8th Grade Adv/ Gifted Language Arts Syllabus
Ms. Johanna Morales
NSE/ Sunny Isles Beach Community School
2012-2013 School Year
Dear Students and Families,
Welcome to eighth grade and to what I hope will be an exciting year of Language Arts.
Throughout the year, students will be studying literature, poetry, language mechanics, and an
assortment of writing styles, public speaking, listening skills, and creative thinking. Parents and
guardians, if you need to contact me at any time throughout the year, please feel free to send me
an email. I will get back to you within 24 hours.
Students and parents should be aware that the workload in Eighth Grade Advanced and
Gifted Language Arts will be on a more advanced level than the workload in Eighth Grade
General Language Arts. Students in these classes will be responsible for more reading
assignments and projects.
The primary source of instruction will be from the state-approved, school-adopted
language arts program by McDougal Littell: Literature. Every student will have online access to
the text. Materials from other sources will be supplemented as appropriate.
In eighth grade students will also be taking the FCAT Writing in addition to the FCAT
The following information is addressed toward the students but parents are required to read it
and sign it at the end to indicate it has been read and understood. Thank you.
By the time the bell rings, students should be in their seat, not talking to peers or me, and
beginning work on the daily journal. During this time, there is absolutely no talking, even if the
work is complete. The “Bell work” will be either on the board or on the Smart Board. Students
must begin working on the “Bell work” immediately or follow any other directions on the board.
After the bell work we will continue class with journal discussions and/ or another
assignment. I expect every student to participate in discussions at some point or another. The
day’s agenda will be posted on the board daily. I expect every student to work diligently on each
day’s assignment and to turn in all work on time. Students should also check the back board for
any home learning assignments. I will not always remind students to write down the home
learning, however, all students are still responsible to look at the board and write down the
assignment. It will always have a due date right next to the explanation of the assignment.
There will be several novels being read through the year, as well as short stories, non-
fiction, mythology, and poetry. Students will also be writing formal essays, short stories, and
poetry. We will continue to work on grammar and punctuation as well. There will be a substantial
amount of writing in eighth grade, so please be prepared.
The novels we will be reading are:
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
October Sky by Homer Hickam
Animal Farm by George Orwell
The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare
This list may change and/ or have additions. I will send out a letter home a few weeks before we
begin reading a novel. Parents will be notified about required materials with ample time.
A one-inch (1”) three ring binder (you may share it with another subject)
Five (5) binder section dividers
Pens and pencils
A Composition Notebook
Several packs of index cards
Different color highlighters
1. Arrive on time everyday.
2. All materials should be out and you should be working on the “Bellwork” once the tardy
3. Raise your hand and wait to be called to speak or get out of your seat.
4. Keep hands, feet, objects, and negative comments to yourself.
5. Treat all materials properly.
6. You are not allowed to eat food, candy or chew gum. Do not bring these items to class.
7. No electronic devices are allowed in class. If you use your phone or any unauthorized
electronic device in class it will be taken to the main office and a parent must come in to
pick it up.
Please note these are my personal classroom rules. Every student is required to follow the
school’s Code of Student Conduct in addition to my rules. You will be disciplined if you break
my classroom rules and/or the code of Student Conduct rules. Every student will begin with a
verbal warning and it will escalate if the rule is broken again. You may be excluded from
activities and trips in addition to parent notification and/or administrative referral.
90-100%-A 80-89%-B 70-79%-C 69-60%-D 59%-0%-F
Grade break down:
30% Class work and Quizzes
40% Tests and Projects
20% Homework, AR, and Reading Plus
Effort and Conduct are based on the following:
Contributing to class discussions
Listening quietly and respectfully while others are speaking
Being prepared with the required materials
Cooperating when working in small groups
Following class rules
A rubric will be given with every project outlining exactly what I am grading and how it will be
The amount will vary according to the unit being covered. The school district requires
daily home learning from every subject. Home learning is an extension or application of what
is begun in class. Some major projects will be assigned as long-term home learning assignments
with check-point due dates. If there is no assignment to be completed, independent reading for at
least 30 minutes is an alternate assignment. Late homework will not be accepted and students will
be required to serve a detention if an assignment is not completed. If you have an excused
absence you will be given the same amount of days the other students received upon your return.
Independent Reading/ Accelerated Reader
You are required to read daily at home. You may read any material. This includes
newspapers, magazines, and books of your choice. You will also have independent reading
sessions in class.
You are also required to participate in the Accelerated Reader Program. You will read
four AR books every quarter. The books read will be based on the reading level you obtain on the
STAR test. Each book must also be worth more than 8 AR points. To receive credit, you must
pass the AR test with a score of at least 80%. The AR test consists of knowledge (recall) and
basic comprehension level questions only; therefore, an 80% or higher score indicates that
adequate comprehension of the novel was achieved. Students will receive a homework grade for
completion of the AR requirements every 9 weeks.
The school also requires every student to participate in the Reading Plus program. This
program is designed to improve comprehension and reading speed. It is a computer based
program that requires internet access. You are more than welcome to use the school facilities
before and after school. The requirement will be to complete anywhere from 2-3 lessons a week
for the entire school year. You will receive a grade based on your completion of the required
lessons every 9 weeks.
Plagiarism and Cheating
Plagiarism is the unauthorized use of or close imitation of the language and thoughts of
another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work. Plagiarism is
unacceptable and will be treated no differently than cheating. Proven cases of plagiarism and/or
cheating will result in a “0” grade for the assignment and you will not be able to make up the
missed points. This class will cover the appropriate way to use another author’s work without
plagiarizing and all students will be responsible for citing their sources in each written work.
You are not allowed to turn in late work. If there is a circumstance where work is
accepted, the grade will be lowered one entire letter grade. The only exception to this rule is an
EXCUSED absence. However, major projects must be turned in on time. If you are absent
arrange for a parent or classmate to turn it in on the due date. If you know of your absence ahead
of time, you may turn in your project early. Please have parents contact me if there is a
circumstance I should be made aware of. This rule applies to ALL assignments, including
homework, binder checks, etc.
You are responsible for asking and making up home learning and class work when you
are absent. You should talk to a study buddy immediately following an absence. If you miss a test
or quiz, YOU MUST schedule a time with me to make it up. You will have a maximum of two
days to make up a missing test, quiz or assignment, unless otherwise discussed with me. If there
is an extensive absence other arrangements may need to be made.
Any major project must be turned in on the due date; therefore arrangements should be
made if you will be absent. Any and all work missed and not made up within the allowed time
will receive a zero in my grade book. You, the student, is responsible for requesting any work.
Remember to use your study buddy. No makeup work will be allowed for unexcused tardiness or
absences. Your level of achievement will be higher if you attend class regularly and meet all
Please write down the name and phone number of two people in the class. Call one of them when
you are absent.
I look forward to working with you. I’m sure it will be exciting and productive!
Please have class supplies and signed syllabus by Friday, August 24th. I will check and collect
everything for 3 home learning grades.
Thank you for taking time to fill out one more form! I will keep this contact information
close at hand so we can stay in touch throughout the year.
Parent/Guardian Name Phone Number/s
Parent/Guardian Name Phone Number/s
Please check any of the following that apply:
My family has access to a printer.
My family has access to a computer with Internet access.
My family has no computer access.
Please note any additional information that might help me provide the assistance your
child may need in my Language Arts class.
PLEASE SIGN: I have read the English 8 Syllabus and understand expectations
Student’s Printed Name & Pd. Student Signature
Parent’s Printed Name Parent’s Signature