August 21, 2009
Dear 8th graders,
As Eighth Graders, you are preparing for High School. To that end, it is important to
understand that the expectations for eighth grade are higher than they were in Seventh
grade. You will be expected to follow all classroom procedures and school policies
found in the “Family Handbook.”
The English class will complement the American Studies class as often as possible. We
will explore themes in American history through literature, discussions of current events,
and writing activities.
1. Explore a variety of genres including historical fiction, realistic fiction, fantasy,
poetry, and short stories.
2. Develop reading comprehension skills and knowledge of literary techniques.
3. Master writing different types of sentences, an accurate and complete paragraph,
and improve developing and writing a multi-paragraph essay.
4. Write in different styles.
5. Expand vocabulary (tests will include words form class reading and SAT prep
6. Use correct conventions and spelling in writing.
A vocabulary list will be given every five school days and tested.
In American Studies, we will explore themes in American history such as the formation
of our government, the constitution, the Bill of Rights, immigration, theCivil Rights
movement, and current events.
American Studies Goals:
1. Understand the natural rights philosophy.
2. Distinguish between constitutional governments and autocratic or dictatorial
3. Understand who the Founders and Framers were and what experiences shaped
their thinking about government.
4. Understand how and why various documents were developed.
5. Understand how the constitution is structured.
6. Understand how the disagreements over the constitution are related to differing
views of the requirements of the natural rights philosophy, republicanism, and
7. Understand the basic structure of our government
8. Know the rights and responsibilities of a citizen.
9. Understand the effects of immigration on the country.
10. Be knowledgeable about how this country deals with conflict.
1. Notebook (spiral or three-ringed binder)
2. Red pen for editing
3. Notebook paper
4. Pen and pencil
5. Relevant books and handouts
6. Dictionary (use at home)
7. Thesaurus (use at home)
All formal paper drafts and final copies will be submitted to me hard copy or
electronically. I will remind you of this policy when the assignment is made. In
addition, the best method to keep track of assignments is to visit my homepage regularly.
Most assignments that I hand out in class will also appear in my document archive. An
asterisk * will appear next to the assignment on my homework page if that assignment is
in the document archive. You can check my homepage at AScott @DCJE.org.
.I am looking forward to a fun and exciting year. Please feel free to email me or talk to
me with any concerns or questions.