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8th Grade Honors Communication Arts

Course Syllabus
Instructor: Mrs. Karen Morrisette
Room #: 204

Course Description: 8th Grade Honors Communication Arts reinforces skills learned in 6th and 7th grade while
introducing new reading, writing, and literary concepts. Students will continue to expand their vocabulary and
grammar in preparation for standardized tests. Students will read a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts both
in and out of class. Students are expected to work independently, with a partner, or in a group and meaningfully
contribute to class discussions. To do this, students must come prepared to class, having completed all
homework and reading assignments. Each student is responsible for his/her own learning. The teacher is
responsible for presenting material in a meaningful, relevant, and engaging way.

Course Overview: This course is divided into 7 units over 4 marking periods. Topics are aligned with our
textbook, Literature, Holt McDougal Grade 8 (Common Core Edition, 2012). Teacher may adjust if necessary.

Unit 1: The Elements of Fiction (MP 1)

Text Literary Concepts Grammar Writing
The Contender Plot and Conflict, Identifying Parts of Narrative
Flowers for Algernon Character and Point of Speech, focus on
(Holt Textbook version) View, Setting and adjectives

Unit 2: Non-Fiction (MP 1)

Text Literary Concepts Grammar Writing
The Killer Angels Central Idea, Textual Nouns, Nominative vs. Expository
Articles from textbook Evidence, Text Features Objective Case
Homophones and
common spelling

Unit 3: Research (MP 2)

Text Literary Concepts Grammar Writing
The Duel Internal citations, Pronouns, antecedents, Research Paper
introducing quotations subject/verb Compare/Contrast
Unit 4: Journalism (MP 2)
Text Literary Concepts Grammar Writing
Sample News Features Audience awareness, Verbs (action vs. Lancaster Newspapers in
engaging reader/leads, linking), tense, phrases Education (NIE) Contest
5 Ws, fact vs. opinion and clauses, kinds News Feature

Unit 5: Argument and Persuasion (MP 3)

Text Literary Concepts Grammar Writing
Chew on This Claim, evidence, Active vs. Passive Voice Argumentative Essay
The Jungle (excerpts) appeals,
Holt textbook counterargument,
selections organization

Unit 6: Theme and Symbol (MP 3)

Text Literary Concepts Grammar Writing
The Diary of Anne Topic vs. Theme Punctuation Memoir, Journal, Letter
Frank Internal vs. External Writing to Holocaust Survivor
Selections from other Conflict Skype with Holocaust
teen diaries of the Survivor

****************(MP 4)*******************PSSA Reading/Math*******************************

*****************************************PSSA Writing*************************************

Unit 7: Shakespeare and Poetry (MP 4)

Text Literary Concepts Grammar Writing
A Midsummer Nights Figurative Language, Avoiding common Sonnet
Dream Rhythm, Rhyme, Meter grammatical errors
Shakespearean Sonnets Literary Devices
Holt textbook poetry

BE..Positive DONT BETardy
BE..Cooperative DONT BESleepy
BE..Supportive DONT BEUnprepared
BE..Productive DONT BEMean

Rules and Procedures: Rules provide a safe and effective learning environment. Students who follow the rules
and cooperate will be rewarded, while students who consistently break the rules will face consequences.
Voice Levels: Remember to use an appropriate voice level for the situation.

0= SILENT (fire drills, tests, entering auditorium, when teacher is talking)

1= WHISPER (library, conferencing)
2= NORMAL (group work)
3= ACROSS ROOM (presentations)
4= SHOUT (Never in classroom!)

Schoology: Students are expected to complete several assignments this year on Schoology. Every student has
a username and password. All make up work, extra credit, and assignments for extended absences will be
posted on Schoology. If your child does not have access to a computer or WIFI at home, the Public Library allows
teens to use computers with a valid library card.

Incentives: The teacher will use Class DoJo to award points for positive behavior in class. Students can earn
prizes, supplies, snacks, or privileges by accumulating points. Parents are encouraged to sign up online to
monitor your childs behavior in class and communicate with the teacher regularly. Our class also participates
in the RMS=SUCCESS ticket program.

Consequences: If there is a problem in class, a lunch detention will be issued. Students are asked to fill out a
reflection form during the detention which will be kept on file. If the behavior continues, I will call parent to
discuss and assign after school detention. Repeated teacher detentions and calls home will be referred to

Pencils: Students must come prepared to class with a pencil. DO NOT sharpen pencils while the teacher is
talking. Students may borrow a pencil and return it after class.

Restroom: It is expected that students remain in class; however, each student is given an agenda book with a
limited number of sign-out spaces per marking period. Students should plan their bathroom breaks wisely.
Teacher will monitor frequency of bathroom visits and contact home if a pattern emerges.

Grading: Please see the Reynolds Handbook for an explanation of grading procedures. Please know that you
will be contacted by me by phone if your child is falling behind. Your childs grade is based on homework, do
now/ticket out, quizzes, in-class assignments, essays/tests, preparedness, and participation.

Homework: Expect to see your child reading a novel, writing an essay, completing a vocabulary or grammar
worksheet, or logged onto Schoology for CA homework at least once or twice a week. All work not finished in
class is homework and is due the next day. Points are deducted from late work. See the handbook for plagiarism

Extra Help: Reynolds is a family committed to your childs success. I am available to help students at lunch time
or after school on most days with any reading or writing assignment. If your child is falling behind, I will call you
and request that he/she stay after school.