- My 2019-2020 LA Curriculum Overview is already posted on this website. Please take some time to read it. It not only includes an overview of the curriculum, but also information on the importance of class participation, group work and related rules, grading, homework, absences and homework buddies, behavior, and academic integrity.
- Students completed a Language Arts Interest Inventory Reading, which allowed me to gain some information about their perceptions of reading and how they view themselves as readers, as well as thoughts on what they liked and disliked about previous Language Arts classes.
- We begin the year with a review of Summer Reading. In eighth grade, this includes a focus on symbolism and theme used in Gathering Blue and Messenger by Lois Lowry, and a comparison and contrast of different societies in the novels, as well as our own. In seventh grade, students read The Giver by Lois Lowry, which was the first book in this trilogy. We continue to refer back to the society in this novel. After review in class, a final test will be given, in which they must compare/contrast societies within the three novels. In addition, students will complete a theme analysis in groups. They will work to focus on a specific theme in one of the novels and explain how the theme was observed in the book, using specific details from the text for support. Then, they will compare/contrast the same theme in two of the novels. Finally, they will discuss how the theme is present in their own lives and attempt to make a connection to the novels. We are also exploring text specific vocabulary in Gathering Blue and Messenger, and a quiz will be given on the definitions of these words.
- We are also reviewing short story/literary elements including plot, symbolism, theme, character/characterization, point of view, conflict, irony, foreshadowing, flashback, figurative language, and others. Students have taken a pre-test to demonstrate their general understanding, and now we are working to review each element, so we can establish a common vocabulary for LA.
- At the end of this month or the beginning of next month, we will begin a discussion about selecting and narrowing topics for the research paper, which takes the form of a review of the literature on a particular subject. This year we will focus on writing about diseases, disorders, and conditions, which allows for a connection to life science. More information will be distributed in class and posted here soon. The process includes selecting and narrowing a topic, locating sources, completing a rough outline, taking notes on sources, completing a final outline, writing a paper in APA (American Psychological Association) format, and completing a References page. I will allow students to work in pairs to complete the paper. There will be many stipulations for doing so, which are outlined below. Also, we have 60 students in 8th grade, so every individual or pair will have a different research paper topic! Topics are allowed on a first-come-first-serve basis. If a student is particularly interested in a topic that has already been claimed by another student, I may be able to help him or her research the topic in a different way. For example, a few years ago, one of the more popular topics was concussions. Therefore, one student was allowed to do a paper on the causes of concussions, while another chose to do a paper on an overview of concussions in relationship to sports. This would constitute two different topics. All papers will be 5 paragraphs and need to have a cover page, abstract, introduction, three subtopic sections, with three details per subtopic, conclusion, and References page. This will all be explained in written and oral detail, but it is just something to keep in mind while selecting and narrowing a particular topic. Late components of the process will result in a deduction of points. You will be receiving more information as we continue in the writing process. Please be assured that each step of the process in thoroughly explained, with both oral and written instructions. One of the keys to writing a successful research is to avoid falling behind. Please help your child to stay on top of assignments and due dates, and encourage him or her to ask questions for clarification during class.
Conditions for Working with a Partner
- Choose your partner wisely. You will be doing a lot of work together. Partners will not be assigned. It is up to you to choose.
- You and your partner need to share both morning and afternoon LA classes in order to work together on the paper.
- All assignments must have both partners’ names and both partners’ morning LA period so you can receive the credit you deserve. You will share all grades, unless otherwise noted.
- If we are working on a particular skill in LA, both partners must complete it, regardless of who does the actual work for that section of the paper. For example, if we are working on a rough draft of the introduction, both partners must write the rough draft. How you collaborate for the final paper is up to you. With the exception of the note taking/note cards, you are never allowed to say, “My partner is doing that part, so I don’t have to.” The paper is a shared responsibility. Each partner must be aware of what is going on at all times.
- Realize that the majority of the actual writing and typing of the paper must be done outside of school. If you cannot find time to work with a partner outside of school, then you need to write your own paper.
- If you have any problems with your partner not working, please let me know as soon as possible. If you wait until after a grade is completed, there is not much I can do to help you, and I will not change any grades.
- If you have any questions not addressed on the hand-out, please ask, rather than making assumptions. _____________________________________________________________________________________
- The first book report will be due in October. Students will read a fictional book of their choice and then create a social networking profile on poster board for one of the characters in the book. The rubric and directions will be submitted in class in mid-September. For additional information, please see my LA Curriculum Overview.
- We will also continue using an online vocabulary program in 8th grade called Membean. Check out www.membean.com for more information, as well as my LA Curriculum.
- Finally, we will begin pre-reading research related to our next novel, Animal Farm by George Orwell. Students will complete pre-reading research on Russian history, its key players, and various forms of government, in order to understand the allegorical connection between the novel and the Russian Revolution. Many people also view Animal Farm as a fable. As part of pre-reading, we will study Aesop’s fables, and students will write their own fables in groups.
Welcome to the 2019-2020 School Year at SJC. I hope that you all had a relaxing and enjoyable summer. Our 8th graders have so many memorable experiences in store for them!
I will be teaching Language Arts to all 8th graders. Language Arts meets for two periods per day, and is shown as one grade on the report card, consisting of a combination of literature, writing, oral communication, grammar, vocabulary, and spelling. The Language Arts grade will count twice in determining a student’s eligibility for honor roll. I will also be teaching Religion within my homeroom. We will focus a great deal on preparation for Confirmation.
As we begin the school year, we focus on our 3 Rs: Ready, Respectful, Responsible, as well as our school theme for this year, which is, “Angels Among Us.” We also embrace the ongoing theme for Catholic Schools Week: “Catholic Schools: Learn, Serve, Lead, Succeed.”
Please make sure that you read the Parent-Student Handbook with your child. I will go over the changes with my homeroom during the first week of school. You and your child must both sign and return the form indicating that you have read the handbook.
Also, please be aware of the new start and end time of the school day. Students should arrive at school by 8:25 AM and must be seated in their homerooms by 8:40 AM. Dismissal is at 3:15 PM.
Students will receive their iPads soon, after all permission slips are returned.
We will be celebrating with an all school liturgy on Friday, August 30th at 9:00 AM.
Throughout the year, please check my monthly newsletter on the SJC website. Also, remember to check the calendar on the SJC website often for information on upcoming events, particularly those that relate to 8th grade.
In September, I will be posting my Curriculum Overview for 8th Grade Language Arts on the website. It not only includes an overview of the curriculum, but also information on the importance of class participation, group work and related rules, grading, homework, absences and homework buddies, behavior, and academic integrity. It will be discussed in more detail at the 5th through 8th grade Curriculum Evening on Thursday, August 29th.
More information on both Language Arts and Religion will be coming in the next few weeks.
Student Council Commissioner Elections will be held on Wednesday, August 28th. A contract needs to be read and signed by parents and students by Tuesday, August 27th, and the candidates need to give a speech of at least one minute in length to their 8th grade class on Wednesday, August 28th during Religion. Students will then vote and we will have 4 commissioners to represent each homeroom.
If you have any questions or concerns at any time, the best way to reach me is via email at email@example.com. I will try to respond to your email within 1-2 school days. If you do not hear back from me within this time, please email me again, just in case I did not receive your first email.
I hope that you and your children find the back to school transition easy and pleasurable. I am looking forward to a wonderful year!