Course Syllabus


Grovetown Middle School                            2008-2009                            Instructor: Mrs. Amy Catlett

OFFICE PHONE:(706) 855-2514


I know we have an exciting and wonderful year ahead of us as we explore the fine art of reading.  Students will have opportunities to work individually as well as in groups.  Along with standard assessments, we will be completing alternative assessments such as portfolios and projects to show student learning.  If there are ever any questions about what we are learning, please contact me.

Our class & Course expectations

This course will focus on reading a variety of text closely, during this time you will work carefully to discern the author’s perspective and the particular facts and details that support it.  You will read thoughtfully and purposefully, constantly checking for understanding of the author’s intent and meaning so that the interpretation will be sound.   Assignments 
You are expected to:
·         Complete all assignments on time;
·         Record assignments and upcoming school events and/or activities in your planner;
·         Record the Essential Questions in your planner; 
·         Spell words correctly on all assignments.  Dictionaries are available for use in the classroom, and all students are encouraged to purchase a dictionary that they can keep in their language arts binder.  One point will be deducted for each misspelled word for all assignments, with a maximum of 10 points deducted for spelling.  
 Late Work Policy
 It is the policy of our 6th grade team that late work not be accepted.  Late projects will be accepted the next day, but the highest grade possible at the time will be a 75.
 Absences and Make-Up Work
 It is your responsibility to find out about missed assignments.  You may wish to have a buddy in class who collects worksheets and other materials for you when you are absent.  Assignments are also posted each day on the homework board.
 You have two class days for each day missed to make up assignments, up to a maximum of five days.  You will not be reminded about work that needs to be completed.  You may make arrangements to come in between 7:00-7:20 for extra help; I am unable to give up class time to review missed content with individual students.
 Classroom Environment
                     You are expected to respect each other and our classroom at all times.  It is imperative that each student feel safe to express their opinions and ideas, and be able to share their work publicly without ridicule from classmates.  A more detail team discipline plan will be given to each student and parent.
 Classroom Expectations:
 1.        Respect one another, the classroom, and the materials provided for our class at all times.
2.        Be on time, prepared, and ready to work.
3.        Raise your hand to answer and/or ask questions or to leave your seat at anytime after instruction has begun.
4.        Actively participate in class discussion and show initiative to do better than the “norm.”
 Odds and Ends
 ü       Students should always come to class with their language arts binder/folder, paper, pen or pencil, student planner and textbooks.  Also, students are required to bring a silent reading book to class every day.
ü       Pencils should be sharpened before class begins.  NO MECHANICAL PENCILS!
ü       Students may complete work in pencil, blue, or black ink ONLY.  Work must be legible.  Points will be deducted for work that is completed in other ink colors.
ü       There is a classroom library available.  Students may take books out of the classroom, after properly checking them out.
ü       Each paper that is turned in should have the student’s first and last name, student number, date, class period, and assignment title (if applicable).  Points will be deducted if students forget to put their name on a paper.
ü       A school store is available before school in the media center.


