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Rob Oliphant

Sr. Oliphant


My name is Sr. Oliphant and I am a very interesting person.  I love to travel and to speak Spanish.  I try to influence all of my students to travel and speak Spanish because I think it is the best way to learn.  I learned Spanish when I drove through Central America and bussed through South America and through study at the university.  I have a degree in Spanish Literature and Latin American Studies from UCSD.   I also studied at the University of Chile, the University of Costa Rica, and worked on an field research project in Mexico.  I am currently working on a Masters in Education at CSUSM.  I have an amazing wife and I surf often.



Sr. Oliphant’s Spanish Class Handbook


Welcome new and returning students and parents to the Spanish program at Tesoro High School.  I am very excited to return to the classroom after a long and well deserved summer break.  I strive to create an interesting and effective learning environment in which all students can be successful.  I teach Spanish using all of the recourses that are available to me and with a great deal of enthusiasm.  Students who are new to learning another language will find this experience to be different than what they are accustomed too.  In my Spanish classes we work hard and take advantage of every moment of every class meeting. Most students need to approach language learning with different study skills than they use in typical core classes.  Learning another language can be a very rewarding experience and I believe that every student is capable of success in my class.  I will put forward a maximum effort to teach every student in my class, and I hope to have the maximum effort of my students and support of their parents.  I have a great time teaching Spanish and try to create an interesting and effect environment for my students.  I hope that I we can all work together and have a successful year of growth.


Spanish I is a course which provides the foundation for learning the language soundly and proficiently.  Students in Spanish I need to strive for mastery of the material that is presented in class in that it will be the foundation of their success in levels that increase in difficulty as they move along.  Special attention should be put to learning the vocabulary presented in Spanish I as it will be required for success at every other level.  In Spanish I students will learn basic communication skill to communicate in the present tense and to begin go communicate in the future and past tense.


Students in Spanish II need to be especially diligent in their studies.  Spanish II presents a great deal of language that will allow students to communicate in almost any situation.  In Spanish II we review present tense communication, and then focus the year on learning how to manipulate the language with reflexive verbs and the preterit and imperfect tenses.  Vocabulary and grammar study are critical to success at this level.  This course is challenging and will require a great deal of study and individual effort by each student.  I will provide every means possible to facilitate students’ acquisition of the core concepts and vocabulary provided at this level.


This handbook is designed to outline the classroom protocols and policies which will affect the success of every student.  It is designed to prepare students and parents for what to expect in the class and in the assessment of student work.  Please review the following policies and refer to this handbook first when there is a question or concern relating to class policies.


Attendance in Spanish class is absolutely crucial.  Learning language requires extensive interaction in the target language.  Students who are in class get the benefit of hearing the language, as well as explanations of the required material.  Students who miss class should attend the next tutorial and do what they can to make up for the time missed in class. 

Missed class work: Students can make up class work at home or in tutorial and if there is something that is not feasible to make up, they can complete an alternative assignment.

Missed tests and quizzes: Students who miss a test or quiz are responsible for making up the assessment in tutorial within one week of their absence unless they make other arrangements with me in advance.  When tutorials are cut the student will have three tutorials from their absence to make up the assessment. 

Classes missed for sports: When students are scheduled to miss class because of sports, they should try to attend tutorial that day.  If a student is scheduled to miss an assessment they are responsible for the assessment in the tutorial of the test day (or next tutorial if there is no tutorial on the test day) unless they previously arrange another time with me.

Academic integrity:  Students must always maintain their integrity in class, and follow Tesoro High School’s academic integrity policy.  Students who make the mistake of cheating or copying in class will face consequences.  Any student found copying work will sacrifice credit for the assignment for themselves and the person they are copying.  Students will also need to notify their parents that they were caught copying.  Copying material for another class will result in the confiscation of the material and the course instructor will be notified.  I will uphold Tesoro’s academic integrity plan at all times.

Grading Policy:  The Tesoro World Languages department works under the same grading policy.  Students in the same level of Spanish take the same tests and are graded on the same scale to ensure fairness between different sections and preparation for the next level.  All classes use a weighted grading policy with each of the following categories:















Tests and quizzes are graded for correctness of spelling, accentuation and vocabulary.  Students are expected to have learned the vocabulary before the chapter quiz and the grammar and vocabulary by the chapter test.  It is important to note that it is the World Languages Department policy to give credit only to correct answers on quizzes and tests.  Mistakes in spelling, accentuation and grammar do not receive partial credit.  I understand that that is a very difficult challenge, and I expect students to rise to the challenge and pay very close attention to detail when they are studying and completing assignments.

A note about quizzes:  Many students do not study enough for vocabulary quizzes.  Because quizzes are worth 20% of the overall grade it is very important to study new vocabulary from the moment it is received.  Continuous study for short periods allows for greater acquisition than fewer more intense study sessions.

Final exams:  Final exams are comprehensive, multiple choice, true or false and listening assessments.  The exams require students to have a comprehensive understanding of the vocabulary and grammatical conventions that are covered in the course.  There are no questions on the final exams which involve material which has not been covered in class.  Students in higher levels of Spanish should expect to see vocabulary they learned in lower levels as well as new vocabulary covered during the semester and year.

Projects:  Projects compose 10% of the overall semester grade.  All of the written portion of a project is open book but must take place in class or in tutorial.  There is a list of requirements provided for all projects.  Students receive feedback on the correctness of their writing and re-write their project in class.  Students present their project in class after sufficient time has been allotted for their learning of the lines.  Presentations are not to be read, but presented.  The maximum grade for a presentation which is read is 80% assuming that all of the grammar, vocabulary and requirements are met.

Homework:  Homework for this class generally takes less than twenty minutes to complete, and it must be completed outside of class.  The homework is written in the same place on the board every day.  It is the students’ responsibility to write down the homework in a safe place every day.  If a student forgets to write down the homework they should call a friend in the class.  Homework is usually posted on schooLloop as well. Homework is due the class after it is assigned and it is due when the bell rings.  Late homework is accepted and it is worth 50%.  Students who are still working on their homework will not receive full credit for the assignment. 

*Students who try and do their homework in class when we are working on something else sacrifice valuable instruction which has a negative effect on their learning. 

Homework sheets:  Students will receive one copy of the chapter vocabulary and a homework sheet at the beginning of every chapter.  The homework sheets are also posted on schoolLoop for students who need a second copy.  The homework sheet is the official record for homework credit and completeness.  I stamp the homework sheet when homework is completed on time.  Before each chapter test I collect the homework sheets and record credit for each student.  This means that students are responsible for keeping their homework record up until the test. If a student looses their homework sheet I will give at least 75% credit for all completed work once.

Classwork:  One week of classwork is collected for every chapter that we cover in the book.  The collected material is usually the richest in student work and detail.  Classwork is graded on completeness of the task, effort and corrections.  When we go over an activity it is for the benefit of the students.  Students who do not correct their mistakes do not receive the full benefit or credit for the assignment.  It is crucial that students keep an organized notebook in which they have a section for classwork.  Classwork needs to be organized and neatly labeled with a date and title of the activity in order to receive full credit.  Organized students will be able to receive full credit in the classwork category as long as they expend reasonable effort.  Students who miss classwork due to absence are responsible for the material and can make it up in tutorial or at home.  Alternative activities are always available. 

*Class notes should never be written on classwork because I never collect notes!

Class notes are provided for complex grammatical conventions that we learn in the class.  A student who takes clear and organized notes will know what to study for the chapter tests.  The examples provided in the notes are worth writing down in that they give meaning to the grammar conventions that are studied.  A notes section should be separated in a students three ring binder, and students should study their notes before completing their homework assignments and studying for tests.

Participation:  10% of every student’s grade is based on their participation in the class.  Participation in our class not only includes active involvement in the learning but positive contribution to facilitating an effective learning environment.  Negative behaviors that disrupt the class or keep others from learning have a negative effect on student’s participation grade.  One challenge for many students in Spanish is to allow others to participate.  It is not acceptable to call out answers for another student.  Some people need more time to formulate good answers, and we provide it.  Arriving to class on-time with the required materials facilitates effective use of instructional time.  Continual failure to do so affects student’s participation score. 

Required materials:

Preparation is one of the cornerstones of success and every student needs to arrive to class prepared to work every day.  Having required materials is crucial for proper use of class time.  Students who show up to class every day with their material are prepared for success.  Students need to bring the following to every class period.

Ø      The Spanish textbook

Ø      The Spanish workbooks (Practice workbook and Writing Audio Video Workbook)

Ø      Two writing utensils

Ø      1 three ring binder dedicated to Spanish with two dividers and paper. 

*One Spiral notebook is not acceptable because students will not have an effective means of keeping organized notes and classwork and keeping track of their homework sheets.

Note:  When students do not bring their materials to class there is a negative effect on classroom learning.  Students use valuable time and create distractions when asking others for materials.  Often, students’ reliance on others materials borders on harassment.  This is unacceptable.  Students who share books are less likely to receive the full benefit of an activity, and that affects the student who arrived prepared with their materials.   Students who loose their book need to see the library about a replacement.  I understand that there are often circumstances that make life difficult (such as a lost book) so I allow students three classes (one week) without affecting their grade.  Because of the negative effects on classroom learning stated above, students who arrive without their materials to four classes or more will lose 4% of their participation grade for every class they are unprepared.

* If this policy presents a financial difficulty, I will provide materials to any student who brings a parent note. 


It is my goal to use every possible moment to expose students to Spanish in the classroom.  Students who are on time and ready to work when the bell rings will receive the full benefit of the days lesson.  When students arrive late they not only miss part of the class but they cause distractions to others around them.  I expect all students to be in class when the tardy bell rings.  When a student arrives to class after the tardy bell (even if just barely), they are late.  Late students must sign in.  I understand that there are extenuating circumstances that are often out of students’ control that cause them to arrive late.  Because of this, I allow for four tardies during the semester without any consequences. 

*When students arrive tardy for a fifth class there are two very serious consequences.  The first is according to school policy, which is that the student receives a referral to the office and in general is assigned an afternoon school.  The second is that the student's overall participation score will be reduced by 4% for every tardy during the semester.

Seating:  Students are required to sit in their assigned seats every day.  If a student has a problem with hearing or seeing the board they will be given preferential seating in the front.  If a student has problems with being a distraction or distracting others, they will also be given preferential seating in the front of the class.  Our class often involves partner activities.  Students are to work with others who are around them.  In some circumstances I will allow students to move to another place in the classroom to work with someone of their choice.  Students must ask permission to move about the classroom and under no circumstances will they be allowed to work with their friends if they do not ask for permission first.  I change the seating chart when I feel it will benefit the class, and I reserve the right to move one, some or all students when I feel it will benefit instruction. 

Bathrooms:  I request that students use the restroom during their passing period, break and lunch.  Students are not restricted in the number of times they may use the bathroom.  However, students who leave the classroom consistently waste valuable class time and miss classwork which affects their performance.  Students must ask permission, write their own pass with the date and time, and sign out.  Students who abuse bathroom privileges by staying out of class for excessive amounts of time receive CSI lunch detention.

Lockers: Students must go to their lockers during break, lunch or passing periods.  Students are never allowed to go to their lockers during class time.  If a student forgets their homework in their locker they can bring it in the next passing period without losing points.  If a student asks to go to the bathroom and goes to their locker they will receive CSI lunch detention.

Discipline:  Maintaining class protocols is important to the learning of everyone in the classroom.  Every student in the classroom has the right to learn and I have the right to teach.  I do my best to work with students, their families, coaches and classmates to create a positive classroom environment where everyone can learn.  When dealing with disruptive behavior and problems in the classroom I follow the following steps.  I hope that we will have a successful year working together.

Level 1- Feedback and Redirection

Call on students who are off task, maintain proximity with students who are off task

Redirect the off-task student by periodically re-explaining the expectation or task, or assuming teacher responsibility for the lack of clarity on expectations and re-clarifying.  Consider changing students seating assignment.

Level 2- Individual conference or interview

A- Discuss concern for the ongoing misbehavior.  Create a social contract if necessary that establishes and outline of goals with positive and negative consequences for the student’s academic and behavioral performance and a means for students to achieve their goals.

B- Communicate clearly with the parent or guardian and coach what behavioral issues are involved. 

Level 3- (if levels 1 and 2 strategies are not working with individual students)  Refer student to administration, counselor, and coach

Level 4- Establish a meeting with all Stakeholders: student, parents, counselor, teacher(s), coach and administrators.

Reestablish the social contract with the student including school and home behavior.

Inform other students how to interact appropriately both positively and constructively with the student.

Contact and Conferences

I look forward to working as a team with students and their families in order to maximize student success.  I find that contact with parents or guardians facilitates students reaching their maximum potential.  I often call home to discuss student’s strengths and needs and sometimes to enlist help at home.  If you wish to contact me the best means is through schoolLoop e-mail.  I try to respond to all communication within 24 hours Monday through Friday.  The best time for a conference is Monday through Friday from 7:00-7:30 am and by appointment in the afternoon Monday through Thursday.  I carpool so it is difficult to have meetings with little notice.  I request 24 hours advance notice.

Thank you,

Rob Oliphant



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Mr. and Mrs. O

Sr. y Sra. O

Why I travel

Porque viajar

Rob Oliphant Locker

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