the following information:
Full Name (first AND last name without initials or abbreviations)
Class and Period (example: APBio P4)
Date of submission
Assignment Calendar: A cycle calendar will be posted in the course OneNote and taped on the class whiteboard. This calendar will have all assignments, projects, daily objectives, quizzes, and tests for the cycle clearly outlined. This calendar is subject to adjustment based on student progress or unforeseen events. You should regularly check this calendar for any changes!
Labs: When you are involved in a lab, you MUST act accordingly. Participating in lab is a privilege, one that can be taken away if the proper procedures are not followed. If you do not follow the rules of the lab then you will not be allowed to participate and will receive a zero for that lab as well as a zero for your lab skills grade. In order to participate in lab you must make at least an 80% on the safety test and turn in a signed safety contract.
Absences: You are expected to attend class every day. If you are absent, it is your responsibility to promptly gather the assignments that you missed. I will not remind you of missed assignments, you must take the initiative to find out what you missed. If you miss a quiz or test YOU must schedule a make-up, but keep in mind that the format of the retest is at the teacher’s discretion. It is your responsibility to reschedule your missed quiz or test in a timely manner. Any assignments not made up from an absence will result in a zero. Please do not disturb the teacher during class to get missed assignments, wait for a quiet time or come by outside of class time.
Late Work/Missing Assignments: All assignments are due ON TIME. Late work will be accepted up to two days late and no later. An academic grade on late work is up to a 70% for two day late and 0% thereafter. If you are on campus the day an assignment is due, you are required to turn it in, even if you miss your biology period. If at all possible, notify your instructor of unforeseen circumstances.
Tutorials: I am available to help you better understand information in a small group or individually. Tutoring is available by appointment at lunch and during SSEP. The National Honor Society also offers peer tutoring. If you are having difficulty in this class ask for help early!
Extra Credit: I do not offer extra credit.
Cell Phones: Cell phones are not permitted for use in class unless directed by the teacher. All cell phones will be placed in the provided cell phone pocket chart hanging at the front of the classroom before class starts and will be “parked” there until class is over. Students caught with a cell phone will have their phone taken up and given to the Assistant Principal. A parent must then come to pick up the phone and will be charged $15 for recovery.
Assignment Resubmission: Resubmissions are permitted at my discretion. Any assignments allowed resubmission will provide students an opportunity to recover half of the credit lost. The following are general guidelines for resubmissions and are subject to additional requirements:
- Original assignment must have been turned in on time.
- You must show all work and explain how you came to the new answer/conclusion.
Retakes: The policy for my class is outlined below. Please review it carefully.
- Maximum of 2 retakes per grading cycle
- Maximum retake score is 70 (score of 70 to 100 = 70); highest grade between original/retake counted
- The student, not the parent, must request the retake through my school webpage.
- Student must request the retake within 24 hours of the grade posting on Gradespeed and complete the retake within one week of grade posted.
- Retakes are for tests only. A reading quiz is an extension of homework and not eligible.
- Student must fill out an online retake form posted in the HUB.
- Retakes will be held at the beginning of lunch on the Thursday following the date of the completed retake request. If you have multiple retakes on the same day, it is your responsibility to reschedule in advance.
- “No show” counts as a taken retake. You will be considered a “no show” if you arrive 15 minutes or later from the start of lunch.
- Final Exams are not eligible
- Missing assignments fall under my late policy not the retake policy.
Academic Integrity: Cheating, copying, and plagiarizing will not be tolerated at CVHS. Any student displaying academic dishonesty will be reported and referred to the Assistant Principal. The student will receive grade of “0” on the assignment and there will not be an opportunity to make up the assignment. This includes exams and quizzes. Any disruptions, intentional or unintentional, during a test or quiz will be perceived as a violation of academic integrity in the classroom and will be reported.
Studying for classes involves more than just "cramming the night before a test." The following are suggestions to improve your grade in biology:
- Write all assignment due dates in your planner.
- Read over your notes soon after you have written them.
- Review the vocabulary list as you go.
- Do all warm-ups, homework, worksheets, study questions, and watch all provided AP videos, etc.
- Keep your handouts, lecture summaries, and study questions organized in your composition notebook.
- Always read assigned material and make a graphic organizer to help you summarize main ideas.
- Participate in class.
- Study frequently and in small doses.
- Set up a study group and study with friends.
- If you are having trouble with the material, get help early. Do not wait until the end of the grading period and/or test day!!!