Welcome and Overview of 8th Grade Language Arts

  • Welcome to 8th Grade Language Arts!


    Class Overview

    This course focuses on multiple aspects of studying the English language and encourages students to develop a voice in both written and oral communication.  The students read various novels, poems, short stories, and dramas throughout the year.  As well as comprehension, the students learn critical thinking skills and literary analysis.  Based on the six Write Traits, students develop as writers by studying grammar, producing essays, stories, poems, and other writing assignments. Another main area of the course is vocabulary, particularly how to utilize new words in written and verbal contexts.


    Units of Study

    1.  Constructing Meaning from Text

    2.  History as an Influence on Literature

    3.  Science as an Influence on Literature

    4.  Creating Societies


    Animal Farm by George Orwell.

                Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee.

                Junior Great Books Roundtable Series: Level 3. Great Books Foundation, 2010.

                Anthem by Ayn Rand.

                War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells.

                Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

                Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare.

                Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare.

                Heath Grammar and Composition: Course 2. McDougal Littell, 1990.


                Study Island

    Lord of the Flies by William Golding.

    The Tales of Edgar Allan Poe: A Kaplan SAT Score-Raising Classic by Edgar Allan Poe.

                Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes.

             The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming.

         What on Earth?: An Ecology Reader by Perfection Learning.


    Class Expectations

    Above all know: no one has the right to interfere with my right to teach and your right to learn.  We will have the following expectations for language arts class:


    Respect for Self

    • I will always do my best.
    • I will positively participate in all classroom activities.


    Respect for Others

    • I will stay on task without disturbing or distracting others.
    • I will not use “put-downs” or harass others.
    • I will respect other people’s differences and opinions.


    Respect for School

    • I will raise my hand to speak.
    • I will enter and exit the room quietly.
    • I will complete all assignments on time.
    • I will actively listen when others are speaking.
    • I will adhere to all behavioral expectations set forth in the school discipline code.


    A progressive discipline will be used in language arts class.  The order for disciplinary action is:

    1.     Warning and/or student-teacher conference

    2.    Phone call home and/or parent-teacher conference

    3.    After school detention with Mrs. Toto

    4.    Office discipline referral


    Materials Needed for Class

    1.1 spiral notebook (1 subject)

    2.   2-Pocket folder

    3.    Pens (blue or black ink only)/Pencils


    5.Any assigned books (will be provided by Mrs. Toto)



    Grades are based upon homework, quizzes, tests, projects, writing assignments and class participation.  I use a total points system to calculate grades.  This means that if you earn 150 points out of a possible 200 points your grade would be a 75% (C).  The following grading scale applies:

    90-100% = A

    80-89%   = B

    70-79%   = C

    60-69%   = D

    59% and below = F

    Assignment Completion

    All assignments are due on their assigned date.  Homework assignments will not be accepted late, because they are often reviewed in class on the date due.  Projects and writing assignments will be accepted late, however with a penalty.  All late projects and writing assignments will receive a 10% deduction from the earned score for each day they are late.  For example, if a student earns 40/50 on a project that he/she has submitted 1 day late, he/she will receive 35/50.  Therefore, it is imperative that students complete all assignments on time.



    Any student who is absent will have 1 day to make up assignments for each day that he/she was absent.  If a student needs additional time he/she must get approval from Mrs. Toto.  It is the student’s responsibility to find out what assignments he/she missed.


    I am looking forward to a fun-filled, exciting and rewarding school year with you.  Please remember: this is YOUR language arts class!  Make the most of it, and do your best!