8th Grade Language Arts

Setting the stage for becoming lifelong readers and skilled writers
Northeast Range Middle School Language Arts
8th Grade 2017.18 School Year
Print Copy of Syllabus
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Weekly Classroom Notes

Mrs. Jennifer M. Kaufenberg
Phone:             218-827-3101, Ext. 4212
Website:           http://northeastrangeschool.net/
Classroom:      Room A12
Address:          Northeast Range Campus, 30 South Drive, Babbitt, MN 55706

Note: Email is the best way to contact Mrs. Kaufenberg. Phone calls will only be answered during prep time, and before or after school. All messages will be returned daily. In case of Emergency, please, contact the School Office.
Teacher Introduction
The main goal in every one of the courses I teach is to create an environment that fosters independence and cooperative learning. It is important to me that students have a place where they feel comfortable and safe. A place where everyone can share his or her opinion. A place where respect is prevalent: respect for self, each other and the classroom. A place where students gain the knowledge and learn the skills they need to succeed in school and beyond. Ultimately, a place where students yearn to become lifelong readers and skilled writers.

Course Description
There are a wide range of broad concepts and themes that students are expected to learn in middle school language arts and English class. One of the best ways to meet middle school language arts and communication academic goals and standards is through authentic experiences. The 8th grade language arts course builds on the strategies and skills learned in 7th grade.  Students continue to grow as individuals and select their own reading material, while applying reading and writing skills to authentic real world experiences. It is important for students to use the 8th grade year to practice and fine-tune their reading and writing skills, so they have a solid foundation to start their high school career successfully. 
Parents are encouraged to stop by the classroom any time before or after school to review student work or request a conference with the teacher to review student portfolios and progress towards academic goals.
Required Supplies
Blue or black pens
Colored pens for correcting
#2 pencils, Highlighters
2 Dry erase markers (NO pink or red)
1 college ruled one subject notebook
1.5 or 2 inch, three ring binder
Subject dividers with tabs for binder
Package of 3x5 notecards

Supplies Provided by teacher and/or School District
Learning Portfolio
Writer’s Portfolio
Reader’s Notebook
Reading Material
Literature Textbook
Access to Online Material
Additional Supplies Suggested: post it notes and sticky flags for marking textbooks, novels and other reading material.

School Supply Note: Students are required to bring their Ipad and other supplies to class every day. Ipads are needed to participate in daily coursework, reading, writing and the online classroom. It is essential that students keep their Ipads charged and have them ready to use when they walk into the classroom. Student binders and writing portfolios will remain in the classroom and used daily.
The classroom has additional supplies available for students who need or available for purchase. Please see Mrs. Kaufenberg privately if you need supplies. Parents or community members interested in donating supplies to the Language Arts classroom are encouraged to contact Mrs. Kaufenberg.

Student Expectations
  • All students will be held to high standards and set independent learning goals that will be monitored, adjusted and met during the course of the school year. Each student will keep track of his/her learning and progress with an individual learning portfolio.
  • All students will meet or exceed the reading and writing requirements of this course with guidance and support from the teacher, family and friends. Developing good reading habits, study skills and self-discipline is an essential part of a student’s future academic success and is a staple of this course.
  • All students will participate in classroom learning circles, discussions and activities.
  • All students will ask questions, as well as clarify and verify information. It is important that students ask questions and reach out to classmates and the teacher when they are struggling or are unsure.
  • All students will use their strengths, knowledge and understanding to help create a cooperative learning environment that is built around trust and respect.
  • All students will be able to engage in academic discourse to help their learning partners elaborate, clarify and interpret.
Today’s world requires students to master technology to be successful in college, the workforce or military service. Similarly, educational standards laid out by the State of Minnesota require students to use technology and alternate forms of media to communicate and demonstrate an understanding of content area knowledge.Students will be required to use their School District Email Address, Google Drive, Google Documents, Newsela, IXL, Vocabulary.com, Schoology, KidBlog, Remind, and other online learning sites in the 8th grade Language Arts Course. SeeSaw will be used to create learning portfolios that will demonstrate student growth towards mastering standards.

6 +1 Traits of Writing
Students will follow the Six Traits of Writing rubrics during all writing activities. The Six Traits of Writing are a set of expectations and a common language used by teachers, students and parents. Students are encouraged to work through the writing process in all courses providing them with multiple opportunities to become strong independent writers. Details and 6 +1 Traits of Writing rubrics can be found on the School Website. Visit Northeast Range Website (http://northeastrangeschool.net/), go to Mrs. Kaufenberg’s Home page and follow the link to the 6 +1 Traits of Writing.

Course Overview
Independent Reading Requirements  (20-30 minutes per day)
Independent reading time will be a part of the daily classroom routine; however, students read a minimum of 20-30 minutes per day outside of the classroom in order to meet reading requirements. All students will be expected to read a minimum of 26 books during the school year (books with more than 300 pages will count as two). The main goal of independent reading is to provide opportunities for students to grow as readers while exploring the world of books they might not otherwise discover. In addition, students will begin to develop a deeper understanding of literary elements, text features and text structures through the books they select, while meeting state standards. The focus on reading will not only expand students’ background knowledge; students will also develop and refine written and oral communications skills. This includes growth in vocabulary, grammar and spelling.

Reading Journal: Students will keep track of their independent reading in a reading notebook provided by the teacher.
Reading Conferences: Students will have independent conferences with the teacher to go over reading notebooks and progress towards independent reading goals. Teacher will provide support and guide students throughout the reading process as needed.
(26) Independent Reading Selection Requirements
(2) Traditional/Classic Literature                    (2) Realistic Fiction/Young Adult
(2) Historical Fiction                                       (3) Fantasy/Fairytales/Folklore
(2) Science Fiction                                         (2) Mystery/Horror
(2) Informational                                             (3) Biography/Autobiography/Memoir
(2) Poetry Anthologies                                   (6) Chapter Book Choice 
Non-Fiction Reading Requirements
Students will be required to read non-fiction articles on the Newsela website in class several times a week. The Newsela program will also be used for comprehension checks and provide students with the opportunity to use the HUG reading strategy: (H)ighlight main idea (U)nderline important details (G)o back and review, and (G)et it in your own words. The HUG strategy provides a foundation for students to start developing annotation skills, which will be used for note taking, researching, quoting material and questioning information. These skills are the foundation for success in content area reading in high school and college.

Whole Class, Guided and Group Reading Requirements
The class will read several novels, shorts stories, poems and speeches this year. The teacher will select the books for each novel study, based on the classroom dynamics. Each book will be read aloud, by the teacher, as the students follow along and learn to apply knowledge and understanding of literary elements, theme, making inferences and predictions. Students will also develop a deeper understanding of the craft and structure of literature as well as vocabulary and word usage. Several of the Novel Studies include watching a movie based on the novel. In compliance with state standards, students will be required to complete a compare and contrast project or essay. Notices will be sent home prior to a Novel Study that includes a movie.
8th grade Novel Study List:      Touching Spirit Bear      The Outsiders    The Pearl     The Giver
       The House on Mango Street      Finding Laura Bugs       Growing an Inch 

Writing Requirements
Students will be required to apply what they are learning to their daily writing. The six traits of writing will be used to set the standard and expectations of writing. Students will follow the six traits of writing and be required to follow the editing and revision process. By the end of the year, students will have created a portfolio based on many different writing genres.
Writing Workshops: Students will write two essays (expository and informative), a personal epilogue, and two poems following the complete writing process guided by the teacher. Students will meet individually and in small groups throughout the writing process and receive feedback from the teacher. All writing work will be kept in the classroom in student writing portfolios and/or in their LA Google Drive folders.

Journal Writing:Students will participate in daily journal writing in a Google Document that is shared with the teacher. Students will receive full credit for journal entries that include date, writing prompt and meet writing requirements. All journal entries must be completed daily, even when students are absent. Daily journal prompts will be posted in the classroom and online.

Summary and Opinion Writing:Students will be required to write summaries and opinions after reading a variety of short stories, articles, speeches, poems and essays. These short writing assignments will provide students with the opportunity to practice polishing the Six Traits of Writing as well as fine-tune their ability to summarize and to share opinions.
Conventions of English
Grammar, spelling, vocabulary and word usage will be studied in conjunction with writing and reading. Students will work towards meeting 8th grade Language Benchmarks, which includes demonstrating command of the English language when writing, speaking, reading and listening.

Speaking, Viewing, Listening and Media Literacy
Common Core Speaking and Listening Standards will be addressed during daily activities, discussions, collaborative learning, small group presentations and creation of multimedia projects. Reading and writing activities will provide additional opportunities for students to analyze different types of information, while sharing opinions and ideas. Students will be expected to cooperate, mediate, and problem solve to make decisions or build consensus as appropriate for productive group discussions, group projects and learning activities.
Student Pledge: Print and Complete with Parent/Guardian
Return to Mrs. Kaufenberg (25 assignment points)

Contact: Mrs. Kaufenberg