8th Grade Language Arts Syllabus
Garrett Heights Elementary/Middle School

Instructor: Ms. Emerson
Phone: 202.997.4108

Coach Class Hours: 7:30 a.m – 8:00 a.m. Monday – Friday
                                  3:45p.m – 4:45 p.m. Monday and Thursday

Class Description:

Eighth Grade Language Arts is a full year course that focuses on writing, reading, and communicating. Various expository, narrative, and persuasive writing will be analyzed by reading classic literary selections. Students will use the conventions they will acquire from these classic texts to write their own stories and essays. Students will maintain readers’/writers’ notebooks and alternate informally between readers’ and writers’ workshops. Discussion is emphasized and students are expected to generate and share meaning and understanding based on textual evidence. Writing conventions such as grammar, punctuation, spelling and style will also be emphasized to ensure that our students meet requirements to make the successful transition to high school.


Materials Needed: Unprepared students will only receive half their points for the day.

  1. Two #2 Pencils or Two Black or Blue Pens **Any other colors used will result in a zero

  2. One section of a 3-ring binder filled with loose leaf paper

  3. Composition Notebook

  4. Self-Selected book for Sustained Silent Reading (bring everyday)


Behavior Policy: Middle School can be a trying period of adjustment for many students. An emotionally and physically safe and well-managed learning environment is essential to ensuring that all students receive the high quality education they deserve. Breaking school and class rules, teasing, foul language, and disrespectful comments about others will not be tolerated and will be dealt with swiftly. Consequences for misbehavior include detention, office referrals, lowered grades, and missing out on planned trips and events.

Class Rules

  1. Raise your hand for permission to speak

  2. Raise your hand for permission to leave your seat

  3. Keep your hands to yourself

  4. Be prepared

  5. Be respectful

School Rules

  1. Be Respectful

  2. Be Safe

  3. Be Responsible


Curriculum Outline

Quarter I

Unit 1: Thinking About Thinking: The Logic of the Thought Process (Metacognition)
Unit 2: I Read It and Now I Get It! (Comprehension Strategies)
Unit 3: The “How” and “Why:” Fundamentals of Textual Analysis
Unit 4: Diving Into the Literature: Characterization, Conflicts, and Time Elements

Quarter II

Unit 5: Let's Get Personal: Memoirs and Me
Unit 6: Fitting the Pieces Together: Interconnections Between Literary Elements
Unit 7: Reading in Daily Life: Functional Reading

Quarter III : 1.22.10 - 4.07.10

Unit 8: Scuba Diving: Analyzing Literary Themes
Unit 9: A Creative Alliance: Poetry and You
Unit 10: Getting Deep: Analyzing the Author's Message in Informational Texts

Quarter IV: 4.08.10 -

Unit 11: Read It, Feel It, Perform It: Analyzing Drama Without Trauma
Unit 12: The Giver: Novel Study, Writing Extension, and Projects


Daily Schedule

  • All students will enter the room calmly and quietly, going directly to their assigned seats. The first two minutes of class are allotted for students to get settled and prepare all materials (ie: sharpening pencils, getting paper out, selecting a book to read, getting Reading Journals out to be checked). 

  • After these two minutes the room will remain SILENT for 10 minutes of Silent Reading.  When students are done reading, they may complete their reading reflection.

  • Vocabulary and Warm-Up

  • Instruction (lecture, readings, notes, demonstrations)

  • Classwork (group and independent work)

  • Journal Writing

  • Review/Exit Tickets

  • Clean-up and dismissal