Eighth Grade Honors English Language Arts Course Syllabus



    *PARENT ORIENTATION ON Wednesday, August 29, 2019, from 6:00-8:00 PM


    Contact Information:

    Room: 61

    Telephone: 708-233-4584

    Email: [email protected]


    Course Objectives and the English Language Arts Common Core State Standards:

    Welcome to Mrs. Nowicki’s English Language Arts classroom!  Throughout the year, we will explore numerous genres of literature, namely fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, and folk literature.  Students will develop an appreciation for literature, while also developing strategies to read and write for success. The course is designed to meet the rigor of the Common Core Reading and Writing Standards:

    “The Common Core asks students to read stories and literature, as well as more complex texts that provide facts and background knowledge in areas such as science and social studies. Students will be challenged and asked questions that push them to refer back to what they’ve read.  This stresses critical-thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills that are required for success in college, career, and life” (Common Core State Standards).



    Vocabulary is an integral component of class. Students will acquire vocabulary knowledge through daily vocabulary exercises. Vocabulary words are derived from the following:

    •  Literature and Informational Texts (Forever Words)
    • ELA Reading Common Core Standards (Academic Vocabulary)
    • Greek and Latin Roots (Morphology)



    Students will be able to demonstrate effective writing skills and will develop writing strategies through weekly writing.  Each quarter, students will be expected to engage in the following writing activities and/or assessments:

    •         Narrative and Argumentative Essays
    •         Research Paper and/or Presentations
    •         On Demand Writing Prompts
    •         Reader Responses
    •         Literary Analysis Essays
    •         Midterm Assessment Writing
    •         Quarter Assessment Writing


    Classroom Materials:

    •         Binder with 4 dividers (Quarter 1: Journeys; Quarter 2: Duality of Man; Quarter 3:            Survival; Quarter 4: Freedom and Dreams)
    •         Student Chromebook (charged daily)
    •         Colored Pens
    •         Pencils
    •         Highlighter
    •         Box of Kleenex (Pretty Please)


    Homework Policy:

    Students are responsible for completing their homework and submitting it on time. 


    Homework Schedule:

    Students should expect to have homework most nights of the week.  Students should be reading for their monthly reading log; it is expected that students are reading for a minimum of 20 minutes each night. There will be extensive READING AND

    WRITING in this class.


    Absence and Tardy Policy:

    Students who are absent will have two days to complete the homework assignment. Tardies will be handled in the manner outlined in the student handbook.


    Grading Policy

    15%    Homework - All students start with 100% and will adjust as they turn in or do not turn in assignments.

    25%    Projects - Which will include processes writing pieces and on-demand assessments.

    20%    Quizzes - All assignments that are evaluate for mastery of a concept.

    40%    Tests – This will consist of the midterms and the quarterly assessments.


    Classroom Rules:

    •         Listen when others are talking
    •         Follow directions
    •         Keep hands, feet, and objects to yourself
    •         Work in a safe and quite manner.
    •         Show respect for school and personal property


    Classroom Consequences:

    •         First Offense: Verbal Warning
    •         Second Offense: Lines or Essays
    •         Third Offense: Detention [students will receive a detention slip.
    •         Fourth Offense: Call parents to schedule a conference

    Reading Calendars:

    Each month, students must submit a Reading Log which documents that the student has read 500 minutes  Students should read approximately twenty minutes each night in order to fulfill the 500-minute requirement.  Students must read at least two age-appropriate novels. However, students may also choose to read newspapers, magazines, comic books, etc. to fulfill the five-hundred minute requirement.


    Independent Reading Time [IRT] and IRT Logs

    Students will spend the first 15 minutes of each class engaged in Independent Reading Time.  Students may choose any fiction or nonfiction book to read during this time. One of the goals for this course is to develop life-long readers; IRT allows students the freedom to read age and level- appropriate books that address their individual interests. The teacher will further conference with each student on the book that he or she is reading. 



    1st Unit – Journeys – Informational Theme

    Essential Question:  How do societal problems shape an individual’s worldview?

    Standards: RI 8.1 (Textual Evidence), RI 8.2 (Central Idea and Summarizing), RI 8.4 (Vocabulary) RI 8.8, ( Analyzing Argument) 

    Inquiry Project – “Inspiring Change through Words”


    Fiction - The Third Wish and The Lottery

    Poetry - “The New Colossus”, “Statue of Liberty Awakens with Tears on Her Cheeks  . . .”, I Hear “America Singing”, “I too Hear America Singing”

    Multiple Texts - Analyzing Different Speeches and Arguments

    Writing – Narrative and Analyzing Argument


    2nd Unit – Duality of Man – Fiction Theme

    Essential Question: – Authors throughout history have dealt with the concept of the humanity of man. With all people, there lies a darker side.  Why does our society feel drawn to characters that show this inner darkness?

    Standards: RL 8.2(Theme and Summarizing)  RL 8.3 (Analyzing Dialogue), RL 8.4 ( Vocabulary),        RL 8.6 (Perspective), RL 8.7 (Analyzing different mediums)

    Inquiry Project – “The Human Spirit”


    Main Text: Multiple short stories by Edgar Allan Poe and other notable authors

    Writing – Narrative and Literary Analysis

    3rd Unit – Survival Unit – Informational Theme         

    Essential Question – How is the will to survive a basic human instinct as depicted in the texts?   Standards: RI 8.2, RI 8.4, RI 8.5, RI 8.6                                                   

    Inquiry Project: Analyzing Charities for effectiveness                                                                                                                                     Reading:                                                                                                                                                                         Main Text :  An American Plague by Jim Murphy                                                             Supplemental Texts: Multiple other non-fiction stories about survival                                    Writing – Narrative and Argument

    4th Unit – Freedom and Dreams – Fiction Theme

    Essential Question – How does the idea of freedom as depicted through different texts reflect a common human desire?

    Standards:  RL 8.2, RL 8.4, RL 8.5, RL 8.9


    Main Text:  Of Mice and Men

    Supplemental Texts:  Poetry – Langston Hughes, Paul Laurence Dunbar and others.

    Writing – Literary Analysis















    Student’s Name _______________________________________

    Mrs. Nowicki’s  2019-2020 Syllabus


    Please return ONLY this portion of the Language Arts 2018-2019 Syllabus by Friday August 23, 2019.

    I have read and discussed the above expectations, including the Independent Reading expectations and policies, with my student.

    Date _____________________

    Parent/Guardian Signature ________________________________________

    Student Signature _________________________________________________ 


     Point of Contact Information - PLEASE PRINT CLEARLY

    Best person to reach during the day:




    Daytime Phone Number ___________________________________________


    Email Address ___________________________________________________

    (Please print email address as this will be the method that class updates will be sent.)