Course Expectations

Course Description for 2018-2019

This class is about making you a stronger, more strategic user of the English language.  It will include reading strategies, independent reading, literature, writing, grammar and vocabulary.  


Grades: The grade given for the course will be the average of weighted categories of Accelerated Reader, Vocabulary, Homework, Test/Quizzes, Writing, and other assignments (i.e. projects, benchmark tests, etc.).  You are responsible for keeping track of your own grades.  Grades are available on the school website:


Accelerated Reader: You will be reading on your own for this class.  You will be responsible for earning 20 AR points each marking period.  Each marking period, everyone begins with 0 AR points in the gradebook.  As you earn AR points, the gradebook will be updated, usually after a library day.  This way there are no surprises as to how AR will affect your final grade each marking period. Also, in 8th grade you may not use your AR book to take an AR test.  Furthermore, taking tests for another student or having someone answer questions while you are taking a test is prohibited and considered cheating!  It will result in a zero for the marking period and a discipline referral.  You also may not retake a test you have taken in 6th or 7th grade. AR is worth 5% of your final grade each marking period.


Shikellamy Silent Reading:  During silent reading you are expected to be reading.  This is a great way to work toward those 20 AR points you need each marking period.  Because we believe this to be a valuable part of your education, SSR is part of your Communication Arts grade.  Here is how it works: Each marking period you will begin with 50 points.  Any day that you do not read, do not have a book, are late to silent reading, or misbehave during silent reading, you will lose one point from your SSR grade.  At the end of each marking period, the score will be tallied up and you will receive a score out of 50 points.  This score will also count as 5% of your final marking period grade.


Common Assessments: For Quarters 1, 2, and 3, you will taking a common assessment on skills learned during each quarter.  These assessments will include a reading passage with multiple choice questions, and may include text-dependent analysis and an essay question.  These assessments will count as 10% of each quarters’ final grade.


Vocabulary: At the beginning of the year, you will be given a vocabulary book that you will be working from throughout the year.  These books are your responsibility, so take good care of them.  You will also receive a journal to use for writing your answers.  You may not write in the vocabulary books.  Every full week of school, you will be assigned a unit to complete. Each day of the week a different section of the unit will be due.  When you come to class, you will correct your vocabulary using red pen.  This is your bell ringer.  NO pencils or other writing utensils may be out during this time. On Friday before the vocabulary test, your journal is due and will be checked.  You can only receive full credit if you have completed the entire unit and made your corrections each day in red pen.  If you have all the answers correct, you must show it to me to be initialed on the due date.  I will not initial vocab work after the due date, unless you were absent.  The unit homework is worth 60 points and is part of your homework grade.  Every Friday is test day.  The test is worth 100 points. Vocabulary is worth 20% of your final grade each marking period.  If you are absent, you are responsible for completing and correcting assignments and taking the test when you return to school.  There is no excuse for not knowing that you have vocabulary.  If it’s a full week of school, you have vocab homework whether you are present in class or not.  I will not accept that you didn’t know you had homework as an excuse because you have just been informed here. 


Homework: You will have homework almost EVERY night!  Time in class is NOT guaranteed. Not only will I tell you what your homework will be, but your homework will also be written on the board. You are expected to write your homework in your agenda book everyday when you get to class.  You are responsible to know what your homework is and when it is due.  Homework will be due at the beginning of class.  All students are expected to complete all homework assignments! Late work is accepted; HOWEVER, it will only receive a maximum score of 50% of the original score.  Homework is 20% of your final grade each marking period.


Writing: You will be given prompts, text-dependent analysis essays, and other writing assignments throughout the school year that require you to write 3 to 5-paragraph (or more) essays.  These assignments will be graded according to the PSSA Scoring Guidelines in the areas of focus, content, organization, style, and conventions (grammar). Writing will be 15% of your final grade each marking period. 


Tests/Quizzes: Tests and quizzes will be given throughout the year based on different works of literature and grammar.  Tests will always be announced.  Quizzes may be announced or unannounced, so always be prepared.  Tests and quizzes will be worth 10% of your final grade each marking period.


Projects: Each marking period students will be assigned a project specific to the unit we will be discussing. These projects will vary in point value but each will make worth 10% of the marking period grade.


Classwork: Any classwork given will be worth 5% of the students’ marking period grade.


Quizizz: For tests, including vocabulary tests, there will be Quizizz games for the students to play. Codes will be placed on the board and on my website on Mondays of the vocab week or the test week. Students who play the game, according to their level, completely through 10 times during the week will receive bonus points on their test.


Word-of-the-Day: Each day there will be a word-of-the-day given on the board. These will be words that teachers use in everyday speech or classroom content that they think the students should know. Students who choose to do so may write the word, definition, and a sentence using the word correctly for extra credit. This extra credit will be collected at the END of each marking period on the AR due date.


Materials: You are expected to bring the following items to Communication Arts everyday: agenda book, Comm. Arts folder, AR books, vocabulary book & journal, red pen, and a pencil.  Textbooks will remain in the classroom.  I will provide you with one red pen for the school year.


Absences: When you are absent, be sure to get all work missed as soon as you return to school.  If you know you are going to be absent or be pulled from class (band, picture day help, etc.), you are responsible for notifying me and getting your work or making arrangements for taking tests.  Failure to do so will result in zeros on assignments and tests.