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Mrs. Hughes

8th Grade ELA - English Language Arts
July 23, 2017
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Course Description

Our work this year will focus upon the national Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and New York State's Learning Standards for English Language Arts.  Your eighth grade assessment is in April following spring break. 

(Much of the information included in this document was taken from the Core Curriculum documents.)

NYS Standards for ELA

Students will read, write, listen, and speak for (1) information and understanding, (2) literary response and expression, (3) critical analysis and evaluation, and (4) social interaction.

Common Core State Standards for College and Career Readiness (CCSS)

  • Pen on Paperreading
  • writing
  • speaking
  • listening
  • language


These standards are intended to help students demonstrate independence, build strong content knowledge, respond to the varying demands of audience, task, purpose, and discipline, comprehend as well as critique, value evidence, use technology and digital media strategically and capably, and to understand other perspectives and cultures. (taken from the Common Core guide)

We will do a variety of activities to practice and improve how we communicate in these ways.  Vocabulary, grammar and spelling are three key ingredients to successful writing and reading comprehension, and demand a good amount of attention.

You will:

  • Read, write, listen, and respond to quotations and other "ponderables".
  • Have spelling and vocabulary words and tests that are gathered mainly from the content areas, literature, and student writings to address individual and class needs.
  • Read a plethora of stories.  The content areas often influence our reading choices and vocabulary.
  • Read, write, and explicate a variety of poetry.
  • Read, discuss and write about novels, nonfiction, and various themes.
  • Read and write descriptive (to paint a picture with words), persuasive (to construct an argument), narrative (to tell a story), expository pieces (to inform or explain) and imaginative pieces that create a new way of seeing things.
  • Present oral reports to the class.


You will be graded on homework, classwork, writing, tests, quizzes, oral presentations, projects, participation, and your portfolio.  Your quarterly average is based upon your grades in classwork and homework (25%), tests and quizzes (25%), writing (25%), and participation/portfolio (25%).

Extra Credit:

 For those of you interested in doing a little something more for yourself and for your grade, please consider the following options.  These assignments may be submitted throughout the year.

  • Write a poem or a song.
  • Read a book and tell about it...either as a presentation or in writing.
  • Research and write about a topic of interest to you.  (Be sure to document your resources!)
  • Enter writing contests.
  • Write a short story or a play or a chaptered story...a novel!
  • Write a letter to someone.



Please have your assignment pad/planner, loose leaf paper in a 3-ring binder with 5-6 dividers, pens with blue or black ink, pencils, highlighters, a supply of 3x5 or 5x8 index cards for vocabulary, a storage case for these cards, and 5 binder rings. 

The textbook we will be using is Holt McDougal Literature: Common Core Edition grade 8.  The online version of the book can be found here.

Thank you!


Please be in class on time with all of your materials and completed assignments.  Late work will not be accepted.  If there are extenuating circumstances that prevent you from doing your ELA work, please talk to me before class so I may best help you.  Thanks!

Extra Help:

We are here for you!  If you require extra help, I can make arrangements to meet with you during lunch, study halls, Literacy, and after school between dismissal and 3pm.  Peer tutoring is often a great help too!


You will have every opportunity for success in this class.  The success you achieve will be based on your participation and mastery.  Please follow directions carefully and seek extra help whenever necessary.  You are always expected to do your best.  You will have the chance to revise, repair and resubmit most writing assignments to improve your mastery.  Your cooperation and courtesy are important factors in your success, the success of your classmates, and the achievement of the entire class.  It is always our goal to be courteous, respectful and cooperative with every student; we expect the same of you.  Working together cooperatively, we can all do our best.


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