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Mr. Falstrom's Webpage


134 Woodcliff Ave.
Woodcliff Lake, NJ 07677

Tel: (201) 930-5600 ext. 340




E.L.A. 7 Basic Guidelines, Mr. Falstrom


An E.L.A. Unit Typically looks like this:

-Classwork (25-50 points)

-Assessments (50-100 points)

-Writing and Projects (100-200 points)


Because of this, I will not post grades until we’ve completed the first full unit of any trimester, so that you and your parents both get a clear picture of where you are academically. If you have bad assessments in the period prior to my posting your first unit grades, I’ll reach out to your parents directly via email.


Basic Expectations:

-Come to class ready to learn. This means your Chromebook is charged, you’re very close to being on time, and if you’re a minute or two late, you’re coming in quietly and apologetically, like a Canadian Ninja, not loud, disruptive, and self-absorbed like a dramatic water buffalo.

Don’t be late like this guy here...


-Engage in your education. This process is meant to involve you. Raise your hand during class discussions. Contribute to group work. Volunteer to read aloud. Make steady progress on long-term projects. Offer your classmates helpful, specific feedback. You’d be surprised how fast the day goes and how rewarding it feels when you try.


-Let go of perfectionism. 100 is a fantasy. It rarely occurs in the upper grades. If you’ve caught a case of toxic perfectionism, time to let it go. If you’re struggling and you improve, celebrate that while keeping it going. 88 is not an F. It’s very close to an A. You did not “fail” if you earned slightly less than you wanted.


-Work a little harder. This doesn’t mean “don’t have a life”. In fact, work hard during the day so you can have most of your weeknights and weekends to be a kid. I don’t give homework often and you can complete most long-term projects in class, so 15-30 minutes of focused study or editing prior to an assessment or deadline should be all you need.



Behavior issues or chronic unpreparedness can result in points off assessments or detention after school. My detentions are mind-numbingly dull because you aren’t supposed to want to come back. Before any of this though, I will always talk to you in a civil way. And if you mess something up, do your time, and apologize for what you did wrong, you will always be welcomed back into polite society once you’ve taken ownership of your choices and made a genuine effort to do better.


Lateness on major deadlines means losing 10-25% depending on the nature of the project or writing piece after one day. I will make one attempt to get you to turn in late work yourself. If I have to contact your parents to get you to turn something in, you max out at -5% of whatever the lowest-performing student who was on time earned. On the other hand, I will always give credit to those who fully attempt to make up work, right up until I have to turn in my grades at the end of the year. Anything is better than no attempt at all.


Seeking Extensions for Deadlines:

If you’re ever falling behind due to unforeseen circumstances, please ask your parents to share that with a quick email message. These are uncertain times and if something is preventing you from making a deadline, your teachers can sometimes offer an extension in order to help. Keep in mind though, at some point, you’ll have to catch up, and it isn’t easy.


Absences (and how to handle them correctly):

When you aren’t here, for any reason, class continues. It’s reasonable to expect your first day back will involve some catching up on your part. Please do not ask “what did I miss?” at the start of class when you return, because this would involve me trying to quickly teach a whole block period to you while everyone else, who was here, waits. Instead, try your best to keep up, and expect to stay after school the next few days to catch up with your teachers. Expect to have to get notes from friends, or from your teachers. Expect it not to be simple or quick. Catching up usually takes a day or two after one absence, especially in E.L.A., where you miss a full block period every day you’re out.

Hi! I'm obviously a teacher, but I also run a summer camp, and I have a fantasy novel I'm shopping around to literary agents. We do a lot of reading, writing, and speaking in E.L.A., and my standards are high, but if you come in ready to work we have plenty of fun while we learn. Oodles even.