Welcome to 9th Grade General Biology. I am excited to have your child as my student this year, their year of high school. Mountain Brook is fortunate that your child’s transition year into the high school curriculum is housed in the familiarity of Mountain Brook Junior High. As an upperclassman, your student will experience more rigorous coursework and higher expectations. We 9th grade teachers and the support staff hope to better prepare your child to become responsible, self-starting, engaged learners by reinforcing classroom learning skills and study habits. Your child will practice and use many learning strategies that will be taught and modeled throughout the year. For general biology students, these strategies include the Biology Interactive Learning Log (BILL). Advanced biology students will journal their thoughts. Other tools can be found in the “Syllabus and Tool Box for Success” handouts your child will receive in class.
So, what can you do to help your child succeed? First, encourage your regular biology student to engage in classwork and interact nightly through BILL reflections. Advanced Biology students should interact with their notes and review materials nightly. My job is to teach students biology, and I will do so using many teaching styles (hands-on manipulative and model building, laboratory investigations, lecture and discussion, reflective writing) in a variety of settings, individual to whole class. I expect my students to be focused on the task at hand and actively engaged in the learning process. Second, reinforce the idea that I expect students to practice what is taught and reflect on their learning. Most homework activities review and strengthen concepts learned in class; some assignments may introduce new concepts and require exploratory thinking for discussion the next day. Your child will need 15 to 30 minutes each evening for biology practice. Remind your child of the strategies in the “Syllabus and Tool Box for Success” handouts:
- have a place and time to study
- know what your task and assignment is
- have all necessary materials and supplies available
- limit distractions and put forth your BEST EFFORT
With these strategies, we can better support your child achieve success in biology!
The MBJH Biology Department includes Mrs. Debbie Stump, Mrs. Marisa Burns, and me. We meet regularly to collaborate on how best to teach and assess each learning target. The biology curriculum is mandated by the state, but we decide the methods for teaching the learning targets and evaluating student mastery. We participate in content specific professional development during the summer break and share new ideas and strategies as we plan lessons, coordinate assignments and labs, and provide common assessments. What is taught is the same across all Biology classes, although each teacher may use different illustrations and examples due to varying personal experiences and interests. You will also find that the State Science Standards focus on the application of information and on problem solving skills, which goes beyond rote memory. You and your child may be unfamiliar with the teaching techniques or tools used to stretch student's minds and skills to meet the state standards. I assure you, the science department will do its best to help your child learn the skills needed to succeed.
I look forward to exploring biology with your child this year. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me by phone or e-mail.
School phone number 871-3516 ext. 1201
School email address firstname.lastname@example.org
Mrs. Mariya Breaux
National Board Certified Teacher
9th Grade Biology Teacher
Mountain Brook Junior High