8th Grade ELA Syllabus

Conference Hours: By appointment  

For the students who are returning, Welcome back to Valiant College Preparatory! For the students who are new this school year, Welcome! This syllabus will be a guide to help you understand the curriculum for eighth grade English Language Arts and Reading and to prepare you for another great year at Valiant College Preparatory.

Course Objectives:
The objectives are to strengthen reading and writing skills in such a manner that the student can transfer such learning to other subject areas as well as to real-world situations. Students will practice and improve reading skills by completing reading comprehension exercises, practicing and using a variety of reading strategies, and incorporating Common Core State Standards that will help students be better prepared for high school, college, and a career.

Students will be encouraged to use prior knowledge and critical thinking skills to analyze and interpret what has been read. The textbook along with the outside reading sources we are using this year will provide the students with many genres of literature and many opportunities to improve their critical thinking and reasoning skills. We are also going to be learning, practicing, and implementing various reading strategies that will prepare the 7th grade students for the next grade.

We will also spend a considerable amount of time on class discussions that will deepen their literacy comprehension. My focus is to have the students improve their reading and literacy comprehension skills so that they may pass the 8th grade Arizona State Standardized Exam, as well as to become skilled and fluent readers.

Course Goals: 

  • To improve and develop skills in reading, comprehension, and writing through insightful analysis of various literature genres.
  • To gain personal and educational growth through the reading of quality literature.
  • To improve skills in reading, grammar, usage, composition, vocabulary, spelling, listening and speaking.
  • To work collaboratively and respectfully with other class members to enhance appreciation, connections within the text, and comprehension of quality literature.
  • To analyze and improve individual writing and reading by keeping a journal of various literature assignments.
  • To prepare students for assessment of State and Common Core standards in the areas of both reading and writing.


 Students will be provided with the novels used for this course.

Students need to have the following materials, every day, for this course.


-Pens (blue or black and red)

-Loose leaf paper

-Folder specifically for ELA

Comprehension and critical analysis of complex information are crucial for the demands of college- and career-level reading. Each reading selection helps students cite specific textual evidence and create written and verbal arguments based on sound reasoning and substantive claims. Writer’s workshops, media studies, and research units holistically address the integrated nature of the Standards. Students practice reading, writing, and speaking and listening by analyzing and producing an array of media. Language skills are addressed in every writing workshop, within each selection, and after selections to emphasize the contextualized nature of vocabulary. All selections are complemented by visuals that enhance comprehension and add background knowledge. 

Novel Study – Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, Anthem by Ayn Rand

Guidelines and Procedures

Students’ Rights

1. Every student has the right to a quality education.

2. Every student has the right to be informed of behavioral expectations.

3. Every student has the right to be informed of the academic requirements of his/her courses, to be advised of his/her progress, and have the opportunity for assistance.

4. Students are permitted to express themselves as long as the expression does not disrupt the operation/procedures of the school, is not vulgar, obscene, or profane.

Students’ Responsibilities

Each student has the responsibility to:

1. Attend school daily, unless ill or legally excused, to receive an education.

2. Be on time for all classes.

3. Come to class with necessary materials.

4. Complete all in-class, projects, readings, and homework assignments and meet deadlines.

5. Follow all school rules and the direction of all school personnel.

6. Cooperate with all school staff.

7. Respect themselves, others, and both the property of the school and others.

8. Take responsibility for their learning 


Students are expected to:

-Be respectful, honest, and cooperative.

-Be in their seats working at the start of the class period.

-Participate in class and ask questions to clarify lack of understanding with topic covered or assigned work.

-Listen to and follow directions the first time they are given.

-Refrain from talking when others are speaking or reading.

-Value school and teacher property (writing/destroying/defacing any objects that belongs to the teacher or school will be viewed as vandalism and will be taken very seriously). 

-Take pride in their work and do their best at all times.

Positive Consequences Include: Verbal Praise, Positive Emails, and Incentives

Consequences for inappropriate behavior
1st time: Verbal reminder/Re-direction/ Student conference 

2nd time: Parent Contact

3rd time: Parent/teacher conference will be held

4th time: Student is referred to the office

Consequences are given according to the severity of the behavior of the student. Inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated in any capacity; therefore, swift attention will be given to any such infraction. 


Parents will be contacted throughout the year and are encouraged to call the school, e-mail me, or send me a note should a concern arise. I rely heavily on email correspondence and I am committed to regular communication regarding class assignments, projects, test performance, homework, and all other course related materials. Please ensure that you have a valid email on file with the school. Open and consistent lines of communication are essential in terms of bolstering academic success. 

Extra Help:
Students are invited to make an appointment to stay on a certain afternoon for extra help. Typically, I will be available Monday thru Thursday after school until 5pm. I will also be free during my lunch break to assist students. This will be a very organized process. The student must request a lunch pass prior to coming to my room to receive extra help. During the entire time, the student is strictly expected to work on RELA work only. I must receive a parent or guardian’s permission before any student stays after school or come in during lunch to obtain extra assistance. 

Make-up and Late Assignments: Any make-up or late work is solely the responsibility of the student. The student must be proactive in inquiring about all work missed while absent from class. Students will have the number of days he or she was absent to make-up missed work. (If the student is absent 1 day, that allots 1 day to make-up missed assignments, if the student is absent 2 days, that allots for 2 days to make-up missed work, ect.) If the student fails to make-up the missed assignment based on the allowable time he or she will receive a zero for the missed assignment. Late assignments should only occur in emergencies or due to an absence. If the student is absent on the day an assignment is due, the assignment is expected to be submitted upon the student’s immediate return. After 3 days of the assignment being late it will be deemed as a zero. 

Please feel free to contact me any time you have questions or concerns.  I will respond as quickly as possible.  I will typically contact parents by e-mail. However, if it is a matter of greater concern, then I will contact parents by phone or set up a conference at school.