Syllabus/Course Overview

Eighth Grade Language Arts
Course Overview
Teacher e-mail:
                In this course you’ll be exposed to all of the major genres of literature (short fiction, nonfiction, novels, drama, and poetry). The literature in this course is usually organized more around loose thematic links rather than simply genre. You will study the elements of the different genres in order to gain a more full understanding of their structures, as well as strengths and limitations, of different types of writing. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, we will also look at literature as a means of self-expression as well as a means of social commentary. However, while literature is a central focus of this course, it is not our only one. We will also work a good deal with vocabulary, grammar, and writing. You will write formal and informal works, as well as creative and academic types of assignments.
                Ultimately, Eighth Grade Language Arts will build upon the skills and knowledge that you have acquired in the previous years and extend on them, and just as importantly, get you prepared for what awaits you in high school. We move beyond looking at a piece of literature as a simple story. Literature is an opportunity for us to look at the world and ourselves in ways that we otherwise cannot. This class then is less about stories than it is about life. To get the most out of this course, you’ll need to be prepared, and you’ll need to be open to seeing things in potentially different ways than you’ve been seeing them. Ultimately, how much you enjoy this course and how much you get out of this course will depend on you.
  • Reading with more depth
  • Writing with more clarity
  • Thinking more critically
Course Overview:
Material/content covered:
  • Vocabulary/word parts
  • Grammar
  • Sustained Silent Reading (SSR)
  • Literature (drama, short fiction, nonfiction, poetry)
You will write several formal essays on different topics as well as a few more creative works. The following is a list of some of the major writing assignments you will have.
·         Informal, timed essays
·         A research-based essay
·         Creative writing assignments
·         Quarterly SSR book reports
You’ll need to bring the following materials to class every day:
  • Notebook
  • Writing utensil
  • SSR book
  • A binder for the course with several dividers to keep organized is strongly encouraged.

Class Policies
Late Work:
  • Late work receives 85% of the earned credit for that assignment.
  • After five school days from the original collection date, late assignments will receive 70% of the earned credit.
  • After three weeks, the assignment will no longer be accepted, barring extenuating circumstances.
  • Each student is allowed one “free late” per nine weeks, in which he or she can turn in an assignment within the appropriate time window without losing the stated 15%. Therefore, an assignment that would ordinarily receive 85% of the earned credit would receive 100% of the earned credit. Similarly, an assignment turned in after five days from the collection date, which would ordinarily earn 70% of the earned credit, would receive 85% of the earned credit. Also, the free late must be used during the appropriate nine weeks (you cannot use more than one in the same quarter).
  • Students without any late or missing work will receive extra credit at the end of each quarter. Using a free late does not count against you—that assignment that the free late was used on will not be marked as late in the grade book.
  • Each student is eligible to use up to four passes for each nine week quarter this year. To use a pass, you must use your school planner, and you cannot already have used two passes for that week (as school rules dictate).
  • All school-wide rules are observed in class, including, but not limited to, rules regarding the use of gum, food and drink, electronic devices (cell phones and mp3 players) and wearing of headwear (hats and hoods).
  • There will be a calendar that lists what was done in class that day, so when absent, please check the calendar to see what needs made up. It is always a student’s own responsibility to see what work needs to be made up. I will not approach or remind students about work done and/or needed in regards to their absences.