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Language Arts

8th Grade g2

2011-2012 Syllabus

Central Middle School
Room 217
Instructor:  Ms. Mills
School Phone:  (563) 263-7784

This year students will work on a multitude of cross-curricular projects that ask Essential Questions and apply the Habits of Mind.  In Language Arts students will focus on four major writing units: Research, Expository, Creative, and Persuasive.  In addition to collaborative group work during projects students will also be personally responsible for multiple vocabulary and grammar lessons/assignments.  Challenge and Responsibility will be held high as students develop an understanding for what it means to be a g2 student.

Habits of Mind:
Every day each of us is confronted with decisions that require us to use our minds well.  The CMS g2 program hopes to create a learning environment in which students develop and practice useful thinking habits called, “Habits of Mind.”  They are best thought of as questions you may ask yourself when thinking about a problem you are solving, a project you are developing, a topic you are researching, or a decision you have to make. When looking at a piece of a work or creating your own work, it is important to use these critical thinking skills.

Evidence:  How do we know what we know? What evidence counts? How sure can we be? What makes it credible to us?

Viewpoint:  From whose viewpoint are we seeing/hearing this information?  

Connections:  Is there a pattern? Have we seen something like this before? What are the possible consequences?

Supposition:  How could it have been otherwise? What if...? Use imagination as well as knowledge of alternative possibilities.   

Does it matter? Who cares?

Inquiry: What questions did I ask while working on this project? Did any new questions arise while working on the project?

Classroom Expectations:
Respect: It is important to acknowledge that all students in this class are human beings and individuals who deserve to be treated with respect. The golden rule is essential for building a true classroom community: treat others as you wish to be treated.

Tolerance: In conjunction with respecting one another, it is equally important to embrace our differences and appreciate our diversity. We will treat one another with tolerance regardless of religion, race, culture, sexual orientation, or ability, and all discriminatory and/or hurtful language is prohibited.

Team Expectations:
-Classroom Equipment Signout Sheet-

*Wondering the halls is never acceptable;  There will be consequences if you are caught outside of the classroom not doing what you are supposed to be doing.
               1.  TDA - 15 minutes
2.  TDA and call home
3.  Referral  - fill out form  

Classroom Procedures:
-Cue Words/Phrases-  
                    --"Eyes on me 1-2-3"= You need to stop what you are doing and give me your 
                    attention/show me you are listening by raising your hand.
                    --"Refocus"= There is too much messing around, get back to work.
                    --"Noise Level"= It's way too loud in here!! Please quiet down.
-Entering the classroom-

Students should quickly and quietly enter, check materials needed, sit down and get to work on Bell-Ringer

-Cuss word wall-

Swear words will not be allowed in my classroom.  If and when one is used the student will be required to write an appropriate replacement word and place it on the back wall (this is done in addition to school policy consequences).  This will be a continued reference for appropriate words in my classroom.  If there is a continued problem students will receive a writing assignment. If your class makes it the whole quarter...Prize?  

-What to do when you are “done working”-

Students may read a free reading book or play English games on special occasion.  No you may not chat or complete work from another class (unless given special permission). NO FACEBOOK!    

-Assignment Baskets-

Students will have an assigned basket for all work to be turned in.  All students are given an alternate project schedule to follow to ensure group consistency. Students MUST turn their work into the basket for which their ORIGINAL schedule says-Language Arts. I know this may be confusing for a while, but you will get the hang of it.

Units of Study:
1.  Expository Writing-”Freedom Fair” (September 6th-October 27th)-LA will pair with Social Studies:  Students will research to understand and examine their 1st Amendment rights in order to create relevancy in their own lives and promote the rights and responsibilities of all citizens through education and awareness to preserve and protect the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution.    

2.  Research Writing-”Budget/Career” (  )
-Language Arts will pair with Math:  Students will research and budget for their future careers. They will then create and publish a Career Book for fellow classmates. Finally, students will participate in a Career Fair, where they will have the opportunity of meeting with professionals regarding possible future careers.
3.  Poetry-”Natural Disasters” (  )
-Language Arts will pair with Science:  Students will...

4. Persuasive Writing-”Slavery” ( )

        -Language Arts will pair with Social Studies:  Students will...

5.  Creative Writing-”Artifacts Tell A Story” (  )
-All four disciplines will work together:  Students will examine many different forms of “artifacts” in order to develop
         various stories that each one represents.  Ultimately students will create a museum FULL of artifacts and their stories.

Other Classroom Content:

I will be utilizing the words and portions of the Word Wisdom vocabulary development system. Students will be given words at the beginning of each unit.  Throughout the unit they will be asked to create activities and complete various tasks using each word.  (Words and tasks can be found under VOCABULARY/SPELLING)

Bell-ringers: (editing/proofreading/grammar)

During the first 5 minutes of class, bell-ringers will be presented via the overhead and completed by each student.  Bell-ringers build students’ reading, writing, grammar, and analysis skills and help establish a working environment while the teacher takes attendance.  (Use classroom notebook/keep in the room)


Students will be utilizing and completing exercises using this interactive website <http://www.chompchomp.com/menu.htm>.  Various lessons will be assigned each week depending on skills needed for specific projects.  (Find under ASSIGNMENTS)

Students will be assessed regularly throughout the year and their grades can be found using Powerschool.  Projects, which are central to the curriculum, will allow students to show what they know in a variety of ways.  The class will consist primarily of larger projects.  In addition, vocabulary, spelling, and grammar activities will augment each students' overall experience in the course. Class participation will be based on engagement, collaboration with peers, and contributions to discussion.

90-100 = A
80-89 = B
70-79 = C
60-69 = D
60 and below = F

Late work Policy:
Classwork and homework turned in on time receives full credit.  Classwork and homework turned in late will be deducted 5 points/day for one week.  After one week, it is recorded as a 0.  If we are working in groups on a project, it will have an assigned due date well in advance.  NO LATE WORK WILL BE ACCEPTED DURING PROJECTS!

**DO NOT come to me days before grades are due asking about missed assignments, by that time it is TOO LATE!

Missed work/Make up Policy:
For every day that a student has an excused absence, he/she will be allowed two days to make up their missing work.  This is a district policy.  Students are responsible for approaching the teacher and asking for his/her assignments.   If there is an extended absence, work will be collected and distributed through the guidance office.

-Notebook-will be divided and used for Bell-ringers and Word Wisdom Vocabulary

POL Process:
You will be responsible for keeping a POL journal during each project. The responses you write in this journal will be used to complete your Presentation of Learning. Specific guidelines for your POL will come at a later date.

Exhibition Night:
All students will be taking part in a minimum of 1 Exhibition Night per semester. The date of our 1st exhibition is: Nov. 3rd

Digital Portfolio:
Digital Portfolio Set-Up Requirements: See Guidelines 

*We will add to our DP's as we work throughout the year.  Most importantly-keep it organized and free of errors!!!!

Your iGoogle page serves a useful function and purpose- it is not a playground! When we set up your iGoogle you will be asked to add 5 Gadgets:

Google Calendar
Google Docs
Bookmarks (Teacher Pages/Powerschool/Classroom Resources)
Google Reader

*You will have the opportunity of adding 1 more gadget of your choice (appropriate!)