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Welcome to Richard Vohlken's web page

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Welcome to Jefferson! My name is Richard Vohlken and I will be one of your child’s teachers this year. I have been privileged to work for Holland Public Schools for many years. My educational background includes a Bachelor of Science degree from Grand Valley State University.

I believe all students have the ability to meet the expectations of my classes. Being on time and prepared with daily supplies such as a pencil, planner, and folder will ensure a strong start. The planner will assist your child in organizing daily/weekly information. It is given to students at the start of every school year and is required to be with your child at all times.

Students will be held accountable for their choices. If a student does not meet classroom behavior expectations, the consequence will range from two minutes taken from their five minute passing time, or a lunch detention depending on the type of inappropriate behavior.

Please encourage your child to ask questions if they are confused about anything before the day an assignment is due. If an emergency causes your child to miss a deadline, please leave a message on my voice mail or send a note before or on the date the work is due.

If you have any other questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me by sending a note with your child by phoning 494-2513, or e-mailing me at

In my Communication Arts class students will explore and develop their abilities in the areas of reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing. The students will analyze folk tales, fantasy, adventure, action genres, poetry, research reports, how-to articles, and essays within four main themes. Those themes, which last for one marking period each, are “Belonging,” “Challenges,” “Determination,” and “Quests.” The students will develop as writers through personal narrative, adventure, folk tales, fantasy, persuasive, and comparative essays. They will consider differences in audience and purpose as they grow in ability to evaluate and synthesize what they read, hear, and view.

The students will take a SRI reading test each marking period. This will be an indicator of his or her reading ability. The Jefferson media center has put together a packet of book titles that are in your child’s reading range. The titles cover a wide range of genres. This program is called Reading Counts. The students are expected to read five nights a week for at least 20 minutes from a book on their list. After completing a book from their list, the students take a 10 – 20 question comprehension test on the computer. If used correctly by the student, your child will see increased growth in their reading level. The students are expected to pass three Reading Counts tests each marking period.

There is also a reading log for the students to complete every night they read. The reading logs are to be handed in every Monday. The consistent and guaranteed homework each week will be the reading of their Reading Counts book. A student may always improve or redo an assignment that received an unsatisfactory grade as long as it is redone before the end of the marking period. The grading percentages are 33% for Reading Counts, 33% for writings, and 34%
for daily papers.

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