8th Grade English Language Arts

Welcome back
!  I anticipate this year will be filled with challenges and academic success. I have worked to ensure a varied English Language Arts curriculum which is specifically designed to inspire each of my students to reach his or her fullest potential. Vocabulary, grammar, literature, speaking, and writing are all integrated to fulfill all of the new Language Arts Florida Standards. 

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Fewer Grades. More Feedback. 

In an effort to guide students in the process of learning, I'm taking some emphasis off the end game -- grades. Why? I am finding that my students' obsession with "the grade" leads to the following scenarios:
  • Students fear making a mistake (and learning from that mistake), so they are unwilling to take a risk. 
  • Students "file" a graded assignment away (along with my feedback) that will enable them to learn on future assignments. 
  • Students fail to notice the connection between assignments that are meant to show growth.
  • Students are unwilling to be creative or elaborate and only complete exactly what is outlined.
  • Students place little to no value on an assignment or activity that is "not for a grade."  
Instead of being caught up in the result (grade) of a specific assignment, our classroom is going to establish ongoing communication based on feedback and the process of learning. Many assignments will only include feedback on your learning.  Any assignment that only includes feedback can be revised and resubmitted within the allotted time frame before a final grade is assigned.  It is up to students to reflect on their learning and desire to improve. To do this effectively, students must be familiar with and understand the ELA standards they are working to meet.  (The standards are posted below.) Students should analyze how they are progressing towards reaching these standards.  Are you learning?

Everything we do in class matters.  It all contributes to learning, and I expect to see evidence of it in work products.  For example, how can students demonstrate the acquisition and use of new vocabulary (LAFS8.L.3.6)?  They should use newly acquired  vocabulary.  I will not assign a vocabulary test; however, I expect to see evidence of this skill in my students' work products as this is the ultimate proof of learning.

Let's focus on the learning and not the number!

Mrs. Powers

Gina Powers,
Aug 14, 2014, 6:14 AM