Grade 8 ELA Syllabus

English Language Arts

Grade 8

Mr. Dunham


Course Objectives:

The goal of this course is to strengthen each student’s ability to read, write and speak standard academic English. The ELA course is designed to help students become a more effective writer, reader and communicator. Students will read a variety of texts and learn comprehension strategies and the literary elements to aid with understanding and analyzing novels, plays, and poems and even individual words.

Textbook : Holt McDougal ; Literature


 Units of Study


Unit 1 : Analyze Plot, Setting and Character in various genres.

                Reading selections:

·         The Elevator

·         Raymond’s Run

·         The Ransom of Red Chief

·         Clean Sweep

·         The Tell-Tale Heart


*Supporting an opinion


Punctuating verbs in a series

Correcting Run-on sentences



Unit 2 : Analyze Character and Point of View

                Reading Selections:

·         The Treasure of Lemon Brown

·         Rules of the Game

·         The Medicine Bag



*Comparison – Contrast Essay

*Participating in a panel discussion



Subjunctive mood


Unit 3 : Setting and Mood

                Reading Selections:

·         Hallucination

·         Ellis Island and I

·         The Monkey’s Paw

·         The Story of an Eyewitness

·         Mi Madre


                Comparison – Contrast


                Pronoun – Antecedent agreement




Unit 4 : Theme and Symbol

                Reading Selections:

·         Pandora’s Box

·         The Old Grandfather and His Little Grandson

·         The Diary of Anne Frank


Short story


Active voice

Punctuating dialogue

Unit 5 : Appreciating Poetry

                Reading Selections:

·         Simile : Willow and Ginkgo

·         Introduction to Poetry

·         Mother to Son

·         Ode to Solitude

·         The Song of Hiawatha


*Feature Articles


Punctuating citations






Unit 6 : Style, Voice and Tone

                Reading Selections:

·         The Lady or the Tiger

·         Roughing It

·         O Captain! My Captain!


Literary analysis


Pronouns and antecedents

Sentence variety


Unit 7 : History, Culture and the Author

                Reading Selections:

·         The Snapping Turtle

·         Out of Bounds


Cause and Effect


Appositive phrases

Complex sentences








Unit 8 : Facts and Information

                Reading Selections:

·         The Spider Man behind Spider-Man

·         News Reports

·         Robo-legs


Procedural text


Adjective clauses

Using colons



Unit 9 : Argument and Persuasion

                Reading Selections:

·         Should the Driving Age be raised to 18?

·         Zoos: Myths and Reality

·         The Weak Shall Inherit the Gym


Persuasive essay


Correcting run-on sentences

Placing modifiers

Unit 10 : Research

                Writing: Research paper

Grammar: Transitional words and capitalizing and punctuating citations







Study Techniques:

 Studying for classes involves more than just cramming the night before a test. Several suggestions and examples of study techniques for improving your grade in this and other classes are as follows:

1.       Prepare for class before coming by reading over notes soon after you have written them.

2.       Make and use vocabulary lists as you go.

3.       Do all worksheets, study questions, etc.

4.       Keep your handouts, notes and study guides organized and up to date.

5.       Pay attention in class.

6.       Study frequently and in small doses. Cramming does not foster long term understanding!

7.       If helpful, set up a study group with friends.

8.       If you are having trouble with material, get help early! Do not wait until test day!



Students will be graded using the points system. At the end of every nine weeks period the student’s points will be divided by the total number of points to arrive at the student’s overall average.

Students will be graded on the following:

·         Tests

·         Quizzes

·         Projects

·         Papers

·         Homework (completion only)

·         Journals/Everyday edits (checked every Friday)

·         Study Island

*Please see student agenda for updated grading policy and scale*

Classroom Expectations:

·         Be Prepared

·         Be on time

·         Be respectful

Suggested Materials:

Notebook(s) – Students should have a reading notebook and a writing notebook.

Folder – homework assignments

School agenda – Students are required to record all assignments in their agenda. (Students are required to have these in their possession at all times).

*A thesaurus and dictionary are recommended for home use, but not required
 as in-class materials.

Missed Work – Absence

Upon returning to school after an absence, a student has the responsibility within the number of days equal to the length of the absence or suspension to meet with the teacher to develop a plan for making up missed work, quizzes and examinations.


Disciplinary Action(s) – Consequences

Level 1 - Warning

Level 2 - Seat change (if necessary)/Parent contact

Level 3 – Parent contact

Level 4 – Detention and parent contact

Level 5 – Office referral


*This is to be used as a guide only and the teacher reserves the right to amend as the schedule dictates*




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