WELCOME TO LANGUAGE ARTS
This year, your student will be studying the 8th Grade Language Arts curriculum. They will be studying Reading and Writing in accordance to the Common Core Standards, a set of expectations that focuses on real-world application and communicating in the 21st Century, both online and offline. In my room, they will be working on improving their use technology integration and the “4Cs”: Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking, and Creativity. As you also know, 8th grade is also the last year of middle school and one in which the expectations of the students increase as they get closer and closer to High School.
WHAT IS PROJECT-BASED LEARNING?
I use many strategies in my classroom, the most important of which is Project-Based Learning. PBL means that your student will be focusing on units that closely relate to skills used in the world outside of school. It means more authentic assessments, more applicable lessons, and more engaged learning. They will be working both collaboratively and independently in order to participate in real world problem solving and project construction.
8th grade is about preparing a student for his or her future, and the use of technology and being literate online, is a huge part of this goal. This means that a student MUST have access to a computer. The good news is that we have a class set of Chromebooks that allows students access to the tools they need on a daily basis. Additionally, there are multiple ways a student can accomplish any computer-dependent assignment:
1. Use a computer at home.
2. Use a computer at a friend or relative’s house.
3. Sign up to use a computer at the San Gabriel Public Library (located on Del Mar, South of Las Tunas)
4. Make an appointment to come in after school to use a classroom computer.
5. Come in during any lunchtime, Monday-Thursday
6. Use the media center computers after school Monday-Thursday
I promise the student will know the online assignments ahead of time. Students and family can access assignments and information on www.wolpertworld.com. WolpertWorld is a website where parents and students can view the week’s agenda.
I will also be using Google Drive to send resources and communicate with students long after the school bell rings. The expectation is that students will be willing to work with me as well.
DAILY STUDENT EXPECTATIONS
Doing well is no secret. Work hard. Ask questions. Respect others. Behave appropriately. Be prepared to learn when coming to class. Leave the drama outside the door. Bring your materials. Arrive on time. Take care of personal necessities before coming to class. Dress appropriately. Keep the classroom clean. Dispose of your own trash.
If you are not in your seat when the bell rings, you will be marked TARDY. This is your verbal warning.
Each Monday, your will be given homework for the entire week. Homework will be written in your AGENDA on Monday, but you must bring your agendas to class daily. Unfinished classwork is added as the week progresses so plan wisely and use class time wisely.
There will also be some long-term assignments. Having knowledge of homework ahead of time will allow you to plan homework around family obligations while remaining accountable for your work. Therefore, if you are out, you already know your homework, and it should not affect your ability to meet a deadline. In addition, because 90% of our work will be submitted online, there are not many instances where missing a day also means missing a deadline. MISSED WORK IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY and it is YOUR responsibility to arrange with me for make-up tests and quizzes.
HOW PARENTS CAN HELP
Your students cannot succeed without your help at home. Help them with the responsibilities of middle school. They must get their work to school and to me on time. Look over their AGENDAS; be aware of when tests are and when assignments are due. Encourage them to come to me to ask questions BEFORE the due date on an assignment. Encourage them to email me ANYTIME OF DAY OR NIGHT. If I am awake, I will respond! They must continually work hard and their work must show their effort. I will not accept work done with only ½ of their effort. With your help at home and with my guidance at school, your student will navigate beautifully through 8th Grade Language Arts.
In 8th Grade, it is a student’s responsibility, not a parent’s, to get the homework. If your student has a tendency to lose things or not do their work, get phone numbers from students in the class so that your student might solve their problem independently. You are also welcome to check the website for information about upcoming deadlines. Remember that we are slowly preparing them for High School, and beyond.
Here’s a secret: If an extension for work is necessary, encourage your student to approach me BEFORE THE DUE DATE and explain why. If it is handled maturely, and not abused, I will work things out with your student. Again, this is a way to begin encouraging 8th Graders to become their own advocates.
GRADING STANDARDS AND POLICIES
70% - Tests, quizzes, essays, and projects
25% - Classwork/Homework
5% - Readiness
Extra Credit opportunities are available as long as there is no missing work that can still be made up. I will be happy to entertain any ideas from students who are willing to try something independently.
Feel free to contact me with any concerns as soon as possible at firstname.lastname@example.org or at email@example.com. Include your student’s name in the subject line in case the email ends up in the spam folder. (I check this folder daily.) Also let me know if anything happens that may affect your child’s performance in class. I am here to demand a lot from them, but I am also here to help them succeed. With their effort, my guidance, and your support, I know that they will.
Language Arts Teacher