8 th Grade English Pre-ap judson Middle School

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8th Grade English Pre-AP

Judson Middle School

Mendi D. Rodriguez

RM A320
210-357-0801 Campus Phone 11:00am to 11:50am Conference Times

Course Description: In English 8 Pre-AP, students are expected to read and critically analyze both classical and contemporary literature. This is intensive reading, writing, and thinking course, full of opportunities to interact with peers, participate in open dialogue, and challenge your personal beliefs. You must be willing to put forth great effort so as to ensure your intellectual growth and classroom success. While grades are key to your success in English 8 Pre-AP, intrinsic motivation and initiative also play vital roles in your achievement.

Course Philosophy: Effective written and oral communication is the springboard for all learning.

Course Objectives: Upon completing this course, you should be able to:

  • read and understand a wide variety of literary and informational texts;

  • compose a variety of written texts with a clear controlling idea, coherent organization, and sufficient detail;

  • know how to locate a range of relevant sources and evaluate, synthesize, and present ideas and information;

  • listen and respond to the ideas of others while contributing your own ideas in conversations and in groups;

  • use the oral and written conventions of the English language in speaking and writing effectively;

  • engage in activities that build on your prior knowledge and skills in order to strengthen your reading, writing, and oral language skills; (from Texas Education Agency)

Behavioral Expectations (Class Rules)

As respectful young men and women, you are expected to behave in a manner that is appropriate for a school environment. Success in the classroom is more than earning an ‘A’, as your behavior plays a major role in your level of achievement. The following are the basic guidelines for ensuring your behavioral success this year:

    • Arrive on time

    • Be Respectful

    • Come prepared

    • Do your best

    • Excel always

    • Follow all school rules

Curriculum: Laying the Foundations

Supplemental Resources:

You will utilize several outside resources such as newspaper articles, political cartoons, speeches, etc. Because the school sets of novels must stay on campus, it is recommended that you purchase your own copy. This will allow you to make up any reading assignments at home or annotate your text. Purchasing the novels is recommended, but not required. Should you need to make up reading assignments and you do not have your own copy of the novel, you will need to arrange to attend tutorials. Remember, as a Pre-AP student, you are preparing for AP Literature and AP Language and Composition, which generally require the purchase of novels upon enrolling at the high school level. Below is a list of class novels and a few titles of the other literature you are responsible for over the course of the school year.


House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

My Brother Sam is Dead by James and Christopher Collier

Excerpts from The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Night by Elie Wiesel

Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen
Other Sample Resources

The Illiad by Homer (books 1-12)

“Much Ado about Nothing” from Tales of Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb

“The Ninny” by Anton Chekov

“Letter to Harriet Tubman” by Fredrick Douglass

“War Party” by Louis L’Amour

“I Never Saw Another Butterfly” drama by Celeste Raspanti

Poetry from Emily Dickinson, William Shakespeare, Robert Frost, Alice Walker, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Nikki Giovanni, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and others

Titles may be purchased from the following: Barnes and Noble, Borders, Books-a-Million, Half-Price Books, half.com, ebay.com, amazon.com, or many other vendors.
Skill Focuses—a brief overview of the year’s content focus

  • Literary Elements: figurative language, poetry elements, plot elements, characterization and motivations (archetypes), irony, diction, point of view, allusion, anaphora, polysyndeton, asyndeton, tone, mood, foreshadowing, flashback, conflict, dialogue, drama, author’s purpose, author’s style, apostrophe, paradox, and others

  • Close reading strategies: annotation, dialectical journals, reader response journals, SOAPSTone, TPCASTT, FRACTIONS, text structures

  • Grammar: parts of speech, clauses, phrases, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, embedding quotations, punctuating dialogue

  • Composition: The Writing Process, personal narrative, rhetoric analysis, letters, poetry, argumentative paper, creative writing, open-ended responses, analysis paragraphs, timed writing, literary analysis

  • Media literacy: analysis of visual aids, magazine articles, creating multimedia presentations

  • Speaking and Listening: Socratic seminar, group presentations, individual presentation, group assignments

  • Vocabulary development: vocabulary in context, Greek/Latin affixes and root words, academic language, analogies, SAT words

Independent Reading

To be a great reader, you have to read. At this stage in your academic career, you should be able to read independently and without a teacher being in close proximity to you. Every six weeks, you will complete an Independent Reading assignment in which you analyze and evaluate a novel of your choice. This assignment is NOT optional. The grade for this assignment will account for one assessment grade and two class work grades. If you are not able to purchase your own books, it is IMPERATIVE that you keep a zero balance with the library so that you are able to check out books. The rubric for the assignment will be given out at the beginning of every six weeks. Please do not procrastinate. This assignment measures your ability to critically analyze a text for characterization and motivation, theme, and other literary techniques. YOU MUST SHOW MASTERY! You are responsible for producing a literary analysis or character analysis for each novel you select for this assignment.

Talented and Gifted Students

You will meet your TAG components through your independent reading assignment. Your independent reading assignment must include an in-depth analysis of any aspect relating to your novel using between four and six of the Depth and Complexity elements. For example, you may choose to research the historical context of Uncle Tom’s Cabin using the Relate over Time, Unanswered Questions, Across Disciplines, and Multiple Perspectives elements.

Additional project information will be given as it is assigned.
Supply List—all items are listed on the district-wide supply list

(2) Composition Books (or spirals)

  • Bring two composition books to class on Thursday. You will begin using them.

1 Three-ring binder

(1 pack) Wide-ruled Notebook paper

(1) Braded pocket folder

Pens and Pencils (Assorted Colors)

Grading Policy

40% Test and Projects

50% Daily Work and Quizzes

10% Homework

Late Work

Work is considered late when it is not submitted on its original due date. Because it takes TEN 100s to make up ONE zero, it is essential that you keep up with your assignments and their due dates. Any late assignments MUST be turned in WITH A PARENT/GUARDIAN SIGNATURE.

Late work policy will always be in compliance with JISD policy.
Makeup Work

District policy applies to any makeup work for excused or unexcused absences. It is the responsibility of the student or parent to obtain missed work upon his/her return to school. “Students who miss school due to an anticipated absence, such as field trips, extracurricular events, etc., may obtain class work to be missed prior to their absence provided the student and teacher have made such arrangements” (28).

By signing below, I signify that I have read and understand the 2010-2011 8th grade English Pre-AP and TAG syllabus and expectations.

___________________________________________ _______________________

Print Name of Parent/Guardian Date


Signature of Parent/Guardian

____________________________________________ _______________________

Print Name of Student Date


Signature of Student

Return signed by Friday, September 10, 2010

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