Grade 8 English and Language Arts Villa Victoria Academy Ms. Modafferi Academic Syllabus 2012-13
“Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.” ~Oliver Wendell Holmes Summer Reading: The Power of Half (Salwen) *2 Selections from Book List
Class Texts and Novels: Grammar & Language Workbook (Gr 8) – McGraw-Hill Vocabulary Workshop (Level C) – Shotak To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee) The Giver (Lois Lowry) The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins) Night (Ellie Wiesel)
*Additional supplemental readings and handouts as determined
Classroom Policies and Procedures:
You will be expected to follow the rules and procedures set forth by Villa Victoria Academy as well as the expectations and policies of this classroom as follows:
Show RESPECT to other students, the teacher, the classroom, the school and yourself.
This includes but is not limited to:
♦ raising your hand to speak, listening to others, and speaking appropriately and considerately to others. ♦ respecting other’s privacy, property, and most of all opinions. ♦ treating classmates and classroom visitors with courtesy. ♦ listening when others are speaking. Do not carry on private conversations during the lesson, guest presentations or work sessions. ♦ being attentive and staying awake. ♦ practicing good values: Honesty, Caring, Respect, Responsibility.
Remain on task and LISTEN.
Be prepared and be ready to participate in class. Being prepared means having your class materials, your journal, any books or reading materials you have been asked to bring, and writing supplies like paper and pen. However, preparedness also includes coming with your completed homework assignment and your reading materials understood and ready to discuss. You will need to participate in classroom discussions. This means sharing your ideas, opinions, and answers and actively listening to others ideas, opinions, and answers. The more input you put into class, the more enjoyable it will be.
Be on time. If you are late, make sure you have a legitimate pass or you will be written up and homework already collected will be considered late (and therefore, will not be accepted). (See # 4 for further information)
Late homework is not accepted for credit. Half credit will not be given. Make sure you have any and all homework in class on the day it is due and that you hand it in when asked. For assignments that are worth 15 points or less, you will not receive credit for late work.
Regarding Late Work:
a. You are expected to turn in your work on time. b. Late homework (any assignment worth 15 points or less) will not be accepted for credit. c. For any assignment other than regular homework or classwork—including papers, projects, etc—may be subjected to a late penalty along with a meeting with the teacher/guidance counselor to give reason to the assignments tardiness. d. A day your English class does not meet* (ie: assemblies, liturgy, special extensions, etc) is still considered a day. Most times assignments will not be due on these days, but in the rare case that they may be or if you are absent and come back on such a day, the assignment is still your responsibility. e. Classwork assignments collected in class will not be accepted late. (If you have an excused absence and miss a classwork assignment, you will have the opportunity to make it up.) Thus, make sure you are paying attention when I collect classwork assignments. f. When students work in groups, late work cannot be accepted since one person’s tardiness could discredit the rest of the group. Therefore, the group member without his/her work will earn a failing grade. The other group members will be graded on their contribution. When working in a group, make sure that all group members have the appropriate components of the assignment in the event that a group member is absent. Also, as part of a group, it is important that you do your utmost to be present for all pieces of group projects. g. **Don’t wait until the night before a major assignment to print it; papers will be marked late in spite of computers dying or printers running out of ink. You have far too many resources at your disposal for this to be an issue!** h. ** When emailing assignments be sure that they are sent in .doc format (Word document format) and that as a secondary precaution, you copy and paste the document into the body of the email as well. (Please see the English Department and the VVA handbook policies on absenteeism and late work in addition to my own policies written here.)
Regarding Make Up Work for Absence: a. Missed work due to absence should be made up immediately. b. It is YOUR responsibility to obtain your assignments the day you return to class. c. Be prepared to make up missed tests or quizzes the day of your return, and, in special cases, absolutely no later than three days from your return. Depending on the duration of your absentee and the day of your return, you may be asked to make up your work/exam after school on test makeup day (which are on Tuesday afternoon). It is rare that time can be spared in class, so it is unlikely that you will be able to make up your assignments/test during class time. Tests or quizzes not made up within three days will earn a failing grade unless specific arrangements have been made and agreed upon by the teacher. d. Any previously assigned work will be due on your day of return whether or not class meets*. This means that it is your responsibility to get your work to me the day you return—send it with a friend, stop by and drop it off, put it in my mailbox, etc. e. New work assigned during your period of absence must be made up as soon as possible, meaning by the next day, unless it is an involved assignment (I will let you know if it is considered as such) or you have missed a great amount of work due to several days of illness. In such a case, you will have the same number of days you were absent in which to make up your work. (For example, if you were absent 3 days, you will have 3 days from your return to make up your work.) It is your responsibility to develop a plan to make up missed assignments that is agreeable to me, and this plan needs to be developed the first day back at school. f. Field Trips/Early Dismissal/Late Arrival: If you miss class because of a field trip, early dismissal, or late arrival to school you must turn in homework or assignments on the day they are due and must immediately make arrangements to make up any missed activities. If you know that you will be missing class for some reason, you need to see me in advance to find out what you will be missing and have the assignments completed when you return. Be aware that field trips are a privilege and DO NOT excuse you from assignments or entitle you to an extension. Make sure that you get your work to me on a day you are out for a field trip or it will not be accepted. *When it states “when class does not meet” this only means that if class was supposed to meet and is not for one reason or another, the assignment will still be due unless otherwise mentioned.
