Language Arts Syllabus
for SMS 8th Grade ELA Team
Mrs. Collins 


8th Grade Language Arts students will develop skills in the areas of: reading; writing; speaking; listening; and language (vocabulary, conventions, etc.); during the course of the year in accordance with grade-level Common Core State Standards.  By the end of the year, students will be able to read and comprehend grade-level text in a variety of genres, as well as draft and produce coherent expository, narrative, and argumentative essays.

Required Materials:

  • Please bring the following materials to class EVERY DAY:

    • Writing Utensils

    • Composition book

    • Your school binder with an LA section and a supply of notebook paper

    • An independent reading novel (SSR book)

    • Your raider organizer or other effective way of organizing your homework time and due dates

Consumable supplies like paper and pencils need to be replenished as needed. Any family requesting help with acquiring any needed school supplies should contact our counseling office as these can be provided as needed.


The course is guided by the Common Core State Standards for 8th Grade Language Arts adopted by the State of Oregon, and our current writing curriculum is structured through a Lucy Calkins Common Core workshop curriculum supplied by the district.  Curriculum materials will be pulled from multiple resources. These resources may include novels, short stories, poems, articles, speeches, sections of textbooks, and some primary source documents.


  • Close reading, analysis, and collaborative discussions of various literature, including whole class novel studies & short stories

  • Independent reading workshops intended to individualize instruction. Students chose their own full length novel at their own reading levels and will be asked to demonstrate various skills and standards in a choice reading workshop  *Students are encouraged to take the time to browse and choose a novel they will enjoy!


  • Daily journals with various prompts

  • Weekly lessons specifically in writing conventions (Grammar, sentence structure, punctuation, spelling, etc.)

  • Workshop model for units on Narrative, Expository, and Argumentative writing

    • Several focused writing assignments will be taken through the writing process and finals will be assessed using the ODE 6 Traits writing rubric (Ideas, Organization, Sentence Fluency, Word Choice, Voice, Conventions). These will be used as Summative Assessments on several skills and standards.


  • Students will be assigned a list of 10 vocabulary words commonly found on the SAT tests. The list, along with visuals to use as mnemonic devices, are given out on Mondays, and quizzes on the 10 words are given on Fridays. (Check my website for ways to practice vocabulary acquisition.) Every four weeks, students will be given a Summative Assessment on their ability to use the newly acquired vocabulary in writing.  

  • Additional vocabulary will be taught through whole class literature studies.

Interventions & Extensions:

Students are offered interventions when additional strategies are needed to help them achieve proficiency as determined by classroom assessments.  Students demonstrating advanced proficiency are offered extensions to address individual rate and level of learning.

Classroom Rules:

Classroom rules reflect the rights guaranteed to students and the responsibilities that must be assumed by students as described in federal and state constitutions and statutes and included in the Sherwood School District Student Handbook and the guidelines listed in the  Sherwood Middle School Student Handbook.  Put very simply:

  1. Be Safe - Look out for your own safety & the safety of others.

  2. Be Responsible for doing the necessary work to actively receive the education being offered to you.

  3. Be Respectful to those providing the education, and respectful of other students rights to receive their education.

Academic Integrity:
Honesty and integrity are expected of all students in class preparation, assessments, assignments, projects and other academic work.  Misconduct includes, but is not limited to cheating; plagiarism; forgery; fabrication; or theft of instructional materials or assessments. A lack of academic integrity on your part will result in an FYI and phone call home, at the very least.  Honor yourself by thinking for yourself and doing your own work.  


  • Each priority standard will be assessed based on the following scale:

      Exceeding                  90-100%   Summative Assessment = 80% of total grade

Proficient             80-89% Formative Assessments = 20% of total grade

Progressing             70-79% Informative = 0% of total grade

Emerging             60-69%

Insufficient Evidence         50%



Definition for Parents/Students





Measure of a student’s level of proficiency after learning and practicing skill or skills in a particular area, unit, or standard


Performance Tasks





Measure of a student’s progress while learning and practicing a skill or skills in a particular area, unit, or standard.

This grade provides feedback on a student’s academic progress, and often also reflects a student’s academic effort, toward learning a particular skill.






Communication tool. Entries in this category have no impact on a student’s grade.

Permission Slips,

written school/home information requiring a parent’s signature, etc.


Teacher Website: Use my website to get extra copies of handouts, to view deadlines and test days, and assist in making up work from absences.

ParentVUE & StudentVUE (Synergy) Online Gradebook: Grades are posted regularly. Please remember that full writing assignments will take much longer than smaller assignments, and typically will not be in the gradebook for at least 2 weeks after the due date.  Please be sure to look at the details and the codes that explain the assignments and why the grade is what it is.

Also, Parents &/or Guardians Please be sure to update your contact information in ParentVUE as teachers use that to call or email you at home if needed.   I look forward to working with you, the home team, to guide your student to success!