Language Arts


Summer reflection 

As you will learn early in our year together, one of the best things about school is the chance to start over each fall and become a new and improved YOU!  As you begin to prepare for the beginning of your 8th grade experience, I want you to simply focus on being the best student possible. 


Please refer to the Voyager Handbook listed on our team main page for all of the materials you will need in each of your classes.  However, I would like to stress that I am not a pencil magician - I cannot make them appear out of nowhere each day.  I have a pre-ordered amount of surplus pencils that I will be generous with on a necessary basis; therefore, you are responsible for making sure you have your own PILE OF PENCILS you can pull from throughout the year.   

Course of study 

We will begin the year with an overview of my expectations for your behavior and effort in the classroom.  I will also be asking for your expectations for me as a teacher - this will serve as the foundation for building mutual respect.   

I will be sharing a mission statement with you during the first full week of school, and you will be required to develop one on your own using my sample.  Goal setting is an important personal task that helps you organize and establish a vision for where you are headed.  

Our academic focus will start with a look at the key elements of a story:  plot structure, theme, conflict, etc.  Study of these elements will set up our reading for the entire year and help you understand the requirements for your independent book reports that will require you to break down your stories based on what we do in the classroom = our book reports will not be traditional summaries (I think they are boring). 

Our new textbook will provide many of the reading samples that we will be experiencing both hands on and on our new Chromebooks.  It will serve as an excellent source of short stories, non-fiction articles, poetry, novel excerpts, and drama. 


You will be responsible for maintaining a steady connection with independent reading throughout the school year.  You will need to have an SSR book that is at least 150 pages of written text (not including pictures).  I will periodically check on your reading selection especially when a book report has been assigned during the marking period.  Please confirm your titles with if you have questions or concerns or if it is on an electronic source (ex. tablet).   


We will study and practice with vocabulary that is within the context of the various pieces of literature we will encounter.  We will also be practicing with a word-of-the-day program in order to upgrade your own personal language notebook. 


Our goal this year will be to review the fundamental rules of writing structure that you learned in 7th grade and build upward from that point.  Your first lesson will be the development of a solid paragraph.  We will then develop an effective five-paragraph essay that will take the form of a text-dependent analysis that uses specific examples that reflect your ideas based on a piece of text you have read.  Further writing activities will focus on the more creative development of style and content. 


My approach to grammar is traditional.  I believe that drill and practice will make proper punctuation and usage rules permanent in your writing.  We will first further your understanding of the function of the parts of speech and then move into specific punctuation and usage that is troublesome to many writers.


You will discover that my classroom is a stepping stone to the high school.  After 14 years at the high school level, I believe it is my responsibility to help you transition from the 7th grade into the 8th grade and from the 8th grade into the 9th grade.  It is a challenging bridge for you to cross, but with patience and the right attitude, you will have a successful year on the Voyager Team! 

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