Tardiness and Absence: Class starts when the bell rings. Please be seated and ready to work at this time. Excessive tardiness and absences will be dealt with on an individual basis. If you are absent for a class, it is your responsibility to see me to find out what you missed. If you must be late, enter quietly, do not disrupt what is in progress, and you must provide a teacher/administrator signed pass.
Journals: (if applicable) a. I am looking for elevated writing and incorporation of superior vocabulary, while addressing the prompt to its fullest degree. You should utilize all the time given to get your thoughts rolling and your mind working before class discussion begins. You will not only be graded on your journal's completeness but on its content and demonstration of writing skills. b. You must have either a separate notebook (marble or spiral bound) or a separate section of your notebook designated as your journal. It is ok to use loose leaf pages for your journal, but do not put other notes or writing on the day’s page. Each day, you are responsible for listing the journal number, the date, the prompt, and your response. You may put more than one journal entry on a page, but you must skip at least 2 spaces between entries so that they are clearly separated. I would prefer that you not write on both sides of a page. c. Journals will be evaluated based on completeness (having all of them and all necessary components as listed above) and the amount of significant and meaningful writing in each entry (in 8-10 minutes, it is expected that you will have a minimum of 8 lines of writing). d. You must have your journals in class the day they are graded, or they will be considered late. The collection date will be announced in advance. (Please note, however, that because journal writing could be a daily activity, you are expected to have your journal in class every day.) e. If you are absent or late to class you are responsible for finding our journal entry and making it up for homework. Testing Procedures: a. Tests will always be announced. You will receive about one week’s notice for tests. Since I give ample notice for my tests, I do not grade on a curve, nor do I offer re-tests. You are expected to come into testing situations well-prepared. b. Absolute quiet is required for the entire testing period. This includes in-class essay writing. If you need something after a test/quiz has started, you need to ask me and not your neighbor. c. Cheating of any kind is unacceptable and will result in a failing grade. No retests will be given. In addition, the offense will be presented to administration and the Discipline Committee for any further admonition. d. Obviously, you should do your utmost to be present for all tests, quizzes, and in-class essays. However, in the event that you are absent for a test, quiz, or in-class essay, you should be prepared to take it after school (or during study hall, if applicable) on the day you return. If there is some legitimate reason you cannot make it up after school that day, you are to see me to schedule an alternate make up, which absolutely must take place within three days. Athletics and after-school clubs do not constitute a legitimate excuse. e. It must be understood that a make-up test will assess the same skills and strategies as the original test but may differ significantly in content and structure. f. Students who cut class on the day of a test or in-class essay will be given a failing grade.
Because words are a part of communicating, it is vital to have as many in your arsenal as possible. To that end, we will have vocabulary lists with accompanying quizzes every week out of the Vocabulary Cartoons I book. In addition, I personally will be intentionally using elevated vocabulary throughout the year in class, during discussions, and in conversation with each of you. If you do not know a word that I am using, I encourage you to ask me. I feel that through the use of robust vocabulary, you can see an example of how words are used in context and gain a better grasp of the sound of strong language.
Public Speaking and Presentations:
Public speaking skills are some of the most important and versatile you will build over the course of your education. It is essential that you can clearly portray your ideas to others and maintain your confidence in the process. You will have various opportunities to practice these skills through creative projects and presentations. One exercise in particular that we will be trying this year will be 1 minute monologues in front of the class, with focus on continuing for the entire minute uninterrupted on a given topic. With practice, hopefully these will become easier with every execution.
