English Language Arts

Speaking, reading, and using our language are not only some of the most useful skills a person can gain, but they are also some of the most important and significant ways in which we express ourselves.  Our English classes endevor to blend all components of English Language Arts and offer guidance and support to our students until they master them.


Every grade level must write and speak in formal, grammatical English at all times.  Grammar, punctuaction, capitalization, usage, and format remain a staple of Prairie's Language Arts Writing curriculum.  Students write at various lengths from 1 paragraph to multiple pages in response to a prompt, in response to literature, independently, and creatively. 


High school students also read in Language Arts.  At all grade levels, they practice reading comprehension strategies including but not limited to: predicting, infering, determining, analyzing, paraphrasing, summarizing, and concluding as well as practice reading fluently and silently


              Grading Scale: Grades turn on the 1%, so an A must be a 91% or higher.  In general, many assignments will be graded on a 10 point scale.  A full 10 means the assignment is perfect!  9 means it is well above average, 8 is average, 7 is below average, and a 6 is considered failing, but very close to acceptable.  Do not be surprised by a 6 or any score lower than you expect.  I will NOT give completion grades, and just completing an assignment does not constitute an A.  Finally, anything at 5 or below means less than half or more of the content is incorrect or incomplete.   Classes may have the option of setting their own weighting in areas including but not limited to: homework/class work/daily assignments, essays and writings, tests and quizzes, and participation/behavior.  Please take some time during the first week to discuss this and come to a consensus.  Also remember, that weights do not necessarily need to be used.

                Extra Credit: Extra credit assignments will not be given.  Students should be aware of their grades throughout the semester and seek extra help early on if they are not satisfied.  However, there are plenty of times an assignment will exceed grade standards, and I will give an 11/10 and usually ask to keep a copy to show as an example in the future.

                Policy and Rules: There are really only a few issues to formally address.  In the past, I've modified the school policy of half credit on late assignments because this is difficult to record.  I post grades each week and work on a weekly schedule instead of daily.  If an assignment is not in on Wednesday afternoon when I post, it can only receive half credit if it is turned in during the next week.  By the next Wednesday, if the assignment is not in, it will be classified as Missing and count as a 0.  This works well until abused, and I reserve the right to tell a student an exact due date with no exceptions.  While the weekly policy has worked well thus far, it is a modification to the Prairie rule, and in the event that there is discrepancy or trouble with this in-class policy, the grade and issue will immediately convert to the school policy.  The other main issue in our classroom deals with electronics.  Please turn phones off at the beginning of the day.  You may turn them on if I request you to do so.  In addition to phones, please turn ipods off and take ear phones out of your ears unless you are in study hall.   Any evidence of live electronics other than an electronic dictionary will be taken immediately and can be retrieved in Mr. Kimmel's office at the end of the day.

                Discipline:  Don't make me discipline you, and then we don't have to worry about it!  Generally, I trust students to make good decisions, but when they are not made, I still treat students as young adults.  For disruptions, one or two verbal warnings are issued as discretely as possible with a request to move seats or relinquish a disruptive item.  For further offences, I ask the student to leave the room, so others can continue learning.  I will speak with the studnet about the offence and discuss a proper punishment.  For more severe issues, students will be sent to administration. 

Lying/Cheating: Assignments will be recorded appropriately and weigh as a 0.  Phone calls home will depend on the severity of the infraction.

PlagiarismThis will NOT be accepted.  This suggests that you are either too lazy or too stupid to do the assignment yourself, and you do not deserve credit.  If I find so much as one sentence that doesn't sound like your writing, I will fail the entire assignment.  Depending on the assignment and the student's motivation, there could be another option to complete an alternative partial credit assignment, but the "Cheated=0" will show on the grade book for the remainder of the semester. 





Contact Information:

Please feel free to contact me at the school until 4 p.m.  (970) 437-5351


Also, parents or students can email me anytime at with questions about grades or assignments, or even to send homework via email.  I can often times more easily reply to email than I can a phone call.


Finally, students and I are trying out the online storage site, Dropbox, for essay prompts and submissions as well as access to any digital handouts or notes.


NEW THIS YEAR!   Please contact me by email to request an invitation to join the folder and view our WEEKLY SYLLABUS.  I update this folder with a tentative agenda each week with the UPCOMING week's work.  Students can access this anytime they have internet access to see what they will miss when they are absent.