Syllabus and Classroom Expectations

Course Objective:

As a class, our objectives are to improve our knowledge and enjoyment of informational and literary texts across several different genres, focus on writing, acquire better communication skills, gain a grasp of grammar, achieve higher reading abilities, and improve our comprehension of literary text.

In 8th grade ELA we will be focusing on THEME and ANALYSIS in both our reading and writing.  We will be reading fictional stories, novels, non-fiction articles, and poetry.  Students will use the CER format (Claim, Evidence, and Reasoning) to structure their written paragraphs as well as essays.  I hope to see growth in abilities and confidence as students learn to select their best evidence and explain their thinking.  

I believe reading is a tool for reflection.  When we read, we should seek to make connections and  gain insight to our lives and the world around us.  The curriculum for 8th grade ELA is organized by theme, and we will begin by exploring texts based around the theme of Identity.  Although we will explore other themes throughout the year--including Surprising Twists, Heroes, Motivation, and Tolerance--we will continue to explore the concept of Identity throughout the year.
Units Covered





Poems“Identity” “Knock, Knock” “If” “The Road Not Taken”

Stories: “Raymond’s Run” “The Treasure of Lemon Brown” “The Medicine Bag”

Articles: “Sleeping Under a Roof, but Homeless Nonetheless”

Memoir Writing Assignment

Surprising Twists in Life

Poems: “The Raven” “Boots of Spanish Leather” “The Lesson of the Moth”

Stories: “The Tell-Tale Heart” “Johanna” “The Monkey’s Paw” “The Ransom of Red Chief” “The Hitchhiker”

Articles: “Dia de los Muertos” “Ronald Reagan on the Challenger Disaster” “Stress for Success” “The REAL Stories Behind These Disney Movies Will Ruin Your Childhood”

Mock Trial

Hero’s Journey


Novel Choices: The Outsiders, House of the Scorpion, The Secret Life of Bees, Ender’s Game, Serafina Series

Poems: “Paul Revere’s Ride”

Articles: “Joseph Campbell: The Hero’s Journey”

Hero Essay


Poems: “Mother to Son” “My Father’s Song”

Stories: “Flowers for Algernon” 

Articles: Ethics TedTalk, “IQ tests are 'meaningless and too simplistic' claim researchers” “Limits of Empathy”

Multiple Assignments 


Tolerance and Compassion


Novel: To Kill a Mockingbird

Poems: “Incident” “We Wear the Mask”

Stories: “The Birthday Party”

Articles: “Ain’t I a Woman” “On Being Informed” “Growing Up White in the 1930’s” “Who was Jim Crow?” “Herd Behavior” “Codeswitching” “The Scottsboro Boys” 

Taking a Stand Project 

***Text selections are subject to change as we get to know our students and their needs
Classroom Rules and Expectations

Be Prompt:  In your seat when the bell rings; follow directions the first time they are given; take the most direct path; turn in assignments on time

Be Prepared: Charge your laptop EVERY night; have all materials before class starts; go the the restroom between classes

Be Productive: check the smartboard for instructions; read the sideboard for agenda and due dates; begin your work right away; work the entire time; use your laptop appropriately

Be Polite: No phones in class; be kind to everyone; laptops closed when I am teaching or we are having a discussion; no swearing, teasing, or talking back; bullying will not be tolerated!

Be Patient: Wait calmly for your turn; ask permission to get out of your seat; do not interrupt others

Behavior Consequences I am a believer in natural consequences as a first defense to behavior issues.  If a natural consequence is either not being effective or is not appropriate for the situation, students will be given lunch detention and/or a parent will be contacted.  If necessary, a major referral will be turned in to the office.  Please refer to the student handbook for details regarding major referrals.

Grading Policy

*All classwork is scored out of 100, with the exception of Home Reading.

*Tests and Projects will count double in the gradebook

*Missing assignments will show a score of 40/100 in Powerschool.  It will ALWAYS be labeled as “Missing”

*Work that has been turned in but is unfinished will be labeled as “Incomplete” in Powerschool.  

*Students may redo any assignment (including incomplete work).  Work that is redone may earn back up to half (½) of the points previously deducted.

*Late work is accepted.  See details of policy below.

Late Work 

I recognize that not every student works at the same pace, and some need time to complete work outside of class.  Therefore, late work will be accepted up until the following Monday with no penalty.  

Work turned in any time after that Monday will be accepted through the end of the grading period; however, these
tardy assignments will be given a 30 point deduction (maximum score of 70). 


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