Grading: Marking period grading will be determined using a weighted scale, with each assignment fitting into a category which will be weighted with a percentage of your total grade. All major assignments will also be accompanied by a rubric distributed beforehand and thoroughly discussed so that expectations and objectives are clear. Tests, Quizzes, Papers/Projects: 60% of total grade Classwork, Homework and Miscellaneous: 40% of total grade
Grade Tracking: I expect that through the implementation of PowerSchool, you will be responsible for checking up on your own grades periodically. If you would like to inquire about your grade, you may see me after school, NOT during class. There is no reason you should ever need to wonder about your grade in this class. Be proactive!
Plagiarism: Plagiarism is a very serious offense and is treated as such here at Villa Victoria Academy, and in my classroom. If you are having difficulty with an assignment and need assistance, come and see me before you resort to plagiarizing work that is not your own. You may consult the handbook for the consequences of plagiarism, but to list in short, you will receive a failing grade on the assignment, an in-school suspension and it will appear as on offense on your transcript. (See below for what constitutes plagiarism as explained by plagiarism.org)
Many people think of plagiarism as copying another's work, or borrowing someone else's original ideas. But terms like "copying" and "borrowing" can disguise the seriousness of the offense:
According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, to "plagiarize" means
· to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own · to use (another's production) without crediting the source · to commit literary theft · to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.
In other words, plagiarism is an act of fraud. It involves both stealing someone else's work and lying about it afterward. Therefore, citing a source IS NOT OPTIONAL!
All of the following are considered plagiarism:
· turning in someone else's work as your own · copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit · failing to put a quotation in quotation marks · giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation · changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit · copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not
Most cases of plagiarism can be avoided, however, by citing sources. Simply acknowledging that certain material has been borrowed, and providing your audience with the information necessary to find that source, is usually enough to prevent plagiarism.
Cooperative Learning: I am a firm believer in the progressive nature of cooperative learning and the infinite benefits that it can have within a learning process. I utilize many aspects of cooperative learning (ie: group discussion, debate, group projects, etc) in order to make class more interactive and successful. However, I also appreciate the importance of individual responsibility and thought; therefore, my class is a fair balance of the two types of assignments. Sometimes I will allow you to choose your groups, and sometimes your groups will be decided for you. It is part of your assignment to develop an effective work plan where all students are equally involved. Your grade will depend, not only on the work produced, but how well you have worked together! There are rare occasions that other arrangements can be made for individual students, if the situation warrants such action, but this is very unlikely and needs to be discussed with me the day the assignment is given.
Academic Conflicts/Extensions: Since I am aware that academic assignments within all areas of curriculum can overlap, I am open to class suggestion about a project/test deadline/ due date. (This is not as prevalent with homework assignments.) However, the matter needs to be discussed WELL BEFORE the due date of the project or assigned date of the test. It is not an acceptable excuse to say that the reason for your not having an assignment is because you were busy with work from another class. If you (as a class) know that you have a big test or project for another class, I will do my best to accommodate your request within reason. If I find that this privilege is being abused, I reserve the right to revoke it – so be conscientious when considering your need for an extension.
If you are requesting an individual extension for an assignment you need to discuss it with me in advance (well before the assignment is due) and provide a legitimate reason for an extension to be issued. If arrangements are made, it is your responsibility to turn your work in on the deadline discussed.
Extra Credit: Throughout each quarter there will be a few opportunities to earn extra credit, mostly as an added component of a bigger assignment. I recommend that you take advantage of the opportunities as they are given because E.C assignments and opportunities will not be offered on an individual basis.
Extra Help: I am available everyday after school from 2:45-3:15. However, I can stay later if an appointment is made in advance. If you have any questions on material covered in class, grades, individual issues, etc please come to see me after school before you fall behind. In addition, if there is a personal issue in regards to class, grading, material or otherwise, please bring the concern to me after class, if it needs immediate attention, or after school so as to not waste the class time of others with personal concerns.
Miscellaneous: All rules and regulations as stated in the Villa Victoria Academy Handbook are to be regarded in my classroom. If you have any inquiries about material in the handbook, please direct questions to Sr. Lesley. If for some reason you should choose to act inappropriately, any one or more of the following may be administered as a consequence: Verbal Warning, Re-assignment of seating, Parental notification, and/or Administrative Referral.
Remain in your seat unless you have the teacher's permission to move. The teacher will dismiss the class, not the bell. If you must leave early, please inform me before class begins. If you come in late to my class, I require a pass to be brought with you. Please hand it to me quietly and report to your seat without disrupting the class.
Though this is clearly stated in the handbook, I must reiterate: The use of unapproved electronics in my classroom is not permitted. No cell phones, iPods or MP3 players of any kind are allowed. In addition, when using personal computers during class time, it is expected that you stay on task and do not deviate from the class lesson.
And most importantly: Always put forth your best effort. You are responsible for your own learning.