Carl Sandburg Middle School

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Sarah Rafalowitz » Ms. Sarah Rafalowitz

Ms. Sarah Rafalowitz

This year was definitely different, but I want to thank all of my students for their patience and understanding as we grappled with new technology and a new way of learning! I hope that everyone has a great summer, and I hope to see you all in the hallways next year!
Here at Carl Sandburg, we have integrated the English Language Arts and the Social Studies curriculums. Social studies will introduce students to the study of American History from the 1400’s-1865. In English Language Arts, we will cover reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills.
Through our reading this year, we we will learn to actively think about what we read. We will read beyond the text, think critically about the text, and engage in meaningful discussion and strengthen our ability to question, connect, predict, clarify, and evaluate texts.
Our writing focus centers around the Lucy Calkins Writers’ Workshop. Moving through the writing process, students will learn to brainstorm, draft, revise, edit, and publish many different writing samples in a variety of formats. We will actively engage in practice citing textual evidence, explain both sides of an argument, and look at an array of sources, such as newspapers, current event articles, anecdotes, short story literature, poetry, and more.
Integrated with the ELA curriculum, our Social Studies framework begins with the inquiry process and our understanding of the Social Sciences. We will study geography, the lives of early Americans and the founding of the United States that paved the way for today’s society. A large part of our year focuses on the United States Constitution.


Binder with tabs

Independent Reading Book

Colored pencils


Glue stick


Multicolor pens (including black)

Multicolor highlighters


Physical (printed) Assignment Notebook

CHARGED chromebook, case, and charger

Post-It notes


METHOD OF EVALUATION AND GRADING SYSTEM: Each assignment that you complete for this class will be put in the grade book as either a “Practice” grade or an “Achievement” grade.
Practice Grades:
Daily Participation and Preparation
Achievement Grades:
Writing Assignments
What is the Difference Between Practice Grades and Achievement Grades?
For each practice grade, you will receive either a Satisfactory Mark shown as an“S” or a “M” for Missing. In order to receive an “S,” you must complete the assignment and it must be done to the best of your ability. If the assignment is not submitted, or is submitted unsatisfactorily,, you will receive an “M” for that given assignment. You may also receive an “M” if the assignment is incorrect or if your best effort was not applied. For each achievement grade, the grading scale will be as follows:
A  100% - 90% B   89% - 80%  C   79% - 70% D   69% - 60% F   59% & Below
Assessments: Students will be completing various forms of assessments for learning. Students are required to earn at least 70% on each assessment. If the student performs unsatisfactorily, it will be marked as an "M" and they will be required to complete corrections or redo the assignment/ activity.
Parents should sign up for Seesaw, GoogleClassroom, GoogleCalendar, and PowerSchool in order to stay up-to-date with your student’s work and grades!


EFFECTIVE EFFORT: Effective effort is purposeful and targeted. This includes planning, problem-solving, reflecting, and persevering.
What this looks like:
Follow the directions provided
Check the Criteria For Success or the rubric for assessment expectations
Don’t try to “hit the minimum” requirements
Use color and detailed images in any drawings (avoid stick figures and large blank areas)
Plan your time effectively (don’t put work off until the last minute)
Don’t rush through your work in order to “get it done”
Take ownership and pride in your work
Use legible writing and keep your work neat

Technology Usage: Chromebooks are used to advance the learning experience for the twenty-first century student and to provide more opportunities for deeper understanding. These devices are a privilege, and should be handled with care. Treat this equipment responsibly, respectfully, safely and with integrity.
If the devices are being misused, the student may lose the privilege of using them in this class.
About Me:
I received my BA in English from the University of Illinois Springfield and my MA in Education from Dominican University. This is my 8th year teaching at Carl Sandburg Middle School. I also coach Cheerleading.