8th Grade English Language Arts

8th Grade English Language Arts

8TH Grade English Language Arts 

Roselle Middle School

Mrs. Cullen & Mrs. Mosciano

Welcome to 8th grade English Language Arts! We are really looking forward to starting our 8th and 5th  year here at RMS, and are excited to get to know our new students. We’d like to use this syllabus to outline the expectations we have for our students, both in Room 106 and outside of school.

This year in English Language Arts we will be using the curriculum myPerspectives English Language Arts. This curriculum includes both reading and language arts skills. MyPerspectives English Language Arts is a student centered learning curriculum where students will analyze text, cite evidence, and respond critically about their learning. Students will take ownership of their learning through goal setting, reflection, independent text selection, and activities that encourages peer collaboration.

Each unit of study includes selections of different genres- including multimedia- all related to a relevant and meaningful Essential Question. As students read, they will engage in activities that inspire thoughtful discussion and debate with their peers allowing them to formulate, and defend, their own perspective.

We will be discovering historical events through literature that will correspond with their Social Studies work.  We will also be looking at more complex text and works of nonfiction to prepare you for future workload in high school. Our goal is to get through all five units in myPerspectives English Language Arts books.The units for 8th grade is as follows, novels are subject to change. We will also have literature circle units where students will have input as to what book he or she would like to read and discuss in small groups. 

Unit 1: Rites of Passage

Essential Question: What are some milestones on the path to growing up?

Novel Studies:

  • Tex by S.E. Hinton 

  • Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie  by Jordan Sonnenblick

  • So B. It by Sarah Weeks

  • A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah

  • Shattering Glass by Gail Giles

Unit 2: The Holocaust

Essential Question: How can we remember the past?

Novel Studies:

  • The Boy In The Striped Pajamas by John Boyne 

  • Survivors: True Stories of Children in the Holocaust by Allan Zullo

  • Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

  • We are Witnesses by Jacob Boas

  • Parallel Journeys by Alfons Heck, Eleanor H. Ayer, and Helen Waterford

  • Berlin Boxing Club by Rob Sharenow

  • Behind the Bedroom Wall by Laura E. Williams

  • Surviving Hitler by Andrea Warren

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Unit 3: What Matters

Essential Question: When is right to take a stand?

Novel Studies:

  • Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor

  • My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

  • Freedom Walkers by Freedom Russell

  • The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

  • We Shall Not Be Moved by Joan Dash

Unit 4: Human Intelligence

Essential Question: In what different ways can people be intelligence?

NO NOVEL Studies

Unit 5: Invention

Essential Question: Are inventions realized through inspiration or perspiration?

Novel Studies:

  • Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

  • The Declaration by Gemma Malley

  • The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

  • Unwind by Neal Shusterman

  • The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

  • Boy: Tale of Childhood by Roald Dahl

  • Martian by Andy Weir

Grading Scale:

90 – 100 = A

80 – 89 = B

70 – 79 = C

60 – 69 = D

0 – 59 = F


Each Monday, the student will be given their homework for the entire week.  Homework will be written in their assignment notebook on Monday, and they must also bring their assignment notebook to class daily. Unfinished classwork is added to their assignment notebook as the week progresses, so the student needs to plan wisely.  There will also be some long-term assignments. Having knowledge of homework ahead of time will allow the student to plan their homework around family obligations while remaining accountable for their work.  

Missed work is the student’s responsibility.  It will be posted on the board for the entire week so the student can get the information they need to make up the work.

After an EXCUSED absence, it is the student’s responsibility to arrange with me for make-up tests and quizzes.

Missed, unexcused work will be accepted, but will be knocked down an additional 10% off for everyday that it is late. No work will be accepted after two weeks late.

Student Expectations

Doing well is no secret.  Work hard. Ask questions.  Respect others. Behave appropriately.  Be prepared to learn when coming to class. Bring your materials.  Arrive on time. Take care of personal necessities before coming to class. Keep the classroom clean.  Dispose of your own trash.

How Parents Can Help!

Your students cannot succeed without your help at home.  Help them with the responsibilities of middle school. They must get their work to school and to me on time.  Look over their assignment notebooks, and be aware of when tests are and when assignments are due. Encourage them to come to us to ask questions BEFORE the due date on an assignment.  They must continually work hard and their work must reflect their effort. I will not accept work done with only ½ of their effort. With your help at home and with my guidance at school, your student will navigate beautifully through 8th Grade English Language Arts.

 We can be contacted through the school phone: 630.529.1600, or by email: [email protected], [email protected] Additionally, all of the 8th grade teachers have a link on the school website to stay up to date with daily assignments, events, and documents for your child’s benefit.  We can be available before and after school, and if needed, we can set up appointments at certain points during the day. We are here to demand a lot from them, but we are also here to help them succeed.  With their effort, our guidance, and your support, we know that they will.