You will demonstrate comprehension and show evidence of a warranted and responsible explanation of a variety of literary and informational texts.  For literary texts, you will identify the characteristics of various genres and produce evidence of reading that:a. Identify and analyze sensory details and figurative language.b. Identify and analyze the author’s use of dialogue and description.c. Relate a literary work to historical events of the period.d. Apply knowledge of the concept that theme refers to the message about life and the world that the author wants us to understand whether implied or stated.e. Identify and analyze the elements of setting, characterization, plot, and the resolutionof the conflict of a story or play:i. internal/external conflictsii. character conflicts, characters vs. nature, characters vs. societyiii. antagonist/protagonist.f. Identify the speaker and recognizes the difference between first- and third-person narration.g. Define and explain how tone is conveyed in literature through word choice, sentence structure, punctuation, rhythm, repetition, and rhyme.h. Respond to and explain the effects of sound, figurative language, and graphics in order to uncover meaning in literature:i. Sound (e.g., alliteration, onomatopoeia, rhyme scheme)ii. Figurative language (i.e., simile, metaphor, hyperbole, personification)iii. Graphics (i.e., capital letters, line length, bold face print, italics).i. Compare traditional literature and mythology from different cultures.j. Identify and analyze similarities and differences in mythologies from different cultures.For informational texts, you will read and comprehend in order to develop understanding and expertise and produce evidence of reading that:a. Apply knowledge of common textual features (e.g., paragraphs, topic sentences, concluding sentences, glossary, index).b. Apply knowledge of common graphic features (i.e., graphic organizers, diagrams, captions, illustrations, charts, tables, graphs).c. Applies knowledge of common organizational structures and patterns (e.g., transitions, logical order, cause and effect, classification schemes).d. Identify and analyze main ideas, supporting ideas, and supporting details.e. Follows multi-step instructions to complete or create a simple product.You will understand and acquire new vocabulary and use it correctly in reading and writing.  You willa. Determine the meaning of unfamiliar words by using word, sentence, and paragraph clues.b. Use knowledge of Greek and Latin affixes to understand unfamiliar vocabulary.c. Identify and interprets words with multiple meanings.d. Use reference skills to determine pronunciations, meanings, alternate word choices, and parts of speech of words.You will read aloud, accurately (in the range of 95%), familiar material in a variety of genres, in a way that makes the meaning clear to listeners.  You willa. Use letter-sound knowledge to decode written English and use a range of cueing systems (e.g., phonics and context clues) to determine pronunciation and meaning.b. Use self-correction when subsequent reading indicates an earlier miscue (self-monitoring and self-correcting strategies).c. Read with a rhythm, flow, and meter that sound like everyday speech (prosody).Reading Across the CurriculumReading across the curriculum develops your academic and personal interests in different subjects, as well as your understanding and expertise across subject areas.  As you read, you will develop both content and contextual vocabulary.  You will also build good habits for reading, researching, and learning.The Reading Across the Curriculum standards focus on the academic and personal skills students acquire as they read in all areas of learning.You will read a minimum of 25 grade-level appropriate books or book equivalents (approximately 1,000,000 words) per year from a variety of subject disciplines.  You will reads both informational and fictional texts in a variety of genres and modes of discourse, including technical texts related to various subject areas.You will participate in discussions related to curricular learning in all subject areas. You will a. Identify messages and themes from books in all subject areas.b. Respond to a variety of texts in multiple modes of discourse.c. Relate messages and themes from one subject area to those in another area.d. Evaluate the merits of texts in every subject discipline.e. Examine the author’s purpose in writing.f. Recognize and uses the features of disciplinary texts (e.g., charts, graphs, photos, maps, highlighted vocabulary).You will acquire new vocabulary in each content area and use it correctly. You willa. Demonstrate an understanding of contextual vocabulary in various subjects.b. Use content vocabulary in writing and speaking.c. Explore understanding of new words found in subject area texts.You will establish a context for information acquired by reading across subject areas.  You willa. Explore life experiences related to subject area content.b. Discuss in both writing and speaking how certain words and concepts relate to multiple subjects.c. Determine strategies for finding content and contextual meaning for unfamiliar words or concepts.  (Excerpted from


¤                 2 folders (different colors)¤                 Book cover
¤                 1 spiral notebook¤                 Highlighter, any color
¤                 Jump drive, to be used for all classes¤                 Pencil with eraser, daily
¤                 Loose leaf paper (wide ruled)¤                 Pocket dictionary
¤                 Blue or black pens, ONLY¤                  


¤     Course Components and Grade Weights:o       Projects/Tasks = 30%§         Detailed rubrics will be used to assess reading projectso       Tests = 30%o       Daily Assignments/Homework = 10%o       Classwork/Participation = 15%o       Quizzes = 15%


¤     Always do your best work. ¤     Participate in class. In this course, you will be asked to learn and apply new knowledge, to critically analyze reading and language, to synthesize ideas, and to evaluate text. To do all that, you need to be active.¤     Attend each class, and be on time; we will use every moment of class to master the standards.¤     Demonstrate respect for yourself and others.¤     Take responsibility for your make-up work when you are absent.  You will have three days to complete work for each excused absence.¤     Be prepared by studying class material, keeping your binder/folder organized, and by having your course supplies each day.¤     Follow all Grovetown Middle School and Columbia County School System policies, especially the student code of conduct, the attendance policy, and the dress code. Please review these documents at or in the student handbook.


Academic integrity means being an honest and responsible writer and scholar. You are here to learn to become a better writer, and your instructor is here to teach and assist you.  Grades are assigned to show how much you have progressed, so your work should reflect what you have learned, rather than someone else’s ideas and abilities.  Any work that is plagiarized (copied or paraphrased from another person) is worthless because learning and growth do not result, and grades assigned to dishonest work are fraudulent.  You are expected to submit work that represents your best efforts.  Work that is plagiarized will not be accepted, and it will violate trust between you and your instructor.


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