Eighth Grade English

Eighth Grade English

Mr. Dowling



Welcome to the Eighth Grade in general and to Eighth Grade English in particular.  This syllabus is intended to give you a brief overview of the curriculum we will be following, the rules of the classroom, and various procedures that will help all of us reach our maximum academic potentials.


Purpose . . .

 Learn . . . or something.

My main goal is for you to become aware and critically thinking readers, writers, and speakers.

The three main channels of communication we will be focusing on are Oral Language, Written Language, and Media/Technology.  So you will be writing, performing speeches and oral reports, and making various digital projects with the ipads.

Aside from that, we will also focus on the nuts and bolts of English grammar, which you will need to know in order to communicate clearly.

My particular goal for you this year is to have you writing about half of the time.  This means that you will be focusing on composition (by hand) for the first twenty minutes or so of most classes.

Grammar-related homework will be done entirely by hand, on paper, in pen, without the assistance of computers, ipads, or your parents.  If this is impossible for you, please speak with me at an appropriate time.

You will have vocabulary tests periodically, based on the words found here on my site.

Most, if not all writing assignments will eventually be typed, 12 point, Times New Roman or Cambria or Helvetica font, double spaced, with the heading on the upper LEFT hand side of the page.

I really dislike reading essays that have been emailed to me.  They are also difficult to grade.  So, please get a printer that works.  IF THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR YOU, PLEASE ASK ME FOR HELP TO PRINT YOUR ESSAY BEFORE IT IS DUE, NOT ON THE DAY THAT IT IS DUE.

Writing Syllabus Breakdown

During certain times of the year, we will be focusing on different types of writing:  This might change!

September - Personal Narrative

October - Critical Review

November - Comparison-Contrast Essay

December - Short Story

January - Feature Article

February - Literary Analysis

March - Cause and Effect Essay

April - Procedural Text

May/June -  Research Essay




1.     Always follow directions!

2.     Stay on task.  If you are supposed to be writing, write.  If you are supposed to be reading, read.  If you are supposed to be doing grammar work, do your grammar work.

3.     Don’t talk in class or bother, annoy, attempt to entertain, or distract other students.

4.     Raise your hand if you have an appropriate question or comment and please wait your turn.  Do not interrupt others when they are speaking.

5.     Keep your hands and feet to yourselves.

6.     Show respect to everyone in our class and refrain from acting rudely, flippantly, or with excessive and unnecessary sarcasm or attitude. Do not correct or negatively criticize another student’s grammar, pronunciation, or ideas.  It is rude.  Whining, grumbling, or complaining is likewise rude and beneath you.



·      If you slow down the progress of class through interruptions, talking, moving around unnecessarily or without reason, drawing undue attention to oneself, or other rude or discourteous behaviors you will be warned and I will mark down the warning.

·      If I or any other teacher must speak to you throughout the day concerning your behavior again, you will take a conduct slip home and I will contact your parents.

·      Some behaviors warrant conduct slips or detentions immediately.

·      If you receive three conduct slips, you get one detention.

·      Multiple detentions will be brought to the administration for further consideration.

·      If you are found off task on your ipad, you will get an immediate detention.

·      I am particularly serious about how you treat one another in this classroom and out on the yard.  Many of you have been in this school together for many years and you can dramatically influence one another.  Let that influence be positive rather than negative.

·      We are all human beings in this classroom we are expected to act reasonably.  If you are mature and responsible, things will go well.

·      Complaining, grumbling, or arguing about receiving a warning, conduct slip, or detention, will be seen as further evidence of defiance and will not be tolerated.  In other words, if you get in trouble for some reason, deal with it and don’t take it personally.  Just mellow out, calm down, and realize that your time in school is very temporary and you’ll be out sooner than you think!  You have lots of things to look forward to in life.  The sixth grade is a minor blip on the radar.  Most of the time, getting in trouble in school is not worth getting upset over.  It is a waste of energy.

·      If you attempt to argue with me for any reason, I will see it as yet another act of deliberate defiance, and probably a greater offense than the original one. Not to mention the fact that it is a complete waste of time.  Don’t worry, I won’t take it personally.




·      30% Grammar

·      25% Vocabulary

·      25% Writing

·      10% Homework

·      10% Participation


Late Work


Work handed in one day late will receive partial credit.  After one day, there will be no credit given for late work.

The only exception is given for illness, in which case upon returning to school you will have two extra days per day missed to make up your work (i.e., if you are absent on a Monday and return on Tuesday, you must turn in Monday’s homework on Thursday.  Yes, that Tuesday counts as the first day).  You will be responsible for all new work assigned the day you return!  Therefore, whatever is assigned on that Tuesday you return, you must turn it in the next day!

If extreme circumstances arise due to family emergencies or other acts of God, I will be in contact with your parents to make appropriate arrangements for you.  (Note: Extra curricular activities do not count as either extreme circumstances or acts of God)

Extra Credit


There is no extra credit.  Please don’t ask for either extra credit or the chance to make up late work.  Please see above for clarification.




·      Go to your lockers and the bathroom before school begins, during recess, during lunch, or after school.

·      Be on time for class.

·      Sit and begin the warm-up exercise, or just follow whatever instructions are on the board or Smartboard.

·      Await further instruction.


That’s about it.  Welcome back